headset ladyAn assessment of visual or hearing needs can be performed by an Occupational Therapist or another specialist in this field.

Visual Assessment

A significant challenge in computer accessibility is to make software usable by people with visual impairment, since computer interfaces often require input visually and provide visual feedback in response.

For individuals with mild to medium vision impairment, it is helpful to use large fonts, high DPI (Dot per inch/resolution) displays, high contrast themes and icons supplemented with auditory feedback and screen magnifying software.

In the case of severe vision impairment such as blindness, screen reader software that provides feedback via text to speech or a refreshable braille display is a necessary accommodation for interaction with a computer.

Use of desk/office telephones, mobile phones and other visual requirements, eg filing, or other tasks, eg fine dexterity tasks, eg electrical work, reading travel timetables etc could also require assessment depending on the work role performed.

Hearing Assessment

Regarding computer users, while sound user interfaces have a secondary role in common desktop computing, usually limited to system sounds as feedback, software producers take into account people who can’t hear, either for personal disability, noisy environments, silence requirements or lack of sound hardware. Such system sounds like beeps can be substituted or supplemented with visual notifications and captioned text (akin to closed captions).

Use of telephone systems may need to be assessed for hearing impaired users.

Hearing needs in other environments can also be assessed, considering the use of prescribed hearing aids and other equipment that is available (eg pagers, loop systems and visual alerts etc).

See our Useful Links page which includes diagnosis specific advice from organisations which can help.

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