Ava can change the lives of people with hearing loss and the people they love.

Every now and then I run across an app that’s important. Not a game, or another camera filter, but an app that can improve a person’s quality of life. It’s rare, but sometimes an app like that crosses my desk.

“Ava” is this type of app. It was created to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing communicate with other people. If you’ve struggled to have a conversation with someone who cannot hear very well, you know how frustrating it can be for both of you.

With Ava, you just place your phone on a table or hold it while you talk. It records the conversation and, in real-time, adds subtitles to the screen. Ava says it is 85% accurate and while it doesn’t get everything right, I found it is close enough to understand what the other person is saying.

Having the app on everyone’s phone is not necessary. It will work on just one phone but everyone might have to crowd around the screen. It’s much easier to download the app on everyone’s phones. It will memorize your voice and it will be identified with a different color. If everyone has the app installed, it will identify everyone’s turn to speak. The conversation will also show up on everyone’s phone.

Ava is a free app for a limited amount of time each month. An annual subscription for unlimited subtitled conversations is $30.