How to enable Sound Detection for Alexa Routines – Reviewed

February 9, 2022 by No Comments

Amazon’s Echo smart speakers and displays can listen for more than just your wake word—devices like the Echo Dot and Echo Show 5 can also keep an ear out for everyday household noises like barking dogs, appliance beeps, and even your snoring spouse (to name a few). The idea is to help turn your home’s everyday sounds into triggers for your smart devices to make your life a little easier.

When your designated Echo device detects a particular sound, it can trigger a series of smart home commands based on your pre-programmed Alexa Routines. The sound-detecting feature is optional (we discuss privacy concerns toward the end of this post) and currently available as a public preview in the Amazon Alexa app. I’ve been using it regularly at my house for a while now, and so far I’m impressed. Here’s how it works—and how you can benefit from it.

How does Sound Detection for Alexa Routines work?

Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

I have an Echo speaker next to my washer/dryer that’s set up to listen for appliance beeps. When that happens, my Echo Show 10 makes an announcement telling me the laundry is done.

Echo smart speakers and displays can listen for a wide variety of sounds like snoring, coughing, dogs barking, babies crying, beeping appliances, and leaking water. When used with Alexa Routines, a series of skills set by you in the Alexa app, Sound Detection can leverage your smart Alexa devices to trigger a series of subsequent actions.

There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to using Alexa’s Sound Detection feature. For example, you can set the front porch lights to automatically turn on every time one of your Echo devices hears your dog bark at night. You can also set the speaker to start playing soothing lullabies when it detects a crying baby or white noise from a nearby speaker when it hears your spouse snoring at night.

The feature can also be used as a way to provide visual clues to those with hearing impairments. If Alexa detects running water for a period of time, for instance, she can trigger the living room smart lights to flash on and off, serving as a visual reminder to shut off the faucet. Ultimately, Alexa’s sound detection feature can help you and your Amazon-powered smart home operate more smoothly.

To use the new preview of the Sound Detection feature, you need an Amazon Echo smart speaker, like an Echo Dot, or an Echo Show display. (At the time of publication, Alexa Sound Detection is not supported on third-party smart speakers like the Bose Home 300 or Sonos One.) Be sure to place the speaker or display in the same room as the trigger sound. Next, you’ll need to enable Sound Detection alerts.

How to enable Sound Detection alerts on Amazon Echo devices

Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

You can set up your Echo speaker or display to listen for certain sounds in the Alexa app for iOS and Android.

1. Open the Amazon Alexa app.
2. Tap More in the bottom right corner > Routines.
3. Tap plus sign in the upper right corner to open a new Routine. Name the Routine.
4. Tap When this happens > Sound Detection. Select the sound you want the device to listen for.



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