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New Android feature alerts you to smoke alarms and other ‘critical’ sounds

Google has been adding a few new accessibility features to its products lately and today’s update is something for those who might want help hearing things around them.

Sound Notifications is part of the Live Transcribe app, and it does just what the name implies sends you a notification when certain sounds are detected. There’s currently a list of ten sounds that can be detected, including things like baby sounds, running water, fire/smoke alarms, beeping appliances, someone knocking on your door, and a dog barking.

After you set it up, Sound Notifications will warn you when it hears any of ten noises, including “baby sounds, water running, smoke and fire alarms, appliances beeping and door knocking.” Then, it’ll alert you on your phone or Wear OS watch that it’s detected something nearby and what the sound was. The smartwatch integration can be helpful to those who want to get alerted to critical sounds even when they’re asleep, which Google said is a concern for many in the deaf and hard of hearing community.

In addition to getting a notification on your Android phone when a sound is detected, you can also view a timeline of any detected sounds to get a snapshot of what was all heard during a given day. The timeline also shows how long a certain sound was detected and breaks them up with differing colors.

Sound Notifications was designed to aid the 466 million people around the world that experience hearing loss, but Google says the feature can be used by anyone that wants to check it out. With many of us still working from home and often wearing headphones throughout the day, this could be a great tool to make sure you don’t miss out on important noises while in a meeting or jamming out to some music.

You can use Sound Notifications right now on your Android phone by going to Settings -> Accessibility, and then enabling the new Sound Notifications option. If it’s not showing up there, make sure you have both Live Transcribe and Sound Notifications downloaded from the Play Store. Once you do, the toggle should show up.

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