Sonification Summary Page

Sonification is the use of non-speech audio to convey information or perceptualize data. In a nutshell, sounds have meaning. For decades, sonification has been an advanced tool for students who are blind or low vision, particularly for math; tools such as talking graphing calculators use sonification to provide information about graphs. Sonification is being used by professionals in STEM fields to access and interpret data, such as astronomers studying exoplanets. In recent years, new sonification tools have been and continue to be created; and, sonification is being applied to a variety of tasks. Sonfication is being used by everyone: from preschoolers to seasoned professionals - people with and without vision.

Benefits of Sonification for Users Who are Blind or Low Vision

  • Independence: Sonification enables users who are blind or low vision to access information
  • Speed: Using sonification is a faster process than exploring a tactile graph
  • Sonification can be applied to make digital materials accessible (and easily sharable)
  • Sonification is used to get a quick overview (such as a trend of a chart) before diving into the content; enables the user to 'scan' information quickly 
  • Sonification allows for free exploration, not bound by visual representations and frameworks

*From the World Sonification Chat group (WSC)

Advancements in technology are driving new applications for sonification, which in turn, is making sonification an important technology skill for students who are blind or visually impaired. How can sonification be applied to tasks for students who are blind or low vision?

  • Ability to follow a sonified line on a touch screen device
  • Access graph and chart information 
  • Access map information
  • Access science data
  • Access space data

Recently, there has been an organized interest in introducing sonification to young BLV students in age-appropriate activities, through simple apps. Just like other tech skills are introduced early, sonification should be introduced early and progressively grow as the student moves from elementary, middle and high school courses. 

This Sonification Summary Page contains a list of and links to Paths to Technology posts about sonification. The Sonification Summary Page will be updated as more posts are published.

General Sonification Posts

  • Sonification: Sounds with Meaning Activity Examples of sonified line charts and what they mean. (Using SAS Graphics Accelerator software)
  • Sonification The Diagram Center, a leading research and development center dedicated to making images accessible, published an article about sonification: what it is, why it is beneficial and how it can be used in the classroom.
  • Discovering Sonification Information and video which introduces sonfication, Sonification World Chat group, and Ballyland Sonoplanet. Ballyland Sonoplanet is an app currently under development geared for young BLV students which introduces sonification technology skills/concepts using engaging science content.

Math-Related Sonification Posts

Space-Related Sonification Posts

Coding-Related Sonification Posts

O&M-Releated Sonification Posts

  • Map Explore: New O&M Game! O&Ms can create accessible digital maps in this app using Google Maps. The maps automatically generate streets which are sonified, allowing students to trace the streets on an iPad or Android tablet. The streets are announced along with the customized tags.

Proof-of-Concept Apps (not yet publicly released)

Specific Tablets with Sonification