I see all the time that the recommended ways to mine is to dig deep and listen out for the sounds of monsters in caves.

My niece is deaf, and whilst she loves the building aspect of the game, tasks like "finding caves" or "knowing a monster is behind you" are obviously more difficult.

Are there any settings or mods that can be used to give a visual indication that the player is in the vicinity of mobs? Especially something showing the direction the sound is coming from.

  • 6
    It might be an idea to submit a feature request -- using a "rumble" mouse. Oct 16, 2012 at 7:11
  • 7
    I'm actually pretty sure that there is a minimap mod that shows monsters as red dots around the player, I'm unsure of what it is called though.
    – Ender
    Oct 16, 2012 at 8:11
  • 3
    In a more general perspective, maybe there exist programs which visualize sound. I imagine taking the left and right border of the screen and displaying a spectrogram (high frequency at the top, low frequency at the bottom) might be useful. Unfortunately I am not aware of any such program though :-/ But there is interesting research going on...
    – Zommuter
    Oct 16, 2012 at 10:30
  • 6
    @Ender I think you are referring to Rei's minimap
    – l I
    Oct 16, 2012 at 13:55
  • 7
    In the long term, I would suggest petitioning Mojang for more accessibility features.
    – CyberSkull
    Oct 17, 2012 at 17:53

9 Answers 9


In Minecraft release 1.9+ you can enable subtitles in the corner of the screen, which show what sounds played in the last ~5 seconds! Each sound subtitle fades away with time, darkening and vanishing in a few seconds. Plus, small arrows indicate which side of the player the sound came from.

Or use commands (more reliable, but harder):

To be notified when a specific mob is close, put the command below in a normal command block on a slow Redstone clock:

/execute @e[type=MobName] ~ ~ ~ execute @a[r=R] ~ ~ ~ say @p Warning: MobName

You can change the MobName to detect mobs with that name and adjust the radius (r) to a value that you want. But watch out - the command syntax is case-sensitive! Don't put spaces inside the brackets and don't forget to use capital letters in mob names!

Example: To get warned when a Zombie is less then 5 blocks away from you, use this:

/execute @e[type=Zombie] ~ ~ ~ execute @a[r=5] ~ ~ ~ say @p WARNING: Zombie

Example #2: To be notified when a cave is somewhere around and when it's close, use this bat detector (I used a higher value of r):

/execute @e[type=Bat] ~ ~ ~ execute @a[r=16] ~ ~ ~ say @p Cave 20 blocks away!

/execute @e[type=Bat] ~ ~ ~ execute @a[r=8] ~ ~ ~ say @p Cave 10 blocks away!
  • 4
    This is awesome. I wish I had this solution four years ago, but better late than never!
    – victoriah
    May 17, 2016 at 13:31
  • 4
    @victoriah thanks for coming back and accepting this answer, it helps other people who look for the solution.
    – user140963
    Jun 20, 2016 at 0:27

Most of the monster sounds are low pitch. There are chairs that integrate speakers to let players feel low frequency sounds. You should investigate those.

  • 2
    While a nifty idea, this doesn't really help with the direction part. Oct 16, 2012 at 13:28
  • 12
    Unlike subwoofers which are omnidirectional, speaker chairs have drivers in multiple locations. Front/back is difficult to implement, but left/right is trivial, you just put one speaker behind the left shoulder and one behind the right.
    – Sparr
    Oct 16, 2012 at 14:58

The Captioning API is a modloader mod that captions the sounds of the world. Some of them are deliberately ambiguous, I only learnt through hearing the noises at the same time.

enter image description here

  • 6
    Only thing missing is the direction of the sound.
    – MBraedley
    Mar 21, 2013 at 17:10

You could turn off all music and turn the sound volume up. Lay the speakers on their back, put a thin plate on them and put sand on them. Sound vibrations will cause Chladni Patterns (sorry, the German Wikipedia Article is more informative here...) to occur, similar to the ones you see in this YouTube video:

With some practice, your niece might learn to differ between the patterns of e.g. Zombie grumbling and water flowing.

  • Of course this one looks cooler...
    – Zommuter
    Oct 16, 2012 at 12:00
  • 1
    This is an amazing idea
    – Ender
    Oct 16, 2012 at 14:05
  • 4
    it is great, low cost, highly adaptable, but then the non-deaf people in the room have to listen to ear-shatteringly loud audio (?). Note also that those patterns were created with a very specific controlled sine wave pattern IIRC.
    – horatio
    Oct 16, 2012 at 18:29
  • @horatio & Ender Thanks :-) I don't know how loud it has to be. I can imagine by using a thin foil or balloon skin instead of plates, or even opening up the speakers and putting the sand directly on the membrane, it won't have to be that loud. Alternatively one could look for a sound driver that converts all output to frequencies outside human hearing (< 12 Hz or > ~20 kHz). Low frequencies require a bigger surface, increasing the visible pattern resolution as a bonus. Or maybe attach the speakers beneath the table
    – Zommuter
    Oct 16, 2012 at 18:34
  • 1
    Now make a video doing this with minecraft sounds :) Until then, this is absolutely useless as the patterns here are given ample time to transition, and of specific regular sound waves. But this is a good start
    – ydobonebi
    Jul 29, 2015 at 3:20

note: This is still a draft which I plan to expand into more precise instructions

I'd like to elaborate a bit more on my previous comment, which while also dealing with visualization, is about a software solution instead of the hardware solution I also posted.

The basic idea is displaying a spectrogram together with the (windowed) Minecraft so that the audio visualization helps locating mobs, caves etc. So first some background information from Wikipedia:

A spectrogram is a time-varying spectral representation (forming an image) that shows how the spectral density of a signal varies with time. Also known as spectral waterfalls, sonograms, voiceprints, or voicegrams, spectrograms are used to identify phonetic sounds, to analyse the cries of animals; they were also used in many other fields including music, sonar/radar, speech processing, seismology, etc. The instrument that generates a spectrogram is called a spectrograph.

As an example, here's a spectrogram of a violin:

Time flows from left to right while the bottom represents lower frequencies and the top the higher ones. It's actually easier to understand in animation, so here's some classical music

(there's also the infamous Aphex Twin face, see e.g. here. It's actually incredible what stuff one can do with this.)

Since the location of objects requires Stereo sound, you need a software that can plot a real time stereo spectrogram. (Ok, maybe a simple spectral analyser may suffice, but in order to compensate for the difficulty of identifying a signal, looking back in time for a second sounds fair) I'll assume you don't want to buy a commercial product for this, and why should you when there's freeware available?

The simplest one I found is called Spectrogram 5.0. It's a tiny download and provides a stereo view, although the resolution is quite raw IMHO. (I'll update this answer if you have trouble with the configuration).

The OpenSource project Spek looks promising but doesn't seem to support live output at the moment, while the Overtone Analyzer Free Edition looks a lot more elaborated but I haven't found a Stereo visualization setting yet. Other programs I have not yet checked are SFS/RTGRAM, WaveSurfer, Waterfall Spectrum Analyzer.

Finally, there is Spectrum Lab, which I have used quite some time ago. I don't remember if it supports Stereo, but with the correct settings the results are great...

  • 2
    This is such a cool answer. Thanks for your thoughts, they were interesting. I'll look into the things you linked! :)
    – victoriah
    Oct 30, 2012 at 11:25
  • You're welcome! I'll try and expand this into a step-by-step answer maybe including a short video at some point, but right now I'm unfortunately too low on spare time :-/
    – Zommuter
    Oct 30, 2012 at 13:48

Captions/subtitles have been added in the official Minecraft 1.9 release.

animated GIF of Minecraft captions/subtitles
  • Well, this is great news. I've bugged dinnerbone about this many times. I'm not deaf, but I suffer from random hearing loss (cronic ear wax leakage). I try to get games and other media (like every YTber I watch) to include subtitles. Somehow I missed this update though....weird.
    – ydobonebi
    Jul 29, 2015 at 3:25

I wonder if a set of speakers/headphones could be placed/tuned so that she could feel the stereo sound? If you attempt this, it may be advantageous to swap out the normal sounds of the game for ones that are (lower?) tones that can be more readily felt. The sound files are in the minecraft folder under resources/sound/sound3/mob.

I honestly, don't know if this would work... It's just the first low-tech thing that came to mind.

Good luck. Don't dig down. ;-)


Use Rei's Minimap mod For Monsters, and X-ray texture pack for finding caves. X-ray can be annoying, but you can switch it off easily on the menu.

  • Rei's Minimap has a mode to show caverns, which is much less disruptive than X-ray. Dec 31, 2012 at 3:11

I realise this question is quite old, but came across it "by accident" and thought this might help.

When I recently installed my ASUS motherboard drivers on a new system, I got the option of installing a program called "Sonic Radar II".

From the ROG Sonic Radar page:

Sonic Radar is and onscreen overlay that visually represents sound activities according to their positional location. It is designed as a gaming aid for pro/am gamers, those hard of hearing or unable to use in-game audio clearly. It does not interfere with game files, nor does it represent anything more than the game engine produces.

The page also contains a video explaining things in more detail.

I haven't tried this with minecraft specifically (or with any other game, for that matter), because for people with normal hearing, it's arguably a bit of a cheat. But for people with hearing disabilities, it might be just the thing...

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