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For Seniors: How to Replace Sounds on Your Computer with Visual Cues

Sometimes Windows alerts you to events with sounds. If you have hearing challenges, you may prefer that your computer give you visual cues instead of sound cues. Visual cues are useful if you are hard of hearing and don’t always pick up system sounds alerting you to error messages or a device disconnect.

If you’re hard of hearing, you may want to simply increase the volume for your speakers. You can do this by using the volume adjustment in a program such as Windows Media Player or by modifying your system volume by choosing Hardware and Sound in the Control Panel and then clicking the Adjust System Volume link.

To replace sound cues with visual cues:

  1. Choose Start→Control Panel→Ease of Access and then click the Replace Sounds with Visual Cues link.

    The Use Text or Visual Alternatives for Sounds dialog box appears.

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  2. Turn on Visual Notifications for Sounds (Sound Sentry).

    Windows gives a visual alert when a sound plays.

  3. Choose a setting for visual warnings.

    These warnings essentially flash a portion of your screen to alert you to an event.

  4. To control text captions for any spoken words, select Turn on Text Captions for Spoken Dialog.

    This setting isn’t always available with every application you use.

  5. To save the new settings, click OK, and then click the Close button to close the dialog box.

    After the setting is turned on, it is active until you go back to the Use Text or Visual Alternatives for Sounds dialog box and turn it off.

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