Technology

If you have sight and hearing loss, you might that find using technology really helpful. From shopping and reading to catching up with friends and finding information, the world is more accessible than ever, thanks to advances in technology.

Need help getting to grips with technology? Click here to find out about our digital inclusion service.

Smartphones and tablets

Many of the mobile phones and tablets that are on the market today have in-built accessibility features such as voice activation, magnification and text-to-speech features. This means that you can make your device easier to use simply by adjusting the settings. Browse the pages in this section to find out more.

Apps

There are lots of apps on the market which are designed to help people with sight and/or hearing loss. Our favourites are:

Prizmo Go – an easy to use text-to-speech app
Seeing AI – narrates the world around you!
TextHear – real time text to speech translation
Spuble – turns spoken words into text
Aipoly Vision – identifies objects and colours
TapTapSee – photographs objects and reads aloud what they are
Visor – a magnifier and LED torch
Blind Square – GPS navigation
Boop Light Detector – tells you whether lights are on or off
Sound Alert – vibrates and flashes to alert you to household sounds like the doorbell, microwave, alarm clock etc.
NGT Lite – translates speech calls to text
Welcome – lets participating venues (shops, restaurants etc) know how best to help you

Voice activated technology

There is a growing market for voice-activated devices, such as the Amazon Echo (a.k.a Alexa). These are small internet-enabled speakers which will play music, search the internet, set alarms, tell you what the weather is like - and much more - all using voice activation.

“I thought it would be a bit of a gimmick but the Echo has proven to have wonderful dimensions. I always start the day by asking it what is going on in the news today. The Echo then responds with the morning headlines – it’s great, there is no way I could read all this!”

Click here to read how Ruth uses her Amazon Echo.

Talking technology

Talking gadgets can be a useful household addition to people who have reduced vision but some useful hearing. There is a huge range of talking products on the market today.

Audio books

RNIB’s Talking Books service is free to use and gives you access to 25,000 books that you can listen to.

Talking microwaves

These can tell you when the door is open or closes, the setting you have chosen and the cooking time.

GPS assistants

This can be as simple as configuring Google Maps on your own smartphone to help you get to where you need to be. For example, it might vibrate once to tell you to turn right and vibrate twice to tell you to turn left. If you’re feeling more adventurous a personal GPS device, like the Trekker Breeze might be for you.

Home safety

You might want to consider a vibrating or flashing smoke detector, doorbell and security alarm to give extra piece of mind. These items are readily available in mainstream hardware shops or on the internet.