Accessibility

How can I configure my DVD player to hear it via TV Ears?

CJ from California

Episode 1044

CJ's mother is hard of hearing and would like to get something that will help her listen to the audio on DVD. She's currently using TV Ears and it's not working. Leo says it should and it's likely that she doesn't have it set up properly to get the DVD audio as well. Leo advises contacting their help line toll free to have them walk her through configuring it correctly.

Which Internet ISP should I get?

Marylin from Highland Park, NJ

Episode 1040

Marilyn is getting a new computer and now wants to get broadband at home. She's wondering what the best ISP would be: Verizon FIOS or Optimum by Cablevision? Leo says that either is excellent, with FIOS likely being faster. Optimum is #2 in the country right now in service. So both options would be excellent.Marilyn should look beyond the teasing first year "tease" rate, and find out what the cost will be afterwards.

What's a good phone for the hearing impaired?

Joe from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1032

Joe is hard of hearing and he can't use a smartphone because the ringer is too soft. Leo says that texting may be a good solution, but a mobile phone should be able to be loud enough for the hearing impaired to pick up. Leo got his mom a Jitterbug. Jitterbug also has smartphones. They are hearing aid compatible, but also has a large speaker with great sound. Leo also suggests talking to his cellphone carrier. TTPhone makes a senior phone with big buttons and loud speakers.

Can an Android phone read text aloud?

Connor from Castle Rock, CO

Episode 1020

Kyle wants to make sure that an Android phone will read back the text that he highlights. Leo says that it's called "text to speech" and Android has some really good options for that. Google calls it "TalkBack." The iPhone will do it by highlighting the text and then pressing the button that says "speak." In the Android settings under "assistive technologies" tab, he should select "TalkBack". That will just read back everything, though, but he should be able to narrow it down.

How good are accessibility features in smartphones?

Aaron from Albany, OR

Episode 1012

Aaron has a friend who needs to be totally reliant on voice command. Is there a smartphone that can do that? Leo says that the main issue is apps, and using apps require touch. He could use the Motorola Moto-X with Google Now, but it'll be limited.

Leo recommends contacting the Foundation for the Blind, an independent living resource center. He could also try Lighthouse for the Blind. They're really good at customizing the technology for the need. Doctor Mom in the ChatRoom recommends HelenKeller.org.

What's the best way for me to learn about my new iPhone?

Stan from Woodland Hills, CA

Episode 1010

Stan's wife has an iPhone 5, which is their first computer. They don't really know how to use it, though. What's the best book to get to read? Leo recommends going to the Apple Store and taking their "one to one" course. They'll sit down and show them how to use the phone. Leo says that's the best way to start. Books can be confusing because technology is moving faster than publishers can keep up. If their eyesight isn't that great, that could be an issue with the iPhone, but there's also accessibility features built in that will help.