Cost: $4.99

iTunes URL:

Awareness bills itself as the “headphone app for the iPhone.” It is an app that lets you listen to music and other audio content on an iPod touch/iPhone while also picking up on ambient sound.

I have wanted an app like this because I really like listening to music on my iPod touch/iPhone (I have both) but I also need to be aware of my surroundings since I have limited vision.  I could not believe how well this app worked. At first I thought the price was kind of high for a one-trick pony, but given how well it works I think it’s worth it. It actually freaked me out a bit the first time I used the app while walking around my college campus. It was weird that I could hear people talking before they came into view. For a while, I felt “bionic”. The app is so sensitive (you can adjust this in the settings) that it even picked up the sound of my cane as I tapped on different surfaces during my walk.

This app would definitely be a big help to anyone who has a hearing impairment (including those who are losing their hearing due to old age and need some help hearing the tv, etc.). The cost and convenience would make it a great alternative for providing accommodations to students with hearing impairments in educational settings (it could replace a sound amplification system).

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