Supporting Print Accessibility Through Audio Technology
Almost one and a half million Americans are legally blind, and of those, over
90% do not read Braille.
There are many reasons why people may not be able to read normal printed
material, and vision loss is the biggest factor. Well over
20 million Americans
have experienced significant vision loss, and that number rises every day.
six million Americans over 65
have vision loss that prevents them from reading. But there are
nine million people in the 45 to 64 age range
with vision loss. As these "baby boomers" age, the numbers with vision loss
will likely dramatically exceed those of the present generation of seniors.
Information can help provide personal independence, and one way of providing
printed information to those who cannot read is via
Audio Information Services
. Volunteer readers and computer speech can read daily newspapers, magazines
and best-selling books to thousands of people at a time at low cost. Services
can include closed-circuit radio broadcasts, dial-in telephone newspaper
systems, personal recording and internet broadcasting and program archives.
IAAIS is a worldwide organization of over a hundred independent Audio
Information Services which provide printed material in audio form. In almost
these services are provided free of charge
IAAIS assists and encourages the formation of Audio Information Services.
We've consulted with or had member services from South Africa, Japan, New
Zealand and Canada. We've sent representatives to AIS-development workshops in
Jamaica, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. IAAIS works with the FCC to advocate
for our print-impaired audience, and we've worked with Ibiquity and National
Public Radio in the development of new digital technology that expands the
capabilities of HD Radio to serve the needs of the blind.
If you or someone you know is unable to read normal printed material, there is
probably an IAAIS member service ready to help.
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