Need to learn about California state history, capture audio of a lecture on music in the 60s, or have an interest in the wine industry? Being visually impaired does not have to limit the opportunities to learn – especially from books. In fact, books can be enjoyed in a whole new way with auditory ‘audio’ books and playback devices which make ‘reading’ possible.

Invaluable for learners who may have difficulty reading conventional educational materials, audio book titles are plentiful and work great for literacy. In fact, most people learn better from a multi-media approach. For those with low vision, or blindness, audio books coupled with traditional print books, or braille books, create an effective audio-supported learning environment.

The first step is selecting audio books with the unique needs of the learner in mind. This includes determining the type of ‘reader’ technology or software that best supports each individual’s needs.

Here’s how to find the way to lifelong learning with audio books:

  • Explore the various audio books options available and determine what best fits your need;
  • Understand the assistive features available with technology devices – whether using an iPhone or Android, PC, iPad or tablet, and get training on how to use;
  • Learn about mobile device apps capable of playing thousands of books and magazine titles in a digital book format;
  • Also learn about Telephone Reader Programs (TRP) – which allow listening to daily recordings of national and local news, grocery and department store ads, magazine articles and more.

The use of audio books for visually impaired people is very similar to using the neighborhood library. These services typically include one-on-one instruction for independent usage.

Educators can also provide suggested resources to find audio books for those who are visually impaired. Some non-profit organizations specializing in services for the blind and visually impaired have their own library of audio books along with an online public access catalog – with an account set-up, there is easy access to audio books at any time. | 1-800-BRAILLE (272-4553)