he iPhone as most people know it is not the
same device when it’s in my hands. As a deaf
person, my iPhone serves as a tool for accessing
a whole new world. Some of the apps that hear-
ing people use daily for recreational or profession-
al purposes are apps I rely on to communicate
with other people and to make my life more comfortable. In
this article, I’ll highlight five of my favorite iPhone applications
that make my life easier in every way.
I’ll start off with number five,
UberEats (free). Ordering food may
seem like a simple task, but it often
becomes complicated for me. When
I use interpreters to call a restaurant,
they often relate the order perfectly,
but they’re bound to make mistakes
sometimes. These mistakes often
cost me my order, or a detail or two
goes missing. Using UberEats, I can ensure that my order is
served without any complications. I’m also able to communi-
cate with the driver using a chat option in the app, rather than
having to call through an interpreter. It has made my life much
easier, just by cutting out the hassle of communicating with
Here comes number four, Ava
(free); it’s an app that translates spo-
ken English into readable text. Ava
has served me well in meetings with
hearing people. What I like about Ava
is that it doesn’t charge you for min-
imal use; but of course, if you use it
daily for professional purposes, it’s
worth the investment as you’ll save
the cost of using interpreters. This preference varies from
person to person, but for me, the app does the job. Since
I’m able to gesture, read lips, and so on, Ava is often the only
tool I need to collect information during live meetings. This
app works just as well for one-on-one conversations with my
hearing family members. Unlike other apps that make a lot of
errors, Ava is super impressive with its ability to relay words.
For example, my roommate, who is also deaf, works at the
National Institute of Health, and says Ava is able to skillfully
relay the scientific terms he uses daily as part of his job.
Number three on my list isConvo (free), a video-calling app thatdeaf people use to relay their callsthrough sign-language interpreters.
Convo is also deaf-owned, which is a
huge plus because the owners know
exactly what kinds of barriers we
face when using interpreters and
relay services. Convo has proven
to be superior in many ways, from the interpreting to the
aesthetic of the app. The only reason I put Convo as number
three on my list is because I usually use my laptop or TV for
video calling, so I don’t need my phone for it. I use Convo
once a week or so, depending on how many calls I need to
This app can also literally be a lifesaver. About a year ago,I was in an accident that totaled my truck. The only way forme to communicate with authorities was by using Convo. Theinterpreter surpassed my expectations and helped me confidently maneuver through my first accident. It’s really helpfulto have such a reliable app when making an emergency call,especially in life-threatening situations.
Coming in a close number two is
Big (free). The app is designed to
enlarge your text to the maximum
size possible so you can confidently
type to communicate without having
to adjust the text size. I use Big daily
for this reason. Often, I come across
people who left their reading glasses
at home, and Big comes in super
handy. Another nice thing about Big is that it saves receipts
of your texts so you can review them. If I made an order at a
restaurant and liked how the food tasted, I can easily make
the exact same order. This app is nice for every little conversa-
tion; from a person you’re sitting next to on the plane, to your
potential boss in an interview.
Coming in strong in first place is
Face Time (free). If you’ve ever triedvideo calling with other applications,you’ll know that they can generallylag due to all the live data they’retransferring to the other phone.
Since sign language uses a lot ofmotion, it requires a strong connection. A lot of apps can’t handle this.
On the contrary, Face Time has almost always been reliableto use for video calling. I use it when I call my parents orgrandparents because it gives me the ability to read their lipswhile we’re on a call. It’s a super useful app that has earnedthe trust of most deaf people. I would say I use Face Timeanywhere from five to twenty times a day. I live with threeother deaf people, including my girlfriend, and we Face Timewith each other to communicate. There’s something so naturalabout Face Timing other deaf people. Being able to use signlanguage versus texting is a true advantage. You are able tosee emotions, facial expressions, and signs while chatting.
This makes all the difference, and for that, I have to thankApple. Group calling is also an option now, which is greatfor deaf families who now can all join one call. Being able totalk face to face can’t compare to using interpreters or textmessages. Call me on FaceTime, and I’ll teach you some signlanguage! �
Logan Waldo is an avid outdoorsman from southern Minnesota who now lives inWashington, D.C. He enjoys reading and writing about entrepreneurship, politics,accessibility, and deaf culture.