Assistive Technology Tools

Assistive Technology Tools
Assistive Technology Tools South Africa

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Hearability South Africa brings you Varibel Hearing aid Glasses Cape Town / JHB / Durban

About Varibel
Though each of the five senses are of great importance, sight and the ability to detect and interpret sound are of the utmost essence to our everyday lives.
It is Varibel’s philosophy to amplify sound as naturally as possible while at the same time maximising your ability to understand speech in all situations, even the most noisy and difficult ones.
Established in 2003, Varibel has built a strong reputation in the Netherlands with the development of superior hearing glasses based on digital technology.
Today, Variabel’s hearing glasses are sold exclusively within the Netherlands where hundreds of wearers enjoy their unique benefits on a daily basis.
In the near future Varibel plans to make their hearing glasses available in other countries around the world through international partnerships, while adding more innovative products to our portfolio.
Varibel strives to improve the quality of life for everyone who comes in touch with our products.

History of Varibel
Since its inception Varibel has gone through several stages of the business cycle. What has been a constant is the high number of satisfied users, who can finally enjoy conversations in noisy surroundings without any difficulty.

To develop their hearing glasses Varibel worked together with Philips Electronics BV and the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands.

Once Varibel made its hearing glasses commercially available to the public in 2006, they generated a steady stream of attention from the international audiology community. Various studies all came to the same conclusion: for understanding speech in a noisy environment, Varibel’s hearing glasses are significantly superior to other hearing aids.
In 2011 Variabel added more innovative features to their product. Such as the “Receiver-In-Canal” feature which is connected to the arms of the glasses through a patented magnetic connection.

Supported by positive feedback from both users old and new, Varibel has been able to further commercialise their fully optimised product and has steadily gained ground in the Dutch market since 2012.

The year 2014 will mark the internationalisation of the company. We will start offering our products to select countries around the world. 

Hearing glasses
One in three people over the age of 60 suffers from hearing loss. However, only half of those people use hearing aids and even the ones who do are often less socially engaged. This is in part related to the appearance of hearing aids, but most importantly related to the fact that traditional hearing aids amplify sounds coming from all directions and are incapable of distinguishing background noise from speech.

Varibel’s hearing glasses have finally solved this problem by incorporating four tiny microphones inside each of the glasses’ arms. The sound signals from the microphones are passed through a processor that determines what sounds should be amplified to the ear. This allows the glasses to dampen background noise while selectively strengthening sound coming from in front of the user.

Varibel hearing glasses feature :

• Digital multi channel technology 
• 4 microphones in both the left and right arm
• 4 different listening programs
• A telecoil to connect to (Bluetooth) loop systems

• Rechargeable capability through a patented charger 
• Choice of frames in multiple colors
• Invisible “Receiver-in-Canal” option
• Proven and reliable arm design

Why Directional Hearing is important
Directional microphones are available in all size hearing aids except the smallest Completely-in-Canal devices. This results in less noise, greater comfort, and better sound perception for most patients. However, because unwanted noise reduction can hamper sound and a more normalised perception, hearing aids should be fitted with the capacity to maximise auditory processing and be able to learn from natural sound.

The solution of Varibel hearing glasses is based on the fact that the direction of different sounds can be distinguished through the travelling nature of sound. Because the microphones are positioned within different distances from the sound’s origin, they can detect the sound’s direction based on the difference in the time it took for the sound to travel to each microphone. This process can be simplified and improved when there is a larger distance between the microphones, and these larger distances are available on the arms of the spectacles.

This gain in directivity is expressed in the so-called directivity-index or DI. Because the DI is frequency dependent it is usually weighed over the frequency range. This is important for speech intelligibility and is referred to as the speech-intelligibility-weighted directivity index or DIw. DIw is a measure for the attenuation of unwanted sounds from random directions as compared to the sensitivity to sound coming from the frontal direction. The processing of Varibel’s hearing glasses give a DIw of 8 dB, which is extremely high for such small array of only 4 microphones over a length of 72 mm. In short: sounds in front of you will be perceived 8 dB louder than the noises surrounding you.

Varibel’s philosophy is to amplify sound as naturally as possible while at the same time maximising your ability to understand speech in all environments, even the most noisy and difficult ones. 

Look good, hear best
The integration of spectacles and hearing aids in one device bring a lot of other benefits to the table. Of course the frame has to suit your features and personality. Not just color, but design is also an important factor.

Varibel has a range of 9 frames in its collection to match your personal preference. Each frame is available in 3 colors which gives you a total choice of 27 different styles. The color of the arms will be matched with the color of the frame.

You also have a range of choices on the audiology front. Your audiologist or optician can advise you to choose either an “Ear Connector” with a tube or a “Receiver-in-Canal” (RIC) to bring the sound into your outer ear canal. Both options use the patented magnetic connection to the arms of the glasses and will also match the chosen color of the frame and arms.

Last but not least your hearing consultant can choose between 2 different RIC’s depending on your hearing loss: a smaller version for normal fittings and a more powerful version for those suffering from more severe hearing loss. 

Varibel and the future
Based on its current proven technologies, Varibel strives to develop more products in the near future. Our product road map foresees the implementation of wireless technology to make our hearing glasses even more versatile.

We are also looking into solutions for occasional hearing problems and for more flexible versions of our current product, for example by adding customisable frames to our portfolio.

An international expansion program has been introduced to offer people around the world the benefit of understanding speech in noisy surroundings through the use of Varibel hearing solutions.

Varibel is confident it will expand its position as the world’s leading hearing glasses manufacturer through more innovative and creative hearing solutions in the near future. 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Jaws Screen Reader South Africa (software for the blind)

The World's Most Popular Windows Screen Reader

JAWSJob Access With Speech, is the world's most popular screen reader, developed for computer users whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content or navigating with a mouse. JAWS provides speech and Braille output for the most popular computer applications on your PC.


Advanced Features

  • JAWS Tandem available for free to help with support and training
  • Optional support for Citrix, Terminal Services, and Remote Desktop
  • Powerful scripting language to customize the user experience on any application
  • Includes drivers for all popular Braille displays
  • Includes voices for over 30 different languages
  • Distributed worldwide with local sales and support in most countries

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


Personswith disabilities include those who have long-term sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Discrimination on the basis of disability means any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the purpose or
effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the
political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. It includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation.

Reasonableaccommodation means necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others.

The three basic criteria must all be met if a person is to be covered under the SA legislation

A person must have an impairment. An impairment may either be physical or mental or a combination of both. A physical impairment means a partial or total loss of a bodily function or part of the body. It includes sensory impairments such as being deaf, hearing impaired or visually impaired. Secondly, the impairment must also be long-term or recurring. Thirdly, the impairment must be substantially limiting.

In practice deafness may be only a physical characteristic or it can signify both a physical condition with a social/cultural perspective. Hearingimpairment can run the full scale from slight loss to profound. The main characteristic that separates a hearing impaired person/post-lingual deaf person from the pre-lingual deaf person, is whether they relate primarily to the “hearing world” or to the “deaf world”. Persons who relate with the deaf world belong to a community who uses a signed language and the person is considered Deaf. This group does not align itself with the words “impairment” and “disability”.

The freedom of choice and freedom of association with a particular group is promoted by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is protected by the SA Constitution.


UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Articles 1 & 2
The SA Constitution/Employment Equity Act/Code of Good practise and Technical Assistance Guidelines on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities – Chapters 5 & 6
The Americans Disability Act – Deafness and hearing impairment under the ADA
SARS – Tax and disability

Department Social Development – Disability Grants

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Dragon Naturally Speaking South Africa learning difficulties dyslexia

Dragon Naturally Speaking South Africa learning difficulties dyslexia 

  • Natural sounding text-to-speech reads back editable text for easy proofing or multitasking.
  • Smart Format Rules allow Dragon to adapt by detecting format corrections – abbreviations, numbers and more – so whatever is dictated is laid out the way it's needed every time.
  • An interactive tutorial provides simulations to enable users to learn and practice good dictation, correction and editing habits.
  • Use Dragon with two of the most popular web based email applications – Gmail™ and Hotmail® – with Full Text Control and commands for the most frequent actions.
  • Use an iPhone®, iPod® touch (4th gen), iPad® or compatible Android™ device as a remote microphone for greater freedom and flexibility.
  • System administrators can create a recognition log that provides rich, objective information about usage for guiding enterprise users in achieving better results. The log also provides valuable metrics for measuring productivity gains (Available in Dragon Professional).
  • Dragon 12 Training Reference Videos. This video series will provide basic training to help users learn to use Dragon efficiently. (Available in Dragon Professional).

Features Of Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Ignite Personal Productivity With Fast, Accurate Dictation
Dictate naturally to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, email and more – three times faster than typing – with up to 99% accuracy. The more Dragon is used, the better it recognises a users voice.
Intelligent reminders prompt users to initiate analysis of documents and emails so Dragon quickly adapts to a users voice and writing style. Plus, the software automatically updates the voice profile based on a users dictation sessions and corrections to deliver continuous accuracy improvements.
Ignite Proficiency And Ease Of Use
Dragon makes it easier than ever before to dictate accurate text and make corrections.
The Dragon Sidebar puts important voice commands and tips in one convenient desktop location. And on-screen help means assistance is always available when needed.

Ignite A Voice Driven Experience In More Applications
Use Dragon with many of the Windows® applications used every day on the job. Dictate, edit and format text in Microsoft® Word, Excel®, PowerPoint®, Outlook®, OpenOffice™ Writer, Corel® WordPerfect® and more. Search the Web using Internet Explorer®, Mozilla® Firefox® or Google Chrome™.

Ignite Convenient PC Command And Control
Use simple voice commands to create files, send email, schedule meetings, open and close applications or folders, switch between windows, save and convert documents and search the Web with remarkable speed and ease. Dragon Voice Shortcuts™ enables multiple keystrokes and mouse clicks to be executed with a single voice command that can be spoken at any time, helping to get more done in less time.

Ignite Efficiency With Time Saving Macros
Create special macros that collapse multi-step processes into a single voice command so forms can be filled in, frequently used text and graphics can be inserted and business processes can be automated for unparalleled speed and efficiency. Develop powerful macros to:
Automate any user specific functions to streamline routine tasks
Control various applications elements such as menus and toolbars
Manage custom user forms or dialog boxes.

Ignite Mobility And Flexibility
Dictate content at work, at home or in the field. Record ideas and notes while they are still fresh to produce higher quality, more detailed documents. For optimal convenience:
Use a Nuance approved digital voice recorder or a compatible iOS device to record ideas and notes on the go; Dragon automatically transcribes the audio files to text at the PC.

Ignite User Accessibility And Corporate Compliance
Dragon enables users to meet government mandated accessibility requirements for workers with disabilities. It also helps prevent fatigue and repetitive strain injuries and keeps more employees on the job by offering a comfortable, ergonomic alternative to the keyboard and mouse.

Ignite Ease Of Enterprise Administration
Dragon security features and administration tools make it the ideal enterprise speech recognition solution. Centrally manage voice profiles, custom vocabularies, feature access and multiple installations over a network.

E-Scope, Electronics Stethoscope for hearing loss South Africa

E-Scope, Electronics Stethoscope for hearing loss

The E-Scope Hearing Impaired Model is an electronic stethoscope which amplifies 30 times louder than an acoustic scope. This model E-Scope is supplied without headphones allowing the user to choose the appropriate listening device to meet their specific needs.

The E-Scope, Electronics Stethoscope – Hearing Impaired Model can amplify sounds up to 30 times louder than an acoustic scope.
This E-Scope can be used with multiple-style headphones. A 3.5mm (1/8”) mono-sound output jack on the top of the stethoscope connects the headphones to the E-Scope (pictured).
Cardionics headphones allow the user to leave their hearing aid(s) in place while listening. The headphones go over the top of their ear canals or ear molds thus not interfering with the hearing aid(s). This E-Scope is successfully being used with In-the-Ear (ITE), CIC, and Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aids with these headphones.*
The E-Scope has a control filter switch which allows the user to concentrate on heart or breath sound frequencies within a specific range. The control buttons are conveniently located on the head of the stethoscope. Volume is also controlled on the head of the stethoscope. The E-Scope is designed to remain at the same volume setting each time you power on and has 64 possible volume positions with the maximum output of 125 dB, undistorted.
* BTE hearing aids will need to be adjusted by an audiologist for optimal use – increasing the gain of low frequency improves heart sounds. They will need to disable automatic noise reduction.

  • Battery operated- Powered by a single “AAA” battery which will last about 4-6 months with regular use.The E-Scope has an automatic timer which will power off to conserve the battery.
  • Customer Service– Backed by world-class customer service, our E-Scope team will answer your technical questions and provide service when needed.
  • USB-style side output jack- Used for accessories including headphones for a second listener or connecting cables to a pc for recording purposes in medical records and Telemedicine.
  • Specialist Adult Diaphragm- Stainless-steel diaphragm produces 50% greater sound sensitivity, a more comfortable feel, and allows listener to use the split-finger technique. (supplied with E-Scope)
  • Accessory pack included– A zippered carry case is included which contains a pediatric diaphragm, plastic adult diaphragm, pediatric and infant bells, and your choice of ear tips

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Smartpen 3 Livescribe Pen South Africa

Smartpen 3 Livescribe Pen South Africa

More info:

Livescribe 3 Smartpen

Designed to work and write like a premium ballpoint pen, the Livescribe 3 smartpen provides a balanced, smooth writing experience. Once you pair your smartpen with your tablet or smartphone you’ll really experience the magic it delivers.

Livescribe Dot Paper

The Livescribe 3 smartpen works with Livescribe dot paper to capture everything you write and draw. Livescribe paper is available at competitive prices in a wide variety of sizes and styles so you can choose the one that's best for you.

Livescribe+ Mobile App

Your Livescribe 3 pairs with Livescribe+ to instantly sync everything you write on paper directly onto your iPhone or iPad. Your notes become more useful when they are organized, tagged, searchable and converted to text

More info:

Echo SmartpenLivescribe Pen South Africa

Echo Smartpen

More InFo:

Livescribe Pen South Africa

simply tap the pen on any of your written notes to replay the audio at that exact moment in time

200 hrs recorded audio + thousands of captured written pages

where you can now search your own handwriting for keywords

in a variety of common formats, in an instant