Information Based on Your Abilities

Find information on wireless accessibility based on major categories of disability.

Consumer Guide to Wireless Accessibility Features

Individuals with disabilities are benefiting from the wireless industry's collective commitment to key accessibility issues and an era of intense innovation and competition which are lowering prior barriers to an individual with disabilities' adoption of wireless - such as cost and accessibility. Wireless manufacturers are continuously introducing new wireless devices with built-in accessibility features or compatibility with Assistive Technology ("AT") and applications to replace expensive, immobile assistive communication devices at significantly less cost. 

Today, the selection of a wireless device is a highly personalized choice based on a range of unique and personal factors including accessibility features of the device, abilities and product awareness of the consumer and resources. In fact, there are so many different types of wireless products and services available today that individuals with disabilities are searching for device with accessible features to meet their needs.

CTIA has created a guide that lists some of the built-in accessible features that a person with a particular disability might find useful in a wireless device. The AccessWireless.Org Consumer Guide is organized according to the Americans with Disabilities Act five areas of functional limitations:

  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing
    Individuals who are deaf, have a hearing loss or wear hearing aids may find built-in text based features such as e-mail, text messaging and instant messaging (IM) most helpful. Wireless devices are also available with audio, visual and vibrating features and rated for Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC).
  • Blind or Visually Impaired
    Blind or visually impaired individuals may find built-in voice control or output and audio or vibrating features most helpful. Wireless carriers also make product and billing information available in alternate formats upon request.
  • Mobility/Manipulation Limitation
    Individuals with mobility limitations may find built-in voice control, hands-free, one-touch or automatic response features most helpful. Wireless devices are also available with non-slip tactile keys and controls and intelligent keyboards for accurate text-based communications.
  • Speech Impairment
    Speech impaired individuals may find built-in text based features such as e-mail, text messaging and instant messaging (IM) and voice output most helpful.
  • Cognitive Disability
    Individuals with cognitive impairments may find customizable or standard display features most helpful.

Choosing a wireless device is a highly personal choice and getting the right combination is the key to ensuring that you experience the benefits of wireless technology. Having done some research prior to shopping for a new phone or service will help you know what features and functions are available and then you can determine which ones are the most important to you. The most important thing to remember when buying a wireless device is to "Try, Before You Buy."

Also remember that if a wireless device does not offer a specific built-in accessibility feature, ask a wireless industry representative if a wireless device can be customized by adding or downloading applications (or "apps") which may help improve accessibility.