14 tech tools that enhance computing for the disabled

Getting work done on a computer is easily within reach of the blind and physically disabled with the help of these new and updated tools

A small hearing boost: soundAMP app

soundAMP app
Computer use isn't an enormous challenge for the hearing impaired, but it can still be difficult to work in an office when you can't make out what co-workers are saying. If you can't quite hear everything that's being said around you but aren't ready to wear a hearing aid, your iPhone or iPod Touch can help with an app called soundAMP from Ginger Labs.

With sophisticated audio-processing software, soundAMP can amplify words while filtering out background noise, helping make audio more comprehensive in meetings, noisy cubicles or elsewhere. A sound-level meter lets you adjust the volume or tone at any time to suit the environment. You can even mute the sound if your boss is getting boring.

If you didn't catch what was just said, soundAMP can play back the last five seconds of material from its memory. The app can be downloaded from Apple's App Store for $10.

Brian Nadel is a frequent contributor to Computerworld and the former editor in chief of Mobile Computing & Communications magazine.

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