People who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can configure Windows to use visual cues in place of sounds, or increase the volume level of program and system sounds. This article discusses the accessibility tools that are available for deaf or hard-of-hearing users, and also describes how to use standard Windows XP features to assist these users.
The accessibility tools that are included with Windows are intended to provide a minimum level of functionality for users with disabilities. Most users with disabilities need utility programs with more advanced functionality for daily use. For information about accessibility products and aids for Windows operating systems, refer to the following Microsoft Web site, and then search for the word, "accessibility":
The Accessibilities program in Control Panel offers two features for deaf or hard-of-hearing users: SoundSentry, and ShowSounds.
To open the Control Panel program:
Click Control Panel.
Click Accessibility Options.
Click the Sound tab.
SoundSentry is designed for people who have difficulty hearing system sounds that are generated by the computer. With SoundSentry, you can change settings to generate visual warnings, such as a blinking title bar or a flashing border, whenever the computer generates a sound. To turn on SoundSentry, select the Use SoundSentry check box, and then select the visual warning you prefer from the drop-down list.
ShowSounds instructs programs that convey information by sound to also provide information visually, such as through text captions or informative icons. To turn on ShowSounds, select the Use ShowSounds check box.
You can configure the standard Windows XP sounds features to assist deaf or hard-of-hearing users. These features are available in the Sounds and Audio Devices program in Control Panel.
To open Sounds and Audio Devices:
Click Control Panel.
Click Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices.
Click Sounds and Audio Devices.
To give users a quick way to control the volume of sounds, display the volume control icon in the notification area. To do so, on the Volume tab, under Device volume, select the Place volume icon in the taskbar notification area check box.
To make sure that users get the full effect of system sounds, create a sound scheme that uses sounds in the appropriate frequency. To do so, on the Sounds tab, in the Program events list, assign a sound for each event. Under Sound scheme, click Save As. In the Save Scheme As dialog box, type a name for the new sound scheme. The new scheme can be selected from the Sound scheme box.