Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Voice Dictation Software and Headsets for those with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity

Because I have Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), I can only use a computer keyboard for a couple of hours per day. The more I type, the more pain I experience. My inability to type on the computer interferes with my ability to work from home, correspond via email, pay bills, and perform other tasks on the computer. I recently discovered that by using voice dictation software, I can significantly increase how much I can do on the computer.

I purchased Dragon NaturallySpeaking dictation software. (see below) This is a great program, but I discovered that having a good quality microphone is essential for accurate dictation. Therefore, I purchased the following headset: Andrea Electronics C1-1022600-50 model NC-185 VM USB High Fidelity Stereo USB Computer Headset with Noise Canceling Microphone and Volume/Mute Controls. I am amazed at how accurate the dictation is with the combination of the Dragon software and the Andrea headset. After researching online, I noticed that many other people had the same experience: a good quality headset or microphone is essential for accurate dictation.

I purchased the "Standard" version of Dragon years ago, and it does not allow me to do voice recognition on an mp3. Performing voice recognition on an mp3 may be a good feature for a person with EHS because, if you have an accurate voice recorder and a good microphone, you could do dictation without the computer on, and perform the voice recognition later. If you need that feature, make sure you purchase the proper version of Dragon.

I also have chemical sensitivity and did not have problems with the Andrea having chemicals on it that make me ill. It is a gamble for me to purchase electronic equipment because it sometimes has solvents or other chemicals on it that make me sick. Because I am chemically sensitive, I do not actually put the headset on my head. I just put the headset up high on a table so I can speak into the microphone.

I purchased a USB headset because I wanted to bypass my computer’s soundcard. If the soundcard on the computer is not very good, that can interfere with the quality of the dictation. After reading websites that reviewed headsets and microphones, I felt like I needed to buy a very expensive headset to achieve accurate dictation. However, I am very pleased with the accuracy I can get with the Andrea headset and I’m glad I did not spend a lot more for a more expensive headset. If price was not a factor, I might have purchased one of the following microphones:

Sennheiser ME 3: The reviews on this headset are very good. Also, because it is only a microphone and does not have speakers, that may decrease the amount of electromagnetic radiation. Also, a person with EHS will want to avoid purchasing a wireless headset and I believe there is a similar model that is a wireless headset so I wanted to flag that issue.

Speechware TableMikes: This product may also be a good option for a person with EHS because you do not need to put your mouth close to the microphone. The website states: "The TableMikes feature an industry first 'Speech Equaliser (EQ)' and 'Automatic Gain Control (AGC)' or Amplifier which allows for an unprecedented long-range and variable dictation distance (up to 50 cm or 20") with very high accuracy . . . ."

My system for voice dictation

I first write out what I will say. Then, I turn on the computer and do the dictation. This system minimizes the amount of time that I am close to the computer and the headset. Dragon allows me to dictate directly into a word processor and I use Microsoft Word. I position the headset about as far away from the computer as it will reach. I am considering purchasing a USB extension cord to increase the distance but I am not sure whether it will work with my headset. Also, if it will work, I may need a powered USB cable, especially if it is a long USB extension cord. I also increase the font size so I can read it from where I am dictating. I am impressed with how quickly I can produce a significant amount of content--for me, dictating seems to be almost as fast as typing!

Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. wow this is the nice headsets . i am using this and it gives me a efficient output.