How can voice software assist me if I'm disabled?

Most of today's tech devices have features that make it easier for people with disabilities to use the full range of the device's features, including voice input and output.

Voice input means the device responds to your voice and performs the commands you speak. Voice input features are available on most new devices. They can be interactive and respond to your questions. Apple’s invention of Siri has made this feature almost universal. If it is not built into your device, there are free apps or software available.

You no longer have to teach your device to recognize your voice. The voice input process is now seamless and very accurate. You can ask questions and get the answer from an automatic web search. The invention of artificial intelligence creates a human­like interaction with your device. As competition increases, this feature is becoming more popular and available.

Voice output means your device can read text, graphics and other displayed items aloud. Unlike voice input, voice output usually sounds more robotic. The technology of voice output is not as well developed as voice input.

Voice output is often called text­to­speech. While this is the most common use of this type of feature, there are many other options available. One such option is a voiceover. The voiceover feature is especially good for blind or low-vision users. When the voiceover feature is turned on, each object that you touch or pass over is described aloud, as you navigate the screen. This feature often has a very mechanical sounding voice. But there are usually some adjustments you can make to improve the voice, such as speed and pitch. This will improve the sound, but it will probably still sound robotic.

Devices older than about four years might not have these options, so it is highly recommended to update your device. It is also important to have a current operating system on your device. This is generally found in system settings.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.