Help! I need a speech-to-text converter for an answerphone

The landline’s answerphone is flashing. I cannot retrieve the message because I cannot hear the words. Ah, well…will have to ask my son to come round and listen for me, or go and ask a neighbour to help. Just an everyanswerphone flashingday problem for deafened folk like me.

But surely there must be a technological way round this? If an answerphone message can be accessed remotely on a linked phone line, e.g. a mobile, then surely the words spoken could be converted into text and displayed on the screen of that mobile. That would solve the problem. Or is this but a dream?

So here is a challenge for web developers out there: to invent an app that could be downloaded on to a mobile phone and linked with the user’s landline. This dream app would be able to convert speech – any speech – to text. I could then read the words on the screen of my mobile. Job done.

But this dream speech-to-text converter could be useful to the wider community as well. If you are in a busy environment, it would be better to read the words of a voice message on screen rather than try to listen.

I suspect developers will say that the stumbling block is that speech-to-text converting software has to be trained to understand the voice of the user. But, of course, a message could be left by anyone, and all voices are different.

But surely there is a way round this problem?  I post in hope.



Walk by the wall

People  exist only if I can see them – I can see who’s in front of me but not anyone who’s

Kid Riding A Three Wheel Scooter Clipart

Kiddie on a mini-scooter, courtesy of Classroom ClipArt.

behind me. That’s a big problem when I am walking along the pavement, particularly if it is at ‘school IN’ or ‘school OUT’ time. That’s when there are so many young children, often on little mini-scooters racing ahead of mum who’s pushing a buggy. No one is to know that the person in front of them cannot hear: cannot hear their shouts and chatter, the whirring wheels, mum calling out. For me, they just do not exist, because I cannot see them.

It’s up to me to make life less hazardous for myself and for them too. How? I walk along the pavement on the side by the wall (or the fence, or the building, or whatever), not in the middle and not next to the road. When I’m on the wall side, people can walk or scoot past safely. And I know I can  be overtaken on only one side. That’s very important, because it lessens the risk.

Always remember that if you have a problem with your hearing (or with your vision) the most dangerous place to walk is in the middle of the pavement: nobody can get past and you are liable to be overtaken on either side. So walk on the wall side. Simple, really.