Are there screen readers that can read math equations?

Date Updated

Yes. Screen readers are computer applications that read aloud text, menus, and dialogues that appear on a computer screen. They are commonly used by students who are blind. A related application the text reader is commonly used by students with learning disabilities and other non-visual print disabilities. However, they do not provide the same level of access to items like menus and dialogues that screen readers do.

In order for screen readers to correctly read math information, that information must be composed in MathML. Otherwise, graphics of math equations will not be accessible to screen readers or text readers. 

A number of commonly used screen readers can utilize MathML content when used with the MathPlayer plug-in. For example, the screen readers JAWS, Dolphin ScreenReader, and ReachDeck Toolbar all support MathML.

For additional information about accessible math consult the Knowledge Base articles Why is accessible math important?, What are some techniques for creating Braille math materials? and What is MathML?

A demonstration of how web content sounds to someone using screen reader software and characteristics of accessible web pages are shared in the video Using a Screen Reader.