I've seen a lot of apps in the past few years browsing the app stores for super fun "App of the Day" features. I haven't seen many apps as impressive as "HeardThat," a brand new app for iOS and Android that helps people hear conversations in a noisy environment.
I first heard about "HeardThat" at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Matt Potma had a small exhibit space demonstrating the app. I usually walk past the countless number of "app exhibits" because many never actually become available or if they do become available they're outdated before ever getting into the app stores.
"HeardThat" is an incredible technology. Potma pitched it like this:
"HeardThat is an app to help people hear through noisy situations, like here at CES," he said.
Admittedly, I was hesitant to believe how well this app could drown out or eliminate the noisy crowded exhibit hall, but Potma handed me a pair of headphones to let me see, or hear for myself. As he talked and I listened through the headphones, the noise of other voices and ambient sounds disappeared and his voice was the only thing coming through the headphones. Potma wasn't leaning into the phone that lay on the table. He was talking to me just like anyone would talk to someone in a quiet space, not raising his voice at all. It truly was impressive.
"It's also directional," Potma explained. "So if I move the phone away from me," as he turned the phone's microphone to the side, I could not hear his voice. "But if I turn it around, I come back," he said. And he did.
HeardThat's website and app include several demonstration videos of people in noisy environments using the app. One conversation was with a woman in a car and then in a supermarket asking about which item to get. Another video is of a man wearing a facemask while sitting in a mall food court. Each time the app turned on, you only hear their voice and nothing from the room or location. It can be very helpful to anyone but especially for people who have some level of hearing loss.
"HeardThat" is a free app at the moment but there are plans to require a subscription to continue the development of the app. If you or someone you care about has trouble hearing conversations when there's noise around them, "HeardThat" is worth the download.