Georgia Tech Research Institute
 

1194.25(e)

When products provide auditory output, the audio signal shall be provided at a standard signal level through an industry standard connector that will allow for private listening. The product must provide the ability to interrupt, pause, and restart the audio at anytime.

Why is this standard important to people with disabilities?

This standard applies to all users, but primarily to users with hearing impairments who may use personal headsets, amplifiers, audio couplers, and other audio processing devices that need to be plugged into the product in a standard manner, so that the user can privately listen to information. Such devices need to be able to access the correct signal for the device, and a standard interface allows a consistent way of allowing this. This standard was written mainly for devices such as kiosks and other devices in public locations in mind, as public places are where a user would most desire private listening.

The population primarily addressed by this guideline includes users who are hard of hearing. When a voice recognition system is involved, it can also apply to users with the following impairments: upper mobility impairments (strength limitations, tremors, limited reach), lower mobility impairments, cognitive impairments, speech impairments, hard of hearing, low vision (color blindness, blurred vision, obscured vision), and blindness.

(Source: Access Board's "Guide to the Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology: Self Contained, Closed Products")

Determining if this standard applies to a product

This standard applies to all self contained, closed products that use audio as a way to communicate information. Specifically, this applies to products that use voice output (not tones or other audio) to communicate information.

How this standard can be met

Provide a headphone jack that will work with any standard set of headphones, thus fulfilling the first part of this standard. Provide user controls to interrupt, pause, and restart the audio (voice output). (Source: Access Board's "Guide to the Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology: Self Contained, Closed Products")

Assessing whether this standard has been met

In order to determine if an industry standard connector is provided for private listening and that the product provides the ability to interrupt, pause, and restart the audio, perform the following steps:

  1. Thoroughly review the product documentation (user manuals, online help), and determine whether the product provides voice auditory output.
  2. If voice output is provided, determine whether private listening is available. This can be determined by identifying whether a headset is available or whether a plug is available on the device for use of a headset. The plug should not be proprietary; industry standard audio connectors are assumed to be a 2.5mm or 3.5mm jack.
  3. Inspect the product and check for controls for audio interrupt, pause, and restart functionality.
(Source: Accessibility Forum's "Quick Reference Guide to Section 508 Resource Documents")

If voice output is not provided, this item will be rated as not applicable. If voice output is provided, the device is considered to PASS if the output can be heard privately and if the output can be controlled by the user. If either of these conditions is not met, the device is considered to FAIL the standard.

Common misconceptions about this standard

When evaluating this standard, assume that the controls for interrupt, pause, and restart functionality meet the requirements of other relevant parts of 1194 (i.e., 1194.25(c)). (Source: Accessibility Forum's "Quick Reference Guide to Section 508 Resource Documents")

Below is a common misconception regarding 1194.25(e), and clarification on this misconception.

Misconception: If my product has audible tones (e.g. beeps and tones), but does not have voice output it is still required that the product have a headset connection point and interrupt, pause, and restart functionality.

Clarification: No, this standard only applies to products that have voice output. (Source: Accessibility Forum's "Quick Reference Guide to Section 508 Resource Documents")

Similar or related standards or guidelines

This standard is similar to part 1193.43(g) of Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act.

Additional information

A few other things to note about this standard are as follows:

  • Although industry standard connection points are 2.5 mm or 3.5 mm jacks, the 3.5 mm jack is the connection point most often used by users with visual impairments. Thus, including this size jack may be preferable to including a smaller size connection point.
  • It should be noted that satisfying standard 1194.25(e) supports interoperability with assistive technology. Including a connection point for private listening allows for the use of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and assistive learning devices.
  • From the Accessibility Forum's Quick Reference Guide to Section 508: "Industry standard signal levels for digital wireless phones are specified in Electronics Industries Association (EIA) TSB-121".

(Source: Accessibility Forum's "Quick Reference Guide to Section 508 Resource Documents")

Additional references

For more information, see the following references: