(Pocket-lint) - Amazon is making the Echo Show more accessible to hearing- and speech-impaired users.

Amazon Echo offers voice control for users and their homes, but if you can't hear what Alexa has to say or clearly respond to it, then the device is somewhat useless. Now, however, Amazon has a solution: Tap to Alexa. It's a new feature that lets owners of the Echo Show tap on the device's touchscreen to access shortcuts to popular Alexa features, like the weather, news headlines, timers, and more.

Here's how it works.

What is Amazon Echo Show?

The $179 Amazon Echo Show is Amazon's year-old Echo speaker with a touchscreen. You can learn more about it from Pocket-lint's guides:

How does Tap to Alexa work?

Amazon is making it easier for those with hearing and speech impairments to use Alexa. Starting 23 July, the Echo Show will have an option to toggle on a new feature, called Tap to Alexa, which will let users tap the device's screen to access the digital assistant. The feature includes shortcuts to common Alexa features. Users can also type out Alexa commands, if necessary.

Amazon told CNET you'll even be able to add shortcut buttons to trigger Alexa Routines. These are custom Alexa commands that trigger multiple actions at once. For instance, saying "Alexa, it's time for bed," could lock your smart locks, close your smart blinds, and turn off your home's smart lights all simultaneously. With Tap to Alexa, you'll can trigger that Routine by tapping a button.

Users can rearrange their shortcuts and swap them out, too. Alongside the Tap to Alexa feature, Amazon is rolling out its Alexa captioning feature - which launched in the US a few months ago - to users in the UK, Germany, Japan, India, France, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.


How to turn on Tap to Alexa

To activate Tap to Alexa, go to the Echo Show's device settings, then select the accessibility settings, and turn on the feature. You can then select the presents you want to see, enter custom commands, and set up shortcuts for Routines. Alexa Captioning can also be turned on here.

Note: To access the Echo screen settings, you can say, "Go to settings," or swipe down from the top of the screen and select Settings.

When will Tap to Alexa be available?

It's available now for Echo Show users. Amazon said it will bring it to the Echo Spot, too, though there's no timeline set just yet.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.