I was asked to test out a new iOs App for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people called MyEar. It's a speech-to-text App to help in communication.
MyEar came about when a CODA (Child of Deaf Adult) saw how much his Deaf father was struggling to lipread day in and out. He decided to create an App to help his dad.
I think this is a great App! Even if you're a skilled lipreader - you'll still only catch about 30% of the conversation. Not fair is it? MyEar will help transcribe what's being said - it's not perfect - and they state that clearly - but I've found it to be much, much better than other Apps available out there.
This will help in various situations:
Here's a video demonstration on how it works:
Pretty simple right! No advertising,, no asking people to download the same app, no popups, no more buying "minutes"!
One drawback I found with it - you need an internet connection for it to work, so sometimes it won't work on my iPad. But, very few places don't have public WiFi these days.
So, check out their Facebook Page or download it yourself with this link:
Everyone enjoys a good homemade meal, but before you can dig in, you have to prepare it first. Cooking can be a hard task, especially if you have vision or hearing loss. However, if you only make a few adjustments to your kitchen and get a few aids, you’ll be preparing delicious meals in no time.
Here’s what you can do to create a functional kitchen for people with vision and hearing loss.
If you want to make cooking and navigating your kitchen even easier, you might consider removing all sharp edges and opt for rounded tables and countertops. These will cause less painful bumps and fewer spills caused by bumping into something.
Also, pay attention to how you orient your pot and pan handles on the stove, since knocking them can cause severe burns. Additionally, make sure you don’t have any wires and cables over the floor because they can be serious trip hazards.
Smooth and shiny surfaces for countertops, flooring and appliances easily reflect light and create glare. Additionally, glass cabinet doors and clear glasses can also cause glare, but more importantly, they are completely invisible which makes them a hazard unless you mark them clearly.
Adjust the lighting
When you have vision loss, every space needs ample and appropriate lighting, especially a kitchen with all those knives and appliances. Increased illumination makes it easier for people with low vision to navigate their kitchen and prepare food.
On the other hand, poor lighting increases the risk of falls, bumps and even more serious accidents. So, your best bet is to invest in good lighting for your kitchen. Fluorescent strip lights with diffusers offer great distribution of light while spotlights direct ample light in all directions.
Also, bringing light closer to the task at hand is a great way to improve visibility. For instance, installing strip lighting under the kitchen cabinets will provide good lighting in the countertop area. You can also install some lighting in your cupboards and on the shelves for easier food identification. If you combine these lighting fixtures with some standard lamps and hanging pendants, you’ll get a well-illuminated space ready for meal prep.
Another way to make food preparation easier for people with vision loss is to create contrasts. Painting doors, cabinets and walls in contrasting colors with respect to the rest of the room will make them stand out more and make the space easier to navigate.
You can opt for neutral colors and go with dark colors against bright colors (black and white contrast, for instance) but combining darker and lighter shades of the same color can also work, it all depends on your vision level and your personal preference. You can also invest in appliances that have contrasting surfaces such as colorful Viking refrigerators that come in icy white, black, gray, red, blue and beige. Additionally, get contrasting cooking utensils, such as chopping boards, bowls and knives, which will also make it much easier to locate and handle them.
When choosing appliances, make sure they have some sort of contrast on controls to make setting the dials and pressing the buttons simpler. You can also use tactile markers, such as bump-ons or Velcro dots, and apply them to the controls.
Adapting the kitchen for hearing loss
People with limited or no hearing can also benefit from some easy kitchen adaptations. The main issue in the kitchen is the fire alarm. However, there are gadgets that will send visual signals instead of audio ones if there is a fire situation in the kitchen.
People who are deafblind can find vibrating pagers that will alert them of any kitchen happenings, from fire alarms to oven timers. All of these easy fixes will make cooking a much easier, safer and less stressful experience for people with hearing loss.
Don’t be afraid to venture into cooking waters. These kitchen safety tips will keep you safe, so all you need is some inspiration and a good appetite.
.I’ve recently been asked by Sonic Alert to review two of their products.
I was given the Sonic Boom Travel Alarm clock and their NEW Bluetooth Sonic Boom Super Shaker Alarm.
Sonic Alert is a company that specializes in alerting systems for people with hearing loss and for those who are hard to wake up. They sell alarm clocks that have extra-loud ringers and "bed shakers" which are small pods that vibrate for you to feel. They also sell amplified telephones and home alerting systems (visual alerts to important sounds).
Now the products:
The Sonic Boom Travel Alarm Clock
The picture shows the clock portion upright, but it actually can fold flat.
I tried the alarm in several scenarios:
- Tucked under two pillows.
- Between the mattress and boxspring.
- Clipped to the fitted sheet in between the pillows (on a queen bed).
- Clipped to the fitted sheet, but dangling over the side (in case you knocked it off)
- Clipped to the end of the bed in the middle (by my feet).
It didn't work in only 2 scenarios - dangling off the bed and clipped to the sheet in the middle between the pillows. I figured out why - there was no resistance to the vibrations, meaning there was nothing on top to enhance the vibrating. If it bounced freely, the vibrations are lost - so using a blanket or pillow helps.
In all the other situations - Man did it ever work! You could be in a coma and still wake up on time. That's why the name "Sonic Boom" fits it perfectly.
It was very easy to set up, Just install the batteries, one look at the diagram bof where buttons are and I was done setting the time, the alarm & the vibrate alert. It also has a snooze button, night light and options such as vibrate only, buzzer only, and both vibrate and buzzer.
The only suggestion I have for improving this product is having a pocket in the storage case for the batteries, (as they advise removing the batteries while not in use).
Sonic Bomb Bluetooth Super Shaker Alarm
So whenever you receive a new phone call, text, a new e-mail on your smartphone - it sends an alert to the sonic boom.
The vibrations can be adjusted - short bursts, long vibrate, and so on. Sadly it cannot be set to different vibrations to different alerts. (short bursts for texts and long vibration for email). I don't really care for that option but thought some users might.
I really thought this would be AWESOME for Deafblind people like myself! Why? We often lack peripheral vision and miss seeing the visual alert flasher or the smartphone's own light. Sure, we could just have the phone vibrate in our pocket - but that gets uncomfortable when you're in a chair or on the couch watching TV, reading, or other activities. Stick the Sonic Bomb alert in your couch or chair cushion and you'll never miss anything else.
Another bonus I liked - the Sonic Boom alerter can either be plugged into a wall socket (with included plug adapter) or a USB port. The bonus is that the USB adapter has another USB port for you to plug in your smartphone or tablet into. So only one plug outlet is needed for the vibrating alert and to charge your phone How cool is that?
Both of these great products and Sonic Alert's other products, can be found on their website, on Amazon, and in my Store.
So never be late for anything while away from home, or miss any more notifications with Sonic Alert.
Whether it’s partial or complete deafblindness, when they’re home people with hearing and sight difficulties need to feel comfortable, safe and completely in charge of their surroundings.
Acquired deafblindness can be frustrating and scary. It forces people to rethink their habits, their needs, and their environment.
To help deafblind people gain their independence, we’ve hand-selected 7 ways to adapt your house in order to accommodate them.
1. Lighting Changes
Whether they live in a studio, apartment or house, one of the first and most important changes for a deafblind person’s environment should be lighting.
Changing the placement of light fixtures can also help better illuminate dark spaces:
• Choose the brightest light bulbs. These will come in handy in darker spaces where accidents tend to happen such as the bathroom or on the stairway. Invest in fluorescent bulbs – they emit a more powerful light and they last longer.
• Be generous with the light fixtures. Illuminate the house entirely, including the hallways, closets, and outside.
2. Interior Design Adjustments
The home of a deafblind person should be a safe haven. Here are some tips to help you create exactly that.
Electrical items can be tricky to get used to. But it’s not impossible for deafblind people to use them.
Here’s how you can make it go smoother for them.
4. Bathroom Adaptations
This type of adjustment is essential for safety.
Here’s how to adapt a bathroom for deafblind people:
5. Hallway Adaptations
Hallways shouldn’t be overlooked when you are working on adapting a home for a deafblind person.
Here’s what you should know about corridor adaptations:
6. Outdoor Adaptations
To make it easier to deafblind people to go out or access the garden, here’s what you should keep in mind about outdoor adaptations:
7. Security Adaptations
There are special alerting systems designed for people with hearing and sight difficulties that keep them informed about what is happing: phone ringing, smoke alarm going off or someone at the door.
About the Author:
John Stuart works on behalf of raisedfloor.co.ukin outreach and content creation. He creates engaging content that help businesses connect with their audience and stand out from the crowd
There are millions of people in the world who live with some degree of sight loss either from birth, or caused by an injury or old age. All of those people want both their indoor and outdoor spaces to be completely safe and secure so that they can be independent in them.
When it comes to outdoor spaces, visually impaired individuals need a space that’s free of clutter, well-lit and well-marked. Designing such a space doesn’t have to be difficult and expensive. It only needs some careful planning and a few useful tips that will allow their inhabitants to live and move more comfortably outside. Here’s how you can do it for your outdoor space.
Use Color as a Guide
Many legally blind people can see up to a certain point, and they can see bright colors and changes in lighting. These can help them as guides through their outdoor space.
The use of bright contrasting colors is especially helpful to partially-sighted people to differentiate between different areas and spaces. For instance, garden paths can be made out of red or orange pavers to provide a good contrast with green lawns.
You can also opt for outdoor furniture in different colors and textures to prevent bumping into it. If you have a green thumb, make sure all of your gardening tools are painted in bright colors that will make locating and identifying them much easier
Good organization and tidiness is the key safety element for people with complete blindness or visual impairments. If everything is nicely organized it’s easier to remember where everything is located.
You must always know where all your sharp gardening tools are, and you can even consider creating a database of your garden inventory. If you love to take care of your plants, you can create neat little labels for them in Braille or use vivid colors to make signs.
This way, each individual plant will get exactly the right care. Also, always know exactly where your fire extinguishers and telephones are when you’re outside.
In order to eliminate as many hazards as possible, make sure that your front yard and your garden are well maintained to avoid any inconvenience. Your outdoor paths should be wide and perfectly flat. As soon as you notice some bumps or broken pavers or bricks, have them removed and replaced. Additionally, try to keep your greenery well maintained, and avoid letting your plants overgrow and cause obstructions in the path or on the stairs. It’s way easier to move around without all these obstacles blocking your way.
Another thing you should consider is removing all cables and watering hoses from pathways. They can be hard to spot if you leave them on the ground, and you can easily trip or slip on them.
Lastly, you can secure the slippery surfaces with non-slip rubber matting and be sure that no matter the weather, the outdoor living space will be hazard-free.
Get Smart with Lighting
Visually impaired people greatly benefit from good lighting, so make sure to incorporate it in your outdoor spaces. If nothing else, at least illuminate your pathway and the entrance.
Also, pay extra attention to your stairs. Make sure to install LED lighted handrails and lights on each step. The best solution for your stairs are linear lights that are easy to install and offer great illumination.
Also, use better lighting near your outdoor furniture to make it easier to spot and avoid it.
The Importance of Handrails
Every set of stairs in your outdoor space should have sturdy handrails. You can even use linear lights and gently illuminate the handrail so you can spot it more easily.
Another great way to ensure outdoor safety is to put up rope handrails along your garden paths or use them to make barriers. Ropes look amazing in any garden, plus they can give you an additional sense of security.
If you implement these safety tips into your outdoor space, you or your visually impaired family members can enjoy it without any worries.
About the Author
Catherine is a passionate home design consultant from Melbourne. She loves making homes beautiful and buildings sustainable, but she also like sharing her advice and knowledge with people. That is why she is also a regular contributor to the Smoothdecorator blog. Besides all this, she loves reading and enjoys a superhero movie from time to time.
The OrCam device is a smart camera that sits on the user’s glasses and reads text aloud to people who are visually impaired or blind.
While the OrCam device is not exactly “glasses for blind person”, it definitely looks that way. The device is so small and discreet, it is barely noticeable. Besides its compact size, there are many amazing OrCam features that make the device unique and accessible.
Easy to Use
OrCam MyEye is an intuitive wearable device with a smart camera that clips onto a regular pair of glasses and is able to 'read' text and convert it into speech relaying the message to the user. The device is activated by a simple intuitive gesture – pointing your finger or pressing a single button. Using OCR - optical character reading - technology, the device can read printed materials on almost any surface such as newspapers, books, computer screens, menus and more.
Many people who are visually impaired or blind have to carry around a heavy magnifying glass to read text. The OrCam MyEye is small and light and simply attaches to the right side of the user’s glasses frame. The camera weighs ¾ of an ounce and has a thin wire, easily hidden behind the ear, which connects to the base unit or “brain” of the device. The base unit is about the size of a cellphone and can easily sit in one’s pocket or on a belt strap.
“You are what you wear.” Wearable technologies have grown tremendously in the past few years. Smart electronic devices that can be worn on the body are practical and discreet. The OrCam is no exception. Although they are not exactly glasses for the blind person, the device sits on the individual’s glasses frame and is so discreet that it can barely be seen by others allowing the user to fit in with the crowd.
Unlike other OCR technologies, the OrCam does not require a scanner connected to a computer or internet connection. All the information stored in the device is private and only accessible to the user.
For people who are visually impaired or blind and have conditions that cannot be corrected by glasses or surgery, the OrCam MyEye can be life-changing.
Who would have thought that this little camera situated on a pair of glasses could help people who are blind or visually impaired regain their independence?