Talking Tech update: Splitting JAWS into left or right headphones

07 October 2021

There’s a nifty solution to the audio overload that comes with using a screen reader and Zoom at the same time.

Popular screen reader JAWS has enhanced their software to allow users a way to isolate the audio in one ear and isolate the JAWS output in the other.

This works with video conferencing software Zoom and Microsoft Teams.   

Blind tech guru and Talking Tech host David Woodbridge has trialled the new feature and says the option works seamlessly in the new JAWS 2022 Public Beta 2 upgrade.

“It’s absolutely brilliant because your brain can focus on your screen reader JAWS in your left ear and the Zoom meeting in your right ear,” he told Vision Australia Radio’s Talking Tech.

It’s as easy as toggling between the arrow keys.

Directions to cycle through/isolate Zoom and JAWS sounds:

  1. Press Insert (or JAWS KEY) + SPACE + V
  2. Press V for volume and B for balance
  3. Press LEFT ARROW to put JAWS in left ear or, RIGHT ARROW to put JAWS in right ear
  4. Zoom will then jump to the opposite speaker/headphone.
  5. To put them both back together, press the UP ARROW

Listen to the directions from 9:39:

Also in the episode, David introduces the new hand gestures you can do to control the Apple Watch without touching the screen or bezel.

The gestures include:

  • Pinch (Tap your pointer finger to your thumb): Move to the next item
  • Double pinch (tap as above twice quickly): Move back one item
  • Clench (Close your hand into a fist): Tap/select an item
  • Double clench (close into fist quickly twice): Bring up the action menu

David has found this has been particularly useful on his daily walks to toggle between his pedometer and other apps. But be wary, David admits, the hand gestures can look a little weird to public. 

Hear more tech tips from a blind and low vision perspective every week on Talking Tech, Tuesday 4.30pm AEST or catch up with the podcast via Spotify, Omny, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts.