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Molly Watt Trust

Tuesday, 15 March 2016 18:38

Applewatch - Thank you Molly

My son read Molly's applewatch blog to me last year.  She made everything sound so easy and to be honest I didn't believe it.

My son kept on and and and on about me getting one as I had become quite a recluse.

I could always find an excuse not to go out, my neighbours helped out with shopping and my son visits regularly.

I have had an iPhone for just over a year and learnt how to use it just by playing with it.  

A couple of years ago I was assessed by Guidedogs for a dog but was told I couldn't be considered for a dog until I had some sort of routine as the dog needs to work.

To be honest it put me into a state of depression and I withdrew further.

I was trained to use a cane some years ago but didn't like it and didn't feel I needed it.  I was definitely in denial.

Anyway, I had been unhappy for many years.  Usher Syndrome has isolated me and I let it.

My son advised me of the project Molly had put together through her charity and he more I read the more I wanted to give the applewatch a try.

I admire Molly, so young and doing her best to live happily and to help others, she is definitely an inspiration to me.

At 54 years old I am not an expert in technology but I'm learning and I quite like it, I have surprised myself with my iPhone, set up my own email and a few apps and games with a little help.

I decided to apply for the applewatch thinking I'd have no chance, as I don't have a regular routine, haven't even ventured to my local shop on my own for probably 5 years.

I'm sure there are lots of people hoping to get an applewatch and  Molly Watt Trust is a small charity and fundraising isn't easy.

When I got the email to say I had been approved for a watch and after a few formalities it would be sent to me I was in shock, I hadn't expected it especially as at this stage I knew MWT have asked for feedback to help with fundraising and I asked to be anonymous - it wasn't a problem.

I received my applewatch in January, it was like Christmas.  I charged it and set it up on my own, I fiddled around with it, sorted out the accessibility settings and changed the faces.  My son did help me with a few apps and applepay then he helped me set up a route on maps for me to walk on my own with my cane. He was more excited than me.

It took me 2 weeks to actually walk that route, I had sleepless nights thinking about it.  I was fighting with myself, I wanted to do it but I was frightened and hated the thought of being seen with my cane.

I planned the walk over and over until I finally took a deep breath and just did it.

The route was to my local shops, just over a mile a way.

At first I was really slow and apprehensive but the further I got the better I felt, the watch guided me with taps on my wrist for left and right.  I made it to the small supermarket and I felt so adrenalised I wanted to walk and walk.  All of a sudden I didn't care if people were looking at me, I felt confident, I felt great.

I decided to go in the coffee shop next door something I'd never have done for fear of knocking something over, I walked in, it was quite empty, I ordered my coffee and the young girl asked if I wanted to pay with my applewatch, I stretched out my arm and beep, done.

I sat down and my coffee was brought to me.

I couldn't believe myself, I was smiling to myself for the first time in a long time, I had done it and I did it for myself.

I text my son from the coffee shop, he didn't believe me so came and met me.  We both cried, silly I know but a big deal for me.

My son took me home and we talked about technology and how it can change people, enable people, just amazing.

That was the first time and now I go out everyday, I feel so much better for it.  No longer a prisoner in my own home, I can get from a to b fairly safely.  I do get a bit  stressed if it is busy so I avoid busy times.

For me this is just the beginning, I will contact Guidedogs for the blind again perhaps in the summer when I can say I go out regularly, we will see.

For now I just want to thank everybody at Molly Watt Trust for making this happen and for Molly for being such an inspirational young lady.

I will write again soon.

 

Wednesday, 09 March 2016 19:01

Effortless Applewatch One Month In

So I've now had my Watch a month and the best way I can describe it is 'Effortless.'

When I first got it all in its beautiful packaging it felt like Christmas again, all thanks to the Molly Watt Trust's GlobalGiving Project.

I was chosen as one of the first to trial this idea and wow I'm very thankful!

I Have Usher type 2 so born partially Deaf and now slowly losing my sight due to Retinitis Pigmentosa, that is Usher Syndrome.

I'm pretty much the worst for missing calls or notifications and emails simply because I don't hear the pings and don't see until I check myself usually just before bedtime.

Well since this lovely piece of tech came into my life that is now a thing of the Past....

'Haptic's where have you been all my life?'

So when I first got this all set up, I adjusted the font and display and synced to my IPhone 6, I turned Haptic's up and volume down ( I'm higher tone deaf so no point for me as I wont hear it) I was well away.

I downloaded some apps such as my Bank and Email also Around Me so I could use it with Maps to use as a walking Sat Nav, also BBC news app.

All of these worked well for me the At a Glance I found really useful as well as the Call Feature as when I'm on a bus or the school run it isn't ideal with Guide dog in one hand, child in the the other so now in an emergency with just a quick click and a tap or even a 'hey Siri Call...' at my wrist I could call for help without being at risk. That was a huge biggie for me.

However for me there is one very big FAIL!  It is not the fault of Apple or the Applewatch but my hearing aids, they do not work with Bluetooth, no connectivity so I can't hear directly to my ear so I found myself holding my wrist right up to my ear looking abit 'James Bond esk' but not a great feeling trying to juggle everything child, dog and school bags it was abit of a pain but as I say not Apple's fault but the Oticon spirit Zest hearing aids supplied by the NHS so no perks which a real shame as I feel I could probably gain a whole different view had I had the right equipment.

Any way a month down the line the applewatch feels great it's amazingly light and easy to forget it's on my wrist until I get the helpful Haptic's reminder of something in my calendar or emails, and even to navigate to somewhere new, very useful In busy town centres when I just need to go from A to B without scanning around which causes terrible eye strain and headaches, Applewatch has helped stop this, no more scanning just relying on a simple tap or taps on my wrist enabling me to simply direct my guide dog left or right accordingly.

Pretty awesome and effortless for me, my daughter likes the drawing bit in the contacts with those who also have the watch she thinks its magic and cool.

I know I have a lot more to learn about my Applewatch and I'm sure in the coming months I will have more to report.

I'm feeling more confident and independent and feel with this technology and my guidedog I can become ever more independent, maybe a part time job soon.

The only snag I have are these 'prehistoric' hearing aids. Having hearing aids with full comaptibility would be absolutely awesome, I guess a girl can dream!

That said I love my new watch, it is more than a watch and whoever developed Haptics - Thank you life is definitely a little easier. 

I want to say Thank you to to the MWT Global Giving project for this awesome gift!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016 20:46

Applewatch Awesome but Hearing Aids Disappoint

I recently received an applewatch from The Molly Watt Trust, via their GlobalGiving project.

I love gadgets. I have ushers syndrome type 3 which is gradually robbing me of both my hearing and my sight.  My vision is now about 3 degrees and my hearing which is moderate to severe and will get worse.

There is nothing to aid my eyesight but thankfully I use NHS Phonak hearing aids to hear, in a small way they compensate a little for my blindness, life is very challenging.  I also rely on Jason my guide dog.

As my condition deteriorated I was unable to continue with my career.

As a result I now keep myself busy travelling around carrying out charity work for various charities.

Travelling is very challenging, however, I am very determined.

I recently upgraded my phone to the iPhone 6s plus yes it's big but I can see it.  The accessibility is fantastic and there are so many useful apps.  I really don't know how I managed before.

I also have the latest Phonak hearing aids from the NHS and a Phonak ComPilot neck loop which works brilliantly with my iPhone and iPad so really important to me for simple things like taking calls while I work my guide dog with ease.  I can listen to music or watch a video on my phone in a crowded place or on the train, the sound streaming directly to my hearing aids.

I had read so much about the applewatch and couldn't wait to set it up and synchronise everything.

I’ve become quite good at ‘pairing’ and ‘syncing’ and I could not work out why I could not answer a phone call on my applewatch, I fiddled around, I contacted both Connevans and  Phonak, to find out what I was doing wrong to eventually be told by Phonak that their equipment is not compatible with applewatch I am absolutely gutted that I am not stream sound from the applewatch apps using speech, yes tactics are fantastic but being able to stream sound directly to my hearing aids would allow me full accessibility to many more apps.

I really struggle to hear a call on my applewatch also I don't really want everybody else to hear my conversations meaning I am missing out on accessibility that would make a difference to my daily life.

Thankfully the maps on the applewatch use taptics, something new to me and brilliant for the deafblind as it vibrates in sequences for turning left or right.

If I could get sound streamed direct to my hearing aids that would be perfect.

I am an independent guy and I like to plan as many routes as possible on my own, the last thing I want is to look vulnerable in a city with a guide dog.

My verdict so far,  "applewatch is brilliant, it is making my life easier" but Phonak hearing aids and ComPilot are a let down.

It is so frustrating that I could have the very best connectivity and accessibility but sadly not with the hearing aids and equipment I have .

Disappointing.

Tuesday, 02 February 2016 15:05

Applewatch Accessibility and Connectivity

To quickly introduce myself, am Colin and I have Usher Syndrome type 3, the rarest of the Usher types.  

I recently received a letter to collect a package from the post office, pretty handy for me as its right beside the train station and I was on my way to Glasgow . 

I picked up the parcel and signed for it or should I say the postmaster did, very kind of him as he had spotted Jason my guide dog . 

I was very inquisitive as to what could be in that box and was wishing for the train to hurry up so I could open my parcel.

The train approached and I was on my way  another two hour journey to Glasgow, however, this time it was going to be a very exciting journey that would fly by!

As I opened the box I realised it was an applewatch.

I had applied to The Molly Watt Trust for an applewatch after reading about their current project https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/deafblind-need-access-to-life-enhancing-technology/ which came about as a result of Molly's outstanding blog showing just how enabling the watch can be to people with Usher Syndrome.

I am delighted to have received an applewatch from This project, I had admired the watch in my local Apple Store on numerous occasions after reading Molly's blog but couldn't afford to buy one.

My first impressions, very smart in black and very very stylish.

Fortunately I had my battery pack on me so figured out how to charge the watch with the magnet on the back of the watch - very clever and simple, I was impressed already.

I switched on and paired it with my iPhone very very quickly by following the simple steps and scanning my watch with my phone.

I then went on a magical journey sussing out the basics of the applewatch.

Apple products are brilliant, particularly their accessibility features, but are very expensive.

As I began to play and find out more and paired my Apps I realised not all apps swapped over from my phone as not all are applewatch compatible, hopefully more and more will be going forward, but I'm still very impressed.

I was struggling with the concept of how an earth can I zoom in but I am getting to grips with the zoom feature.

I was also excited to pair it with my Phonak ComPilot today so I can answer calls on my applewatch and hear audible apps via the watch rather than just my iPhone to my hearing aids.

The first day I found it a minefield of new and exciting features but very similar to the iPhone in many ways but I seriously can't wait to find out more about this incredibly useful, deafblind friendly piece of kit. Here's to day 2

Day 2 was very interesting as I found out I could change the clock face so for now it's Mickey Mouse.  I love the way you can change the style for every occasion . 

Also looking at the strap yet again you can tell someone has spent a lot of time thinking of a different solution to hide the strap by tucking it behind, nice touch . 

Yesterday's mission was to pair my Bluetooth hearing aids to my Phonak compilation neck loop this I did with a varying degree of success and drained the battery quickly as searching for Bluetooth devices generally does.  The end result was it works on music through my hearing aids but not on the phone perhaps I've got a setting wrong along the line.

Also playing with the applephone last night I realised all the watch settings are on the iPhone watch app so today I will dig deeper. 

Overall view for day 2 frustrated about hearing aid connection to applewatch but sure there must be a way to overcome this, on the plus side clarity is very very good.

I cannot get over how stylish it actually is and I need to find out so much more.

iPhone is not rocket science but a form of sequences just like all Apple products I just need to get used to where everything is.

Yesterday I thought I made huge progress as I set up a route and followed it to the letter. 

I set it up on maps on my iPhone then experienced the taps on the wrist to indicate right or left sounds like an indicator on the car, this is brilliant.

I also found loads more apps like a money converter calculator speedometer also city tours very handy on a city break.  I even managed to put voiceover on and put my screen lock on at the same time also my screen locked out which threw me out a bit! I got a friend to google this and soon put it right.

I got somebody to google how to sort it out and sorted it out on my iPhone, it's easy just go to the App. 

I can honestly say like all Apple products the more its used the better it is . 

I'm still learning and loving my new applewatch.

I find the Taptic feature on maps a godsend, being deafblind getting lost is easy, however, so far maps have been brilliant I'm getting from a to be with ease and accuracy.

I also like the gimmicks like charging the applewatch sideways and how  it turns in to a digital clock, very nice touch. 

Also been playing with lots of accessible new apps, the only problem, irritation is trying to get my Phonak hearing aids and neck loop to stream from my applewatch!

I notice Molly Watt uses ReSound Linx2 hearing aids which have full connectivity to all apple products so hopefully there is a way with Phonak, fingers crossed, I will keep tinkering.

 

 

Monday, 23 November 2015 19:28

A "Resounding" Success

When I wrote my Applewatch blog back in April this year, I had no idea of the interest it would generate, nor the amazing people or companies it would lead me to.

I felt so proud that my blog led to many people with Usher Syndrome, deafblind, blind or deaf considering buying the Applewatch and also so many that have bought it and like me enjoy it's fantastic features.

Thank you to all who have sent me such positive feedback.

I was shocked by the interest from all around the world and flattered by the amount of media interest and the many who contacted me direct, curious about Usher Syndrome and accessibility.

However, for me personally it brought something very special, a company full of fantastic people and a product that together with my Applewatch and iPhone has completely changed my life, Linx2.

GN ReSound came into my life as a result of my Applewatch blog.  Until then I had never heard of the company and knew nothing of their amazing Linx2 hearing aids.

For me they came to life on Twitter, I saw their advert advertising the Linx2 to be fully compatible and connective to both iPhone and Applewatch.

I researched further and, I guess as they say the rest is history.

Being fitted with the Linx2 my life has changed so much.  

I love that I can adjust my hearing aids myself, to suit the environment, to suit me, I have complete control over what I hear and what I don't. For the first time in my life deafness and environment do not dictate what I can and cannot do, what sound I can or cannot access.  

The telephone is something I'd struggled with over the years.  Feedback made even trying to communicate on the phone a complete nightmare but I had made use of either text or FaceTime to connect with others, two useful forms of communication open to deaf people but not in a work environment.  

Those limitations are now gone thanks to Linx2 and not only can I use a telephone I have bluetooth connectivity which means I'm able to pair hearing aids with iPhone and (lots of other things too) I feel a phone call on my wrist thanks to taptics, press my Applewatch, to connect and I hear clear sound directly into my ears.  I can stream music directly into my ears, I can alter bass and treble, I can vary so many things on the ReSound app on  Applewatch and I am safe.

I have worried about my iPhone being taken snatched from my hand on a busy street full of people I cannot see, but not any more, my iPhone stays safely tucked away in my bag.

My confidence has grown and I'm able to venture to new places using this incredible technology.

Seeing danger is virtually impossible for me these days but now I can hear it, I know where sounds are coming from and as a result I feel safer which makes me feel so much more able 

ReSound:

You completed the picture for me, by allowing me to access the incredible Linx2 hearing aids.

I feel both grateful and very humbled that you have not only taken an interest in me but also such an interest in Usher Syndrome and the work I do raising awareness of the condition.

We are a group of people who often feel overlooked and misunderstood and yet with the right understanding, support and equipment we are very  capable, our biggest obstacle is often accessing the necessary equipment!

Since being fitted with my Linx2 hearing aids in May this year I have developed a fantastic relationship with the team in Bicester and was flabbergasted to be invited to be a part of their recent roadshow, it was an ideal platform for me to raise awareness of Usher Syndrome, of my charity The Molly Watt Trust and for me to demonstrate exactly how life changing their products are.

I am no longer isolated by my deafness. I am still deaf but the enhancement I experience every day with Linx2 has been truly overwhelming.

When, like me, you are down to only 5% of useful vision and no cure in sight (excuse the pun) the best available technology to enhance hearing should be a necessity for the deafblind.

So thank you ReSound, your technology is fantastic, I cannot imagine life without Linx2 now and I know things will only get better and better.  

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to support me and my charity, I will be eternally grateful.

Friday, 16 October 2015 18:40

Edinburgh Social Event 3 October 2015

Best Western Kings Manor Hotel, Edinburgh Saturday 3 October 2015 was a great success.

It was brilliant to see old and new faces and a time to share some news and information of our work throughout the year.

We were delighted to have a very detailed and useful presentation from Graham Roberts of GN Resound about the amazing Linx2 smart aids and I think it is very clear that these hearing aids would make a huge difference to everyday life for the many who rely on hearing aids, particularly as blindness sets in.

Molly’s presentation about her work raising awareness and of course a detailed talk about accessibility and the Apple Watch which fitted in around the compatibility of the Linx2 hearing aids.

Finally technology addressing both deafness and blindness and to fit well with Usher Syndrome - the remaining issue how to enable access to it!

We were able to share with our guests the news that not only has The Molly Watt Trust been accepted onto  Globalgiving scheme but also that our first project has been submitted and accepted.

This particular project was set up as direct result of Molly’s accessibility review of the Apple Watch and it’s capability to enhance the lives of people with Usher Syndrome.

The huge interest/feedback we received as a result of Molly’s Apple Watch blog and the many who have themselves purchased the watch as a result and are now benefitting from what it has to offer.

The ability for the Apple Watch to enable safe navigation via taptics is a fabulous feature and enables those often isolated by the restrictions to mobility that Usher Syndrome poses and is making a very real difference and just one of the many amazing positives.

The freedom for those with Usher Syndrome to get out and about independently really is priceless.

We at MWT are looking to fund Apple Watch and to enhance the lives of people with Usher Syndrome.

Molly and the Trustees are working very hard fundraising and invite people to consider supporting our work.

We have been very fortunate to have schools fundraising for our cause and to have had two sponsored events this past year but we need more people actively involved.

Project two is in the planning stages, more details to follow.

We would like to thank everybody who took the time to join us and I’m sure you’ll agree after the presentations the social event was fun and useful to all.

Thank you for all who supported the raffle and purchased MWT Christmas cards, it was not a fundraising event but your generosity meant an additional £313.

Congratulations to the raffle prize winners.

Finally thank you to James Brown and all staff at Kings Manor Hotel for their wonderful hospitality for the second year running, we’d like to come back next year, please.

Wednesday, 07 October 2015 13:18

Usher Syndrome - The Importance of Acceptance

I have now realised after many years that always trying to fight Usher Syndrome certainly does not work.

I don't know if it's a pride thing or that I am just perhaps so damned stubborn that it gets in the way of actually letting me try to live a normal life.

I can always remember as a child being given a thick pair of NHS brown glasses I hated them with a passion and fought hard against wearing them!

Thank goodness lessons have been learnt since then and those hideous glasses are a thing of the past.

I also fought against hearing aids but now I know I am not alone.

I fought against the fact I had to give up driving.

I fought against using a cane then the realisation I needed a guide dog.

I thought I was the most stubborn person in the world until I realised I was only fighting with myself, with acceptance of Usher Syndrome, that both my hearing and sight were worsening, the very things that would help me cope I would not accept! I did not want to be “different!”.

I struggled with myself, my changing world, changing needs and I wasted years not accepting the inevitable.

I have Usher Syndrome type 3, the rarest of the Usher types, I am different but I am not alone.

I have searched my soul so long and hard and realised the guy in a wheelchair, woman with a birthmark, the boy with a prosthetic limb, old lady with a wig surely they must feel the same way as I do . So if you analyse these things who defines what perfection is in a human being? I'll tell you it's you and no one else . 

So when you wake up to that fact as I did you won’t let Usher Syndrome tear you apart.

I had for years and years quite literally allowed it to rule my life in such a negative way but now I have my life back to a certain degree.  You have to learn to live with Usher Syndrome then you are more in control.

I’m now glad to say I'm a lot happier and can for once share information openly the word BLIND  no longer hurts I can take a joke about it and even make the jokes about it . 

The most important thing is I adapted I now have more glasses than Specsavers to make sure I got what was right for me and I don't care as long as they work for me.  

I have a huge array of multicoloured canes because that's what it took for me to come to terms with cane training.

I lost my driving licence so I bought a tandem.  

I love my guide dog and can travel places I would never dream of going and have without a doubt met the most inspiring people in the world who actually turned their lives around and just get on with it and enjoy it.

My Bradley watch has even become something of a fashion iconic symbol.

I’ve learnt some Braille too. 

I strive to keep busy I now love life so much more. 

I’m excited by the latest technology that is out there.

I am on my third set of hearing aids and yes my ears are sadly like my eyes deteriorating but as anybody with Usher Syndrome, deafblindness knows good hearing aids are essential as the ability to use any visual clues diminishes.

I am grateful to the internet for finding more people with Usher Syndrome, it is rare but there are a fair few scattered all around and we are all looking for each other as sadly there is little specialist support for us so we all need each other.

This is how I came across Molly Watt, her supportive family and The Molly Watt Trust.

I was very fortunate to have a cracking weekend at The Molly Watt Trust Edinburgh Event and sat through a very informative presentation from a guy from ReSound a hearing aid manufacturer leading the way in hearing aid technology followed by a short presentation from Molly herself speaking of her work for MWT but also about how her life has been transformed by Linx2 ReSound hearing aids.

I am pretty switched on with my iPhone and after such a positive blog about Applewatch http://www.mollywatt.com/blog/entry/my-apple-watch-after-5-days I am looking to getting one as soon as possible as it will absolutely allow me access to new things including navigation and safety and now I also need access to these hearing aids, they will give me so m much more than the ones I have at present.

  

I've done research on these and they appear to be the best available hearing aids which we can now be in total control of in every situation . These aids can link via Bluetooth to a free app from ReSound so you can adjust your aids as appropriate be it where a busy, noisy pub or outside in the park . This is what we have been waiting for this is very high tech but very simple to use . 

The amazing thing is they can even be paired to the Apple Watch via Bluetooth . So now my quest to make life better and enjoy it a little more also making me safer on my many travels I will try and try hard to get these at the top of my 

Wish list . 

Remember life is what we make it if we adapt it gets better we don't have to fight all the time . 

Technology is definitely the way forward as I know it can and will make a huge difference to my life ..

 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 10:45

Hear No, See No, Techno!

I recently read about somebody I know who has Usher Syndrome and had got into a very scary situation.

Having Usher Syndrome this sort of thing is very easily done.

An accident as simple as getting on the wrong bus in the dark, being put off the bus with directions to safety but you didn't understand the directions and finding yourself all alone in the dark bearing in mind you are completely blind in the dark, terrifying.

Being deafblind is often very disorientating at the best of times and lots of us experience dizzy spells or vertigo, often seems part and parcel of the condition and being lost or feeling lost adds to the anxiety lots of us can feel when out and about particularly in unfamiliar areas.

Similar happened to me before I had guide dog Unis and I was petrified, fortunately for me I had my cane, must have looked lost and was helped to a bus stop and onto the correct bus home.  To say it knocked my confidence was an understatement, I didn't attempt to go out alone for several months, isolating myself rather than face the possibility of getting lost again.

The day that happened to me I did not have a smartphone or the technology I am lucky enough to enjoy today I just did my best with what I had.

I am pretty confident today and I know that confidence and independence come from incredible technology and of course Guide dog Unis who has saved my life on more than one occasion as back then I struggled to see or hear traffic even with my old hearing aids. 

I have blogged about my new hearing aids Linx2 but after four months of this incredible technology along with iPhone and Applewatch I can say my safety and feelings of vulnerability have improved substantially.

Now when I am out and about with Unis I have the ability to change my hearing aid settings to block out certain sounds so that I can not only hear traffic but I can identify the direction of the sound, something I have never ever been able to do so now I see so little I can have trust in my hearing even though I'm deaf and I hear nothing much without hearing aids - get this, "My deaf ears compensate for my dodgy eyes!"

I am now 21 years old and in four months I've learnt so much more about sound than I ever knew.

I hear sounds I've never heard, I've corrected my own speech, things I've said wrongly for years simply because I couldn't hear the sounds properly, I've "overheard" conversations, a really new concept for me, I can speak and hear well in small groups, I hear so much more its hard for me to explain its just quite an "Eyeopener and I'm blind!"

My confidence in my own hearing has improved my vocabulary, yes, even at 21 I'm learning new vocabulary, I'm not mishearing which was often my biggest frustration.

This last week I did something I never thought I'd be capable of doing without help - I took my first ever conference call yes, not Skype, not FaceTime I totally relied on technology to hear and this is how:

The ReSound Linx2 connect to both my iPhone and my apple watch via bluetooth.  When the call comes in I can answer via my watch, clear speech goes directly into my ears, no background noise or interference.

I cannot describe my elation at being able to access a three way conversation, to hear clearly two unfamiliar voices and to make plans for an upcoming event.

I'm sure lots of people are thinking it's no big deal but it really is because using a telephone is something most take for granted and yet people with with Usher Syndrome who use hearing aids often cannot and as a result struggle, particularly in the workplace and yet it's possible if only this up to date technology was available to them.

To have these "Smart Aids" (the first to be fully compatible with the applewatch) the watch and an iPhone work out to be very expensive, however when considering what this kit enables a person to do it makes complete sense in my opinion.

I feel very humbled to have access to this technology, it absolutely makes me me.

I am not a tech expert, an expert of Usher Syndrome or anything else for that matter but knowing that this sort of technology exists and what it can do to enhance the lives of those with such challenges it has to be viable.

Speaking about Siri I have noticed it is by far better on my Applewatch than on my iPhone, I'm curious to know if it will improve on iPhone with the new operating system, either way I will continue to use Siri on my watch so I have the security of leaving my phone out of view and safe while I am out and about with Unis.

I'm still a huge fan of taptics but am now finding Siri so useful, when Siri talks to me the sound goes straight into my ears so I hear clearly thanks to these amazing Linx2 hearing aids and if Siri cannot help then there's almost certainly an app that will do so.

It's great to have so much independence via technology that I can access so easily.

I was asked if Siri understands "deaf voices" well, it understands mine is all I can say.

I'm also looking forward to understanding what "native apps" work on the new operating system for Apple watch and just out of curiosity to see if there is any safety element there.

Along with the excitement of so much new assistive technology available comes the frustration of knowing so many people who would benefit won't because they cannot afford it.

There is so much advancement in technology surely funding the right equipment as opposed to the cheapest equipment makes absolute sense.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015 11:18

Knowledge but Frustration

The main aim of the Molly Watt Trust has always been to raise awareness of Usher Syndrome and we continue to do this in as many ways as we can.

Molly continues to raise awareness with her keynote presentations and motivational speaking as often as she is able and to as many people as she can reach, all different ages in all different walks of life.

Our guest bloggers also raise awareness by sharing their personal experiences which is a huge help.

The smallest bit of awareness can help somebody's daily challenges hugely.

If you have an experience you'd like to share please contact us

Most of you will be aware of Molly's recent blog about her apple watch which was seen by over 200,000 people in a month, the awareness from this one blog created a very healthy interest in Usher Syndrome and it's many challenges, particularly from the world of technology which is very encouraging moving forward with accessibility.

The blog showed how all sorts of new technology can enhance the lives of people living with the condition.

A most generous offer from GN ReSound UK Ltd to allow her to try their new smart aids, compatible with Apple iPhone but even more exciting and exclusively, at this time, compatible with the new Apple Watch.

Of course experiencing this new technology has been fantastic for her but as important is her feedback and her thoughts relayed to both the company and to other hearing aid users and particularly those with Usher Syndrome.

The result of this is that Molly produced a further and much more detailed blog (My Eyes, my ears, my Apple Watch) which can be viewed at www.mollywatt.com which again pointed out the importance of up to date technology and how it has enhanced her life and continues to do so.

Whilst this is fantastic it also makes it crystal clear that people with Usher Syndrome and hearing aids could hugely benefit from the very best technology just like those who need and rightly get cochlear implants.

Research into new and useful technology is exciting so whilst we wait for science to catch up thankfully there are things that can make a difference to everyday life, the most frustrating part is funding it!

If you can help in any way please contact us.

In the meantime we will continue our work raising awareness and funds as best we can to purchase smaller pieces or equipment to enhance daily life.

  

Sunday, 17 May 2015 15:13

Dear Tech, Please keep listening

 

Firstly I'd like to congratulate my beautiful, inspirational daughter on her recent blog http://www.mollywatt.com/blog/entry/my-apple-watch-after-5-days two weeks on over 193k hits and growing which means fantastic awareness of Usher Syndrome and particularly so in the world of technology.

Molly has been taken aback by the interest in her blog which had initially been written as new content for her newly designed website www.mollywatt.com where she is building her own profile and to inform those with Usher Syndrome, deaf or blind of the possible advantages of using the Apple Watch.

Together we looked over the many reviews and comments to the blog which have in the main been met with great interest and from all over the world which is amazing.

Of all the reviews one particular comment stuck out and it was one that questioned the number of people who actually benefit from the built in accessibility in some products, most notibly Apple.

Those with Usher Syndrome clearly benefit but in real terms those with deafness or hearing impairment, blindness or visual impairment or those with deafblindness and numerous other disabilities also benefit. 

This is before we consider the ageing population who often become visually impaired or / and hearing impaired or deaf, blind or Deafblind, so a considerable number to consider for accessibility.

Helen Keller's profound quote is something for us all to think about when we think about accessibility:-

“Blindness separates us from things, but deafness separates us from people.”

So to the techie community out there, please continue to consider the needs of those with sensory impairment, you are making a huge difference to millions and a huge thank you to all who read, considered and enjoyed Molly's blog, there is certainly much more to come from her.

 
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