Reading the newspaper is one of the first things seniors give up when struggling with vision loss. The type is just too small.
The National Federation of the Blind offers a solution with NFB-Newsline, a service where you can listen to the news from more than 400 newspapers and magazines. It’s available on demand 24/7 by telephone, online, or with a smartphone app. And it’s free to anyone who is legally blind.
NFB-Newsline includes 12 national newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today; 20 breaking news sources such as CNN, BBC and ESPN Online; 17 international newspapers including Financial Times and Vancouver Sun; local newspapers from major metropolitan areas; and more than 60 magazines like Family Circle, Time, and Smithsonian.
NFB sent me a demo password so I could try it out. It’s easy to use: you dial their toll free number, then follow the menu-driven instructions. I experimented with different newspapers and magazines. The service doesn’t attempt to provide every article or the complete text of the articles it does include. It would simply be too much. Instead, it provides the first few paragraphs of selected articles.
NFB-Newsline articles are converted to audio format using “text to speech” technology. You can set the voice to either male or female and you can adjust the speed. To my ear, the female voice sounds more natural.
If you or a loved one are legally blind, I encourage you to call NFB at 1-866-504-7300 for more information about NFB-Newsline. Or you can learn how to sign up on the NFB website.
Ethel in Idaho is a fan. “It’s a wonderful service. I am delighted to be back in touch with the world,” she says.