I bought a Samsung Galaxy S6 nearly a year ago, and after setting it up I didn’t really ever explore all of the included programs – like most people probably do. And as you’ve heard me complain about previously, I often have difficulty listening to music and podcasts through my earbuds. Because of my hearing impairment, I often find myself turning up the volume to a point where the bass is uncomfortably loud just so I can hear the mids and highs of an audio sample. I’ve explored a handful of apps that attempt to help, but most of them have limited settings available or require running all of your sound files through a strange, shoddy, third party app.
However, I’ve recently discovered a program on my Samsung which is so close to solving the problem. Its called AdaptSound, and it can be easily reached by going to Settings–>Sounds–>Sound Quality. The purpose of the program is unfortunately not to help individuals with hearing impairments, but instead just to ensure that sound files are being heard the way they’re supposed to, regardless of the quality of the headphones used. However, it can also be used to help those of us who don’t hear very well without their hearing aids. When you enter the program and go to set up AdaptSound, it prompts you to complete a basic audiometry test where you click yes or no, depending on whether you hear the beeps. The program then adjusts all of the sound from your phone to account for your own personal “audiogram.”
The problem though, is that this is meant for people with typical hearing. When I did the AdaptSound test the first time, I did not hear ANY of the test beeps. I got around this problem by using a different pair of ear buds which went much louder (if you could do this test with proper inserts, I think the results would be far better yet). However, even then I was only able to hear a couple of the lowest frequencies at their highest tested volume. Even with just that change though, I found listening to music and podcasts so much better with the program on. I know its not perfect, but its a lot better than anything out there. (And Kanye’s new album sounded even better with this simple change.)
I find this program frustrating too, because its so close to being a useful tool for those of us with hearing impairments but isn’t quite there yet. The only major change it requires is extending the range of the testing beeps to meet our higher hearing thresholds. So if you’re a Samsung executive and you’re reading this – do the right thing! Make these little changes to help us out and you’ll have a very compelling reason for individuals with hearing impairments to choose Samsung over Apple every time.