Text to speech reader for the blind

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    Text to speech readers for the blind are a game changer in business, in school, and in your leisure. Here are some of our top picks.

    Text to speech reader for the blind

    Text to speech technology has changed the way visually impaired and blind people access written information. This assistive technology offers a lifeline for those facing vision loss, making it possible to convert printed material and digital text into spoken words. In this article, we will explore the significance of text to speech technology, the struggles faced by the blind, and how text to speech and other assistive technology can enhance their lives.

    What is text to speech?

    Text to speech (TTS) is a technology that converts written text, whether it’s in printed material, web pages, or digital documents, into spoken words. This speech conversion can be generated by computerized voices or human-like synthesizers, aiding blind and visually impaired individuals in accessing information through audio output.

    Reading – The biggest challenge of the blind

    For individuals who are blind, reading presents one of the most significant challenges in their daily lives. The absence or loss of sight makes the traditional act of visually scanning and interpreting reading material impossible or very difficult, depending on the degree of the vision loss, necessitating alternative methods to access information and literature.

    Other struggles the blind face

    In addition to reading, blind people also struggle with:

    • Inaccessible printed material: Blind people often struggle with accessing printed text, such as books, newspapers, and documents, which rely on visual elements like text color, font size, and high contrast.
    • Limited web accessibility: Many web pages are not designed with accessibility in mind, creating barriers for blind users who rely on screen readers and assistive technology to navigate the internet.
    • Braille limitations: Although braille is an essential tactile system for reading and writing, the availability of braille materials and the literacy rates among the blind remain a concern.

    How the blind can read

    Thankfully, blind people can employ various innovative techniques to read and access information. These methods are often based on converting written text into non-visual formats that are accessible to them. These approaches include Braille, audiobooks, volunteer readers, and text to speech technology, so let’s break them down.

    Audiobooks for the blind

    Audiobooks have become a valuable resource for the blind, providing a means to “read” books and other written materials through audio narration. They allow individuals to listen to books and other printed materials, making literature and information more accessible and enjoyable.

    Volunteer readers for the blind

    Volunteer readers play a vital role in helping the blind access written content. These dedicated individuals read aloud printed materials, such as books, newspapers, or magazines, to blind individuals who may not have access to audiobooks or other assistive technology. Their efforts enable the blind to stay informed and entertained through the power of the spoken word.

    Braille

    Braille is a tactile writing system that uses a series of raised dots to represent letters, numbers, and symbols. It provides a means for the blind to read and write independently by touch. Braille is commonly used for books, documents, labels, and signage, enabling individuals with visual impairments to access printed information in a tangible and tacticle format.

    Text to speech

    Text to speech (TTS) technology is a critical tool for the blind, as it converts written text into spoken words. Special software and devices can read aloud digital content, including websites, study guides, and documents, making information from the internet and electronic media accessible to those with visual impairments. One such text to speech platform is Speechify, which allows those dealing with vision loss to have any digital or physical text read aloud.

    How text to speech can help the blind and vision impaired

    For those with visual impairments, the ability to convert written text into spoken words through text to speech systems opens up opportunities for education, communication, and independence that were once constrained by the limitations of printed materials. In fact, TTS platforms like Speechify can help those with vision loss through:

    • Access to printed material: Text to speech technology allows blind individuals to access a wide range of printed materials, including study guides, webpages, documents, and signs, by using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to convert text into speech.
    • Web accessibility: Screen readers and TTS software make web pages accessible by reading aloud the content and providing navigation enhancements like headings, links, and alternative text for images.
    • Braille enhancement: Text to speech can complement refreshable braille displays, offering an audio-visual experience for the blind and low vision users.

    Best assistive technology for the blind

    In a world that increasingly relies on digital information and technology, assistive technology has become an essential lifeline for individuals with visual impairments. For the blind, the right assistive tools can bridge the gap between exclusion and full participation in the digital age. Let’s explore some top options.

    Speechify’s text to speech service

    One of the best assistive technologies for the blind is Speechify, a powerful text to speech application. Speechify transforms any digital or physical text into spoken words, making it accessible to individuals with visual impairments. With its user-friendly interface and compatibility across various platforms, Speechify empowers blind individuals to access information independently and efficiently. Its advanced features, including adjustable reading speeds, high-quality voices, and OCR scanning, further enhance the user experience.

    Screen Readers

    Popular screen readers like JAWS for Windows, VoiceOver for Apple’s iOS and Mac OS, NVDA for Windows, Orca for Linux, and Speechify for any device provide comprehensive text to speech and braille support, enhancing accessibility. These assistive technologies empower visually impaired users to navigate computers and mobile devices, surf the web, and interact with digital content by audibly conveying information displayed on the screen, making the digital world more inclusive and accessible.

    OCR software

    OCR software, such as Microsoft’s built-in tools and third-party solutions like Speechify, enable blind users to convert printed text into digital format for TTS playback. This technology plays a crucial role in transforming physical documents, such as books, documents, and printed materials, into accessible digital versions, thus opening up a wealth of written knowledge and information to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

    Screen magnification

    For individuals with low vision, screen magnification software and magnifiers enhance the size and visibility of text and graphical content. These tools magnify the on-screen elements, making it easier for those with limited vision to read and interact with digital interfaces, websites, and documents, thereby improving their digital experience and productivity.

    Refreshable braille displays

    Refreshable braille displays combine tactile braille with TTS to offer a dual sensory experience, allowing blind individuals to read and listen simultaneously. Refreshable braille displays bring text and information to life through touch, enabling blind users to access digital content, communicate, and engage with technology in a way that combines the benefits of braille literacy with the convenience of text to speech technology, promoting greater independence and inclusivity.

    Accessibility features for the blind on IOS and Android

    Accessibility features for the blind are also available on both iOS and Android devices, providing a range of tools and options to help visually impaired users navigate and interact with their smartphones. Here, we’ll explore some of the key accessibility features available on both platforms and provide step-by-step instructions on how to use them.

    Accessibility features on iOS

    Here is a breakdown of some of the top accessibility features on IOS:

    VoiceOver

    VoiceOver is a screen reader that reads out loud the content on your iOS device’s screen. Enable VoiceOver by following the steps below:

    1. Open the “Settings” app.
    2. Scroll down and tap on “Accessibility.”
    3. Under the “VoiceOver” section, toggle the switch to enable it.
    4. Customize VoiceOver settings, such as speech rate and verbosity, by tapping “VoiceOver” and selecting “Speech” or “Rotor.”

    Zoom

    Zoom allows users to magnify the screen, making it easier to read and interact with content. To enable zoom, simply:

    1. Open the “Settings” app.
    2. Scroll down and tap on “Accessibility.”
    3. Under the “Vision” section, select “Zoom” and toggle the switch to enable it.
    4. To zoom in, double-tap the screen with three fingers. Drag three fingers to adjust the zoom level.

    Magnifier

    The magnifier feature turns your device’s camera into a magnifying glass. To turn on the magnifier feature:

    1. Open the “Settings” app.
    2. Scroll down and tap on “Accessibility.”
    3. Under the “Vision” section, select “Magnifier” and toggle the switch to enable it.
    4. Triple-press the home button (or side button, depending on your device) to open the Magnifier.

    Accessibility features on Android

    To make your Android experience more accessible, check out these accessibility features:

    TalkBack

    TalkBack is Google’s screen reader for Android, providing spoken feedback for what’s on the screen. Follow the steps below to enable TalkBack:

    1. Open the “Settings” app.
    2. Scroll down and tap on “Accessibility.”
    3. Under “Screen reader,” tap “TalkBack,” and toggle the switch to enable it.
    4. Follow the setup wizard for additional customization options.

    Magnification gestures

    This feature allows you to magnify parts of the screen for better visibility. Here’s a guide to use magnification gestures:

    1. Open the “Settings” app.
    2. Scroll down and tap on “Accessibility.”
    3. Under “Magnification gestures,” toggle the switch to enable it.
    4. Triple-tap the screen with one finger to zoom in and out. Drag two or more fingers to pan around.

    Select to Speak

    Select to Speak reads text aloud by highlighting it on the screen. Enable Select to Speak by using the steps below:

    1. Open the “Settings” app.
    2. Scroll down and tap on “Accessibility.”
    3. Under the “Text to speech output” section, tap “Select to Speak” and toggle the switch to enable it.
    4. To use Select to Speak, tap the Accessibility button (a floating button with a hand icon) and select the text you want to read.

    Why Speechify is the best text to speech reader for the blind

    Speechify is a top-notch text to speech reader, catering to the specific needs of blind and visually impaired people. This user-friendly platform is available as a website, Chrome web browser extension, and Android or Apple app, making it highly versatile. It excels in its high-quality voice synthesis and supports various formats, including HTML, emails, computer screen content, and documents. Speechify’s seamless integration with OCR technology ensures blind users can easily convert printed material into audio content. Additionally, it offers customization options such as voice selection and playback speed, making it a standout choice in the assistive technology market. Try Speechify for free today for more accessibility.

    FAQ

    Who does Speechify help?

    Speechify helps individuals with dyslexia, vision loss, blindness, ADHD, multitaskers, and various disabilities to access and comprehend written content more easily through text to speech technology.

    How do blind people use text to speech?

    Blind people use text to speech technology by utilizing screen readers or specialized software such as Speechify that converts written text into spoken words, allowing them to listen to and interact with digital content, such as websites, documents, and messages.

    Can blind people read text messages?

    Yes, blind people can read text messages through the use of text to speech tools like Speechify, which convert the text messages into speech or braille, enabling them to access and respond to text messages independently.

    What do blind people use to read?

    Blind people can use braille, text to speech, audiobooks, and screen readers to read.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

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