5 Essential iPhone Apps for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Travelers

Hand holds iPhone with Google map on screen
Are you planning your next trip? Whether going to a conference in the next town, or a work assignment in the next continent, you'll come back to each and every one of these apps.

Picture Dictionary-Babel Deck

Add this iPhone app to your arsenal of communication tools. It doesn't matter whether you can speak the language or hear what is spoken. Use over 1000 color photos to show the thing that you are looking for. Negotiate better deals at the local market, rent your first apartment overseas, or meet new people.

Transportation app from the host country

Increasingly, transportation systems around the world are offering their own smart phone apps. These programs can help you get live information about routes, arrival times, and stops. No more missing your stop because you didn't hear the announcement. Ask the local transit company, your host organization, or regional disabled people's organizations about options.

Tap Tap

Become attuned to potentially helpful noises in your environment. This app will vibrate when it detects sounds. Adjust sensitivity to fit your environment. If you have ever felt like it would be useful to hear when someone calls your name, or when your stop is called on a bus, you might try this application.


Sometimes texting is the most effective way to communicate with a hearing person, or a speaker of a different sign language. Applications like WhatsApp are commonly used abroad and offer the flexibility to make sure that you are always understood.

Google maps

If you have ever struggled to get good driving directions, or to know when your stop is coming up, you will appreciate this popular and universally used application. Get the list of stations for your Metro trip, visual directions to safely reach your destination, and even a vibrating tap when you arrive.

These are just a few obvious and not so obvious suggestions for apps that Deaf or hard of hearing iPhone users have benefited from the past.

Did we miss one? Send us an email at clearinghouse [at] miusa.org or tweet us @MobilityINTL.