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Hearing, vision and dexterity impaired tune in to devices

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Hearing, vision and dexterity impaired tune in to devices

In the third installment on accessibility settings, NATHAN WELLINGTON discusses what the smart devices popular among those with hearing, vision or dexterity loss, can do to make life easier.

Accessibility settings on the smart phone or tablet have been designed to be adaptive.  The Android smart phone – Samsung, Google Pixel, Oppo, Motorola, Nokia – and the Apple iPhone have made these sections easy to navigate, by grouping the appropriate features under Hearing, Vision/ Visibility and Physical and Motor/ Interaction and Dexterity.

You will find access to these settings by navigating to Settings >accessibility on both iPhone and Android.

Here is a brief description of what you will find in each section and their purpose.

Apple iPhone and iPad

Hearing – Subtitling and Closed Captions are a staple iPhone feature displaying text to audio produced through media. Made for iPhone (MFi) hearing aids, compatible with Apple use your device to adjust your hearing aid settings through the phone. Noise Cancellation is also a feature that reduces background noise during a call, and Apple support RTT (real-time text) protocol for conversational text calls on your iPhone.

Vision / Visibility – Voiceover allows you to hear a description of everything on your screen.

Zoom allows you to zoom into a portion of the screen in a moveable window or zoom the entire screen. Smart Invert, inverts only the colours on the screen you prefer.

Physical and Motor – Apple offer a one-handed keyboard for one handed typing.  Siri is the voice assistant that will allow you to command your iPhone by speech.

Switch Control lets you control your mobile device using physical switches.

Reachability allows you to navigate through your device more conveniently with just one hand.

Assistive Touch allows you to access features such as the Home button, enable Siri, adjust device volume, and others through a floating menu.  Shake to Undo is also a great feature which allows you to shake your iPad to undo your typing and shake again to redo it.

Android phone and tablet

Hearing: Live Transcribe is a staple on android phones and can be downloaded from the Google Play store. It uses the devices microphone to capture text and display a caption box. Live Caption is the sister feature of Live Transcribe where the phone can overlay captions on all media playing audio.

Mono Audio also combines sounds from the left and right audio channels for people who suffer hearing loss in one ear.

Vision/Visibility: Android offer similar features as iPhone although the description is slightly different. For low vison users, Android offers Talkback to hear a description of your screen. Zoom to magnify portions of your screen and text size. Contrast features can assist in reading and there are many tools for colour-blindness including grey scale, red green blue yellow and other colour filter options.

Interaction and Dexterity: Switch Access like the iPhone, presents options for using adaptive switches and accessories.  Dictation lets you use your voice to create lists, compose emails and bark out other instructions. Google Assistant also provides a speech option to command your android phone much like Siri does on the iPhone.

This is merely scratching the surface of the combinations and features of these settings. There are many more. I suggest navigating your way through each and trying one at a time to see if it suits you, or call your local technician to assist in setting up these features to best suit your needs.

 Call  1300 682 817 or email

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