The following is the transcript and links to the February Vision Rehab Podcast: Radio Reading Services on Your Smart Speaker.
Hello, and thanks for joining me today on the Vision Rehab Podcast.
February is low vision awareness month, and it’s a great time to talk about how to get back into reading the paper, a favorite magazine, or books again after a vision loss.
As someone who loves to read, and someone with a vision loss developed later in life, I know first-hand how discouraging it may feel to pick up a book, or the newspaper and struggle to read it, or realize that the print is just too small to make out.
For some of you listening it may be really hard to imagine reading after a vision loss. Today, with digital books, audio books, video magnifiers, and computers that read to us, there are a lot of different ways to continue reading, and you’ll find one that suits you.
One of my favorite reading resources to share with people are radio reading services, also called audio information services. Most radio reading services have volunteers who read articles from local and national newspapers, magazines, and books. They may also read selected books, or play podcasts related to current events. At one time, you needed a special radio receiver to listen to the service nearest you, but many are now available on the internet and through your smart speakers, like the Amazon Echo, or Google Home. So if you have a smart speaker, chances are you can find a radio reading service that will read selections from the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, plus many other papers throughout the country.
How do you find these services? On the internet you can find a pretty complete list at the International Association of Audio Information Services or IAAIS for short at iaais.org. Click on the tab labeled Find Services to look for services near you, or those you can find on the internet.
Quite a few of these services are available right from your Amazon Echo or Google Home. Here are two of my favorites:
The first is: Talking Information Center. Just ask for it by saying, “Alexa, play Talking Information Center on TuneIn.” This will also work with the Google Home when you say, “Hey Google, play Talking Information Center on TuneIn.”
And here’s another favorites that’s easy to remember: OWL Radio Reading Service. When asking for this on the smart speakers I usually spell out OWL. For example, “Hey Google, play O-W-L Radio on TuneIn.” The same will work on your Amazon Echo, just say, “Alexa, play O-W-L Radio on TuneIn.”
There are a bunch more of these, and you can find a more complete list of Radio Reading Services at lowvisiontech.com. Click on the Vision Rehab Podcast from the menu and look for this episode on Radio Reading Services.
There’s certainly a lot more to reading with a vision loss than radio reading services. Vision rehabilitation Therapists, also called VRTs will show you all sorts of techniques to get back into reading and other daily living skills related to vision loss. You’ll find VRTs at your State;s Department of Education or Department of Labor. To find one, just checkout the VisionAware Directory of Services at www.visionaware.org/directory. Or just call the APH Connect Center at 800-232-5463 and someone will help you find one. And don’t worry, there’s usually no out of pocket cost for their services or it’s on a sliding scale.
Smart speakers have made it so much easier to reconnect to our favorite newspaper or magazine, by listening to them being read over the internet. So grab a coffee or cup of tea, take a seat near your personal assistant, and read the paper again!
For more information, check out Reading With a Vision Loss.