This App Helps Parents With Hearing Impairments Hear Their Baby Cry

When bawling is a blessing


(antoniodiaz /

For many new parents, listening to their baby cry is a stressful occurrence. For others, it’s a rare blessing, and for deaf parents, hearing an infant’s vocalizations isn’t something they’re able to take for granted, it’s a rare occurrence. The more time a parent spends around their children, the more they’re able to know the cause of the screams.

Are they hungry? Fussy? In pain? It’s not as easy for deaf parents to pick out the root cause of the cry, the solution isn’t as simple. Dr. Ariana Anderson at the UCLA Medical Center and Semel Institute wanted to change this so that no parent is left feeling like they’re in the dark when it comes to their baby.

The Chatterbaby app is what came out of this motivation and desire to help thousands of other parents feel more empowered when it comes to attending to their children. The mother of four knew she was blessed with the ability to hear (and ultimately decipher) why her children cried, and she also knew not every parent had the same opportunity.

Chatterbaby accomplishes two major feats: alerting parents when their children are crying and offering an explanation of the cause, which assists members of the deaf community in their quest to interpret their baby’s needs. In a significant feat, the app produces 90% accuracy.

For new parents, knowing that long periods of silence in between cries means the baby is finicky, and that “long, sustained, high-pitched wails,” signifies that baby is in pain is a huge relief and an important part of being a parent.

While the app is still in development, Dr. Anderson and her team have already collected a database of over 2,000 baby cries and had deaf parents test the app to see where it’s most and least effective.

And the testers’ responses have been largely positive, already listing the app as a helpful and important tool for their parenting.

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