A A A Accessibility A A A A

Molly Watt Trust

For the last two years I have raved about ReSound LiNX² smart hearing aids and rightly so, they literally changed my life.

I would be lying if I didn't say "REALLY" when I initially read about ReSound LiNX3D, however, I absolutely wanted to try them.

Anybody familiar with hearing aids knows that whilst a new pair can offer more long term the initial few weeks/months are not fun.

It is key that people understand that a new pair of hearing aids are not an instant fix.  With every new pair of hearing aids - unlike the cochlea implant there is not a ‘switch on’ and you hear new sounds process.  Most with hearing aids have experienced sound before, unlike many profoundly deaf and hence the differences in "siwitch on/adjustment."  With hearing aids the brain and nerves literally work hard to process new sounds and it is both mentally and physically exhausting. I often have to explain to people the reason I am not hearing as well as before (with previous hearing aids) in the first few weeks is because my brain is in a state of confusion to sounds, kind of re-programming itself all over again. 

As someone with such restricted vision and somebody who has benfitted enormously from LiNX² I did feel really quite anxious about trying ReSound LiNX3D, probably more anxious than previously however I absolutely wanted my chance to experience the very latest smart hearing aid technology.

I knew I would have to deal with some very challenging weeks whilst adjusting to the new hearing aids and that the confusion they often cause makes me feel more deaf than normal however the benefits do far outweigh this once the brain adjusts.  A time to be very patient.

Picking up new and unfamiliar sounds are initially confusing and often hard to make sense of whilst the familiar sounds no longer sound familiar.  The brain seems confused and in a state of learning and it can be very tiring, frustrating and annoying all at once on top of which it can be hard to have patience throughout this period of time.  

Even before being fitted with LiNX² I remember feeling hope that these new smart hearing aids could make a real difference to my life.  I desperately wanted them to work, to give me something more then my NHS hearing aids.  Could something really be available in any way shape or form to really enhance my hearing and in any way compensate for my failing sight? 

I remember the early days of LiNX² the whole "getting used to" process. Almost bizarrely I could immediately sense a new clarity in sounds that I found strange but exciting.  

Amongst the confusion of the many new sounds I was experiencing for the first time in my life there were sounds that initially sounded like interference in my ear, a process of elimination by the three audiologist present revealed I was hearing sounds from outside of the room I was sitting in!  I had never experienced that before, hadn't as much as considered it an option, yes, up until I was almost 21 years old I had not thought this was even possible - how much had I really missed out on over the years? 

Also although the sounds were kind of coming at me at all angles I could for the first time follow a sound around the room.  It made me feel quite dizzy but also fascinated.  

The first month was a journey of emotion and discovery.  Slowly I discovered so many new things, the voices of my loved ones sounded so different, so much clearer.  The LiNX² connectivity to my iPhone and applewatch, the app enabled me to experiment with my hearing, adjusting bass and treble and also adjusting the smart aid capabilities in different environments it really was unbelievable.  As a result of me being able to adjust my hearing aids as appropriate to my environment I discovered how much better my access to sound really was.  I discovered 'hearsay and earwigging'. I sat on a train hearing the noise of the train but over and above that sound I could hear people speaking clearly even though I couldn't see them, I knew they were sitting behind me.  It was both fascinating and strange in those early days.  

I could now speak and hear clearly on my iPhone as sound streamed directly to my ears, I  could hear things I had never heard before.

Those difficult, exhausting days of constantly scanning to find sound gone I felt connected to people even though I couldn't necessarily see them.  Ask any deaf person how important sight is to their very being and you'll understand just how huge these things are.

I could write so much about these amazing smart hearing aids however I have written extensively about my LiNX² already and most blogs can be found at www.molly-watt-trust.org this one is my personal favourite: http://www.molly-watt-trust.org/component/k2/bali-sound-sensations

So, in April of this year I was humbled and flattered to be one of the first in the UK to trial the very latest in ReSound's smart hearing aid technology, ReSound LiNX3D, Whilst I was excited I was also apprehensive as to what more these hearing aids could offer, which shows just how happy I have been with my LiNX².

Whilst waiting on my fitting I had time to do my own research and the more I researched the more exciting ReSound LiNX3D became, however, I was not looking forward to that first month of aural confusion especially as my work agenda is now quite taxing.  There would be no quiet time to aclimatise myself to new hearing aids this time!

Since wearing LiNX² my confidence and ability to work independently has led me to, with a little help, set up my own business as well as work tirelessly for my charity and championing accessibility and inclusivity for all.

My Dad took me for my first fitting of ReSound LiNX3D.  Being deafblind mobility is another of the extra challenges I have to deal with.  I was excited and curious to experience the many things I had read - could they really be as superior to LiNX² as I had read?

I was being fitted by a friendly familiar face at ReSound so I felt very comfortable.

The fitting did not pan out the way I thought it would.  The first thing we established from an up to date hearing test was that my hearing had worsened, not a lot but every single decibel of loss can be multiplied over and over for somebody deafblind.  I put on a brave face on the day but deep down I felt myself grieving for that loss.  My ability to hear is what keeps me inclusive in a world that is more often dark than light these days.

I was hoping for so much from ReSound LiNX3D after my experience of ReSound LiNX² and after that bad news I was desperate for them to offer more to compensate for the added hearing loss.

The fitting went well and I could immediately hear differences and as exciting as it was I felt a touch deflated, such mixed emotions.  

I had an emotional couple of days coming to terms with the fact my hearing loss had deteriorated however after allowing myself time and with the support of my family and friends I soon pulled myself together and started to enjoy experimenting with my ReSound LiNX3D.  My life is full of challenge, this is just another one and totally doable.

Almost immediately I began experiencing new sounds and they seemed louder than the old sounds, it felt like my brain was working overtime to make sense of them, it really was hard work but the belief that once everything settled I would experience more positives than negatives even with more of a hearing loss gave me hope.

Never one to stay down for too long I immersed myself into work wearing ReSound LiNX3D.  

ReSound LiNX3D come with a new app, the new app offers much more than the one for LiNX² so more to learn, more to experiment with, exciting.

This app, like with LiNX² smart hearing aids bluetooth connect automatically once paired to both iPhone and applewatch. Like the now previous app my most frequently used programmes were there: ‘All around,’ ‘Restaurant’ and ‘Outdoor’I found the familiarity comforting. Knowing the three programmes I use most are on the new app for me to use and alter accordingly to enable me to hear to the best of my ability.  The new app has bass, treble, volume settings and newly added, further wind reduction settings on each programme, an inbetween bass and treble, a ‘Middle,’ setting that almost balances out both bass and treble when in an environment with poor acoustics.

The format of these settings has changed slightly and is now in graph form - using your finger tips you can fiddle around with ease to find the settings that suit you best.  However, the icing on the cake really has to be the ‘Request Assistance’ option. 

What does this mean? 

I can now simply, request assistance using the app on my iPhone wherever I am.  The benefits of this are enormous.  Besides the fact I have the assistance of my audiologist pretty much at my fingertips any time and any place I may be.  I no longer have to make an appointment to see an audiologist which can be several weeks away and for me at a clinic very hard to reach by public transport. 

For deafblind people like myself mobility is challenging at the best of times but the thought of having to attend an audiology clinic with broken hearing aids some weeks later is not acceptable but something those with dual sensory impairment have to endure on occasion.

The reassurance I now have from "Request Assistance" via the app on my iPhone is truly priceless.  Now if I am away working, which is often the case and for any reason I have any issue or concern with my hearing aids I can fill in a short but thorough questionnaire to set out my concerns  (ie: which programme, which setting, which ear, how annoying etc etc) I can also fill in a personal message to specify my issues and this is sent direct to my audiologist who will pick it up and respond as soon as possible.

My first two and a half weeks with LiNX3D were for me more challenging than my first experiences of LiNX² I think besides the usual "getting accustomed to" period I was very busy with work so challenged in varying environments and wasn't used to hearing aids or the app as a result I did struggle more so contacted my audiologist who insisted he check my hearing aid settings.

A short follow up visit to my office and a check of my previous programme for LiNX² with a comparison of my new programme with LiNX3D resulted in a small tweak which appeared to literally be a few taps on a computer then almost by magic my hearing aids came to life.

Sat in the office concentrating hard on my audiologist all of a sudden became less intense as I could hear him without any problem.  I also became very aware of the clicking of a computer keyboard behind me and I could hear the familiar sound of the printer printing to my left and also the gurgling sound of the water cooler beside me - this is more like it I thought.

I remember having a similar check with my LiNX² 3/4 weeks on and a few little changes making a big difference so perhaps normal to need that follow up.  

I think changing to ReSound LiNX3D from LiNX² I felt more educated as to what could be achieved and so more aware of any problem, either way, I was sorted.

I left the office that day with guide dog Unis, I could not just feel her body close to me but I could hear the clinking of her lead and collar and her paws on the pavement beside me, I could also hear birds twittering on the roofs above me, I could hear the sounds of cars to my right and behind me.  As I walked through the town I could hear voices, different voices, men, women and children. As I passed the coffee shop I could hear people talking and the sound of crockery, I couldn't see any of it as I walked looking straight ahead allowing Unis to do her job.  It was amazing to be able to understand my familiar environment because of my hearing.  The depth, quality and clarity of sound LiNX3D provide is incredible.  As I passed the bakery I could smell fresh bread and to the side of the bakery is a bus stop, I could hear voices, clearly people waiting for a late bus.  My walk home from the office was as though I was seeing new pictures in sound.  Sounds coming from all around me and the beauty really was I could decipher the sounds and where they were coming from - my new journey of discovery had begun.

Some other positives are the clarity of speech streamed via iPhone and also music has much more depth than previously.  I'm enjoying hearing music, lyrics and new sounds, I've discovered the sounds of different instruments that I'd never heard before, now just to educate myself on exactly what those instruments are!

I have since experimented with ‘request assistance,’ because of course if you have an issue - you send the message what happens next? 

Well after sending a request a week or so after I had seen the audiologist with a minor concern, I received a response. 

Here is the absolute "creme de la creme" my audiologist sends back an up to date programme for me to install. Clear instructions display on my screen: ‘Take out hearing aids, leave them on and leave near phone,’ and the programme re-installs onto the hearing aids with the necessary adjustments made by my audiologist externally.  I could be in America or Australia in fact any country with wifi and have both assistance and solutions made via my iPhone.  This service is second to known and truly priceless.

It is possible to restart programmes and request further assistance if necessary.

There are two relatively small negatives for me at this point, both of which could be perfected.  Firstly the writing within the app is hard for me to access at times, lots of white backgrounds and fine print - this is very challenging with tired visually impaired eyes, would love to see an improvement here, good contrasts and dynamic text would be perfect. 

Also it would be great to receive an instant response from the audiologist to confirm my request for assistance had been received rather than me keep checking the app which did get very tiring.  Besides that, I have been totally impressed.

I have now been wearing ReSound LiNX3D for around 5 weeks and I feel the initial "brain strain" and confusion is over and I'm now enjoying the benefits of this incredible smart hearing aid technology.  

I am able to use the app on both iPhone and applewatch to adjust my ability to hear in every different environment I might find myself in.  

I loved my LiNX², they offered me more than I could ever have believed possible however I can now report ReSound LiNX3D have exceeded my expectations and not just because of the ground breaking "Request Assistance" but because this smart hearing aid is providing much improved clarity of speech, crystal clear in fact, also improved connectivity provides excellent access to all number of iPhone apps audibly.  My days of not hearing or mishearing are very much a thing of the past.  

I was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome almost 11 years ago - born severely deaf I have now been registered blind 9 years and whilst like everybody with this cruel condition I hope for a cure however, I am not hung up on finding a cure, I want to live my life positively and thanks to ReSound this is possible.  

I am excited for the future because this incredible assistive technology keeps evolving and enables me to be an inclusive part of society.  I simply want this for all living with the challenges of deafblindness.

 

Friday, 06 January 2017 11:32

Bali - Sound Sensations

At the end of my work and networking trip to the other side of the world, Mum and I decided on a a trip to the beautiful island of Bali to spend the last 10 days relaxing.

Arriving in Bali was surreal, it was dark outside, I hate arriving anywhere in the dark as I see so little.

We were very tired and our body clocks were already extremely confused! We were met with intense humidity whilst looking for our taxi service. 

At Denpesar Airport we were met by a sweet Balinese gentlemen dressed in traditional Bali attire.  

I felt quite important when Mum pointed out this man who was stood waiting for us holding a banner with our names on it.  This lovely man spoke perfect English and without much of an accent so I was able to understand him quite easily, accents can be a problem for the deaf, thankfully for me, not this time. 

The hour drive to Ubud for me was exhausting, it was really dark so I could not appreciate Bali's ornate beauty.  What I could see was darkness amongst blurred street lights the lights hurt my eyes.  It was incredibly disorientated amd quick sick so I put on my dark glasses turning my focus to communicating with the gent and his colleague the driver taking us to our destination, thankfully with no communication barrier it was pleasant interacting and finding out more about Balinese culture. 

On arriving another surreal experience, I was guided by my Mum up some large steps, the lighting was low and I could hear water fountains, both left and right of the rugged steps but I couldn't see them in the dim light.  I stopped on the steps holding onto my Mum’s arm, I had not experienced the still yet peaceful sound of water flowing before - I have to admit I felt quite emotional and incredibly lucky to have hearing aids to provide me with such beauty I couldn't see, but my imagination filled in the gaps.

As we carried on up the steps I sensed we were “inside”.

However Mum informed me whilst we were at reception we were still actually outside.  Mum gave me a quick audio description which helped me form a picture of serene beauty and tranquility in the middle of a jungle.

There was water all around us in the lobby/reception.  I felt frustrated I couldn't see it all, but so grateful to hear the flowing water, to smell the natural smells, flowers, damp trees, the smell of the Balinese countryside and to hear new sounds, I’ll come back to those sounds, the real feeling of peacefulness.

At the reception we were once again greeted by more incredibly sweet welcoming Balinese staff.  

After check in and a complimentary sweet fizzy drink (was not totally sure if it was alcoholic or not!) all my senses were truly tested! 

Mum soon grabbed me and guided me back down the steps and to what I was told was a golf cart already loaded with our luggage. We were then escorted to our chalet, what service I thought!

On opening the wooden gate into our private chalet I could see a little light coming from within, I couldn't wait to get inside, get some better lighting and really see where I was.

WOW, I was not disappointed, we were shown around our chalet like VIPs, I felt incredibly humbled. The bed was draped in what looked like sheer sheets hanging from the ceiling, the floor was made of large man made concrete slabs, small tables were decorated beautifully with Balinese flowers. The whole decor was ornate and stunning. The bathtub was almost the size of my double bed at home, and then a door opened to what was our outdoor shower! Again everything beautifully decorated with flowers, plants and everything ornate. I was quite overwhelmed and still I could hear noises, noises I hadn't heard before!

I was really tired that night but I couldn't sleep, I never sleep with my hearing aids in but on this particular night I didn't want to take them out.  I was enjoying hearing the sounds of the jungle, I knew I could hear birds outside and some running water but really couldn't decipher the other noises, I was fascinated by the sounds, it still amazes me that I can hear outside with my Linx2 smart aids, something I could never have done previously.  I went 20 years thinking you only hear sounds in the same room as you! 

I fell asleep for the first time ever wearing my hearing aids!

The following morning was an out of body experience! I woke to morning sunlight shining through the sheer drapes from the ceiling around the bed, fortunately the drapes stopped the bright glare of the sun so I wasn't blinded by the brightness.  

I hadn't noticed how many large windows with blooming large leaves growing in and out of the chalet met with the primitively made roof in our ornate and beautiful chalet. It all felt incredibly natural, the outdoors reminded me we were in a jungle in Bali.

On opening the patio door, WOW, I couldn't quite get a grip! 

Scanning around I noticed a pool, being overlooked by a Hindu God statue fountain, ahhhhh, that was one of the sounds I’d fallen asleep to.  The statue was also decorated in beautiful natural Balinese flowers, two sun beds on a small decking adjacent to the pool, and then a straw roofed hut with two massage beds also decorated with flowers. On the patio was a huge chaise lounge, a sink a table with a large bowl of tropical fruit on top and four chairs what more could we need?

A trip to the spa I thought, that really would be paradise, so we booked for that evening.

I was desperate to see what I had missed the night before so Mum and I tested out the outdoor shower, quite an experience and again I was taken aback by the smells of the hand made shower gel, soaps and shampoo it really was something I'll always remember.

Dressed and ready we left our part of paradise and ventured up to the hotel reception area where the restaurant was to be found.

My Mum was chatting to me on the short walk but I wasn't listening, I was still fascinated by the sounds coming from all around me, I could definitely hear birds and definitely more than one kind, I could hear running water.  I was trying to concentrate really hard on what I could hear.  The sounds were all quite relaxing, I'd never experienced these particular sounds before.

Mum guided me to reception and this time I could see the ponds of water either side of the walkway and I could see huge fish and again fountains shaped like Hindu gods and decorated in tropical flowers.  There were also burners that smelt tropical, it really was a feast of the senses.

The receptionist greeted us and offered us a local hot drink whilst we decided on treatments for later that day, finally I felt able to relax after a very long and busy couple of months.

We had a breakfast of fresh fruits and local produce then headed back to our private paradise to enjoy the sunshine and warmth of Ubud.

I was able to lay in the sunshine and unwind listening to the unique sounds of the jungle.  My headache lifted and I felt good.

After a day of sheer relaxation and room service I was looking forward to some pampering.

On arriving at the spa we were offered drinks, haven't a clue what they were but they smelt of ginger but tasted of something else!

Two ladies showed us into the private room overlooking the jungle.  Inside where two massage beds, the view was stunning. 

It was amazing, the whole room overlooked the jungle, ornate frog statues were everywhere, beautiful flowers, I couldn't believe the colours, the smells and the sounds, sheer peace and tranquility.  

Having been massaged with magic fingers and hands from head to toe, we were then covered in a seaweed wrap and then before long we were told to shower and then soak in the jumbo sized free standing bubble bathtub which was full of floating flowers with an aroma I'll never forget surrounded by candles it was truly heavenly.

After the masseuse's left mum and I looked at each other and smiled, a long time since we shared a bath! Fair to say we laughed. 

'Where should I put my hearing aids Mum?' 

I couldn't see anywhere safe to put them without losing them in the jungle or the water! 

Mum took them and put them on a shelf near the towels. 

After our glorious soak in the huge bath overlooking Bali's outstanding nature, I remember feeling happy that it was still light outside so I could appreciate my surroundings even though it was in silence, it was absolutely stunning. 

Getting out of the bath we felt completely fresh and relaxed. 

The warmth on our skin dried us in no time, though being wrapped in a towel was somewhat refreshing. 

We sat quietly in rocking chairs looking out watching the sunset and darkness descend upon us before getting dressed. 

‘I need my hearing aids mum’ Mum's glowing face frowned, she couldn't see them, I was of no help in fading light so sat still and safe whilst Mum searched and then the horror, surely they have not fallen into the giant bath of scented flowers and bubbles!

Mum put her hands in the deep water and horrified she fished out one hearing aid, followed by a second we were both speechless

My mind was racing, 9 days without hearing, 9 days to not appreciate the beauty my hearing aids provide me, the unique and new sounds of this beautiful place and the everyday things like conversation, chatting with my Mum, conversing with the locals, communicating, there'd be none of that accept on those rare occasions when my sight is at it’s best and I can lipread.  My mind was racing.  I felt physically sick the thought of being blind and not being able to hear filled me with horror, how would I cope.

Mum was speechless, in shock, she knew 9 days without me being able to hear would be tough on us both and would definitely have spoilt our holiday.

Mum insisted I take the batteries out and throw them away.  We got dressed in record time. 

Mum wrapped my hearing aids tightly in a tissue and put them in her purse.  

The walk back to our chalet was in silence.  I hung on tightly to Mum’s arm, I felt very disorientated in silence and darkness and felt very vulnerable.

As soon as we got into the chalet Mum unraveled the now drier hearing aids and placed them in a cup while Mum found the hairdryer going on to use it aiming its heat into the cup for 15/20 minutes, it felt like a lifetime after which she asked me for new hearing aid batteries, neither of us felt very positive but it was the only hope we had.  

I took the first hearing aid, fitted it in my ear and switched on and there it was the short signal sounds to say it was on and it worked, I was beyond happy, I felt elated.  One working will be better than none I thought as I reached for the second hearing aid, put the battery in and again those switch on sounds and hearing aid two on and working WOW, I was so overwhelmed I was tearful - these tiny hearing aids are a huge part of what makes me tick.  

I didn't want to switch my hearing aids off again that night, not only was I afraid they may not come back on but I wanted to continue to enjoy the sounds of paradise.

Thankfully my hearing aids did not let me down and continue to work and I appreciate them more than ever.

The following day we talked a lot about the sounds of Bali and that one sound I kept hearing but couldn't identify.

sat at the bar after a tropical shower I asked Mum and the barman what the strange, louder than normal noise was ‘ah’ said the barman, ‘that is the noise of the frogs, they are always noisy at night and even noisier when it rains!’

I was wide eyed, anybody who knows me knows I have a bit of a thing for frogs and yet I had never heard a frog before!

How I love the sound of frogs.

That hour or so of shock was a reminder to me just how important hearing is to me and why others like myself should have the opportunity to use such impressive technology, it really is life changing.

There is no doubt in my mind, if my hearing aids had not worked after the accident at the spa without a doubt I would have struggled, my holiday would have been ruined and my confidence destroyed.

Hearing is my access to people and without people and sight I fall into isolation how obvious that became that day in paradise.

I have written and spoken extensively about my GN Resound Linx2 smart hearing these aids over the last 20 months and what they have given me but that day in Bali, the fear I felt at not benefitting from hearing made me very aware that praise I have given them is little compared to what they give me every single time I switch them on.

NB  I would not recommend having your hearing aids anywhere near water or where they could be damaged but am thankful my pair stood that terrifying ordeal.

 

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.

 


  

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Different, Unique, Priceless

Why don't people see the potential in different or in disabled? It is absolutely down to awareness, understanding and attitude in my opinion. As a little girl my parents made sure I...

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Emotion and Music to my Ears

I have had some additional personal challenges recently with the reality that my first trusty and gorgeous guide dog Unis is retiring early and that I will continue my journey...

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ReSound LiNX² to ReSound LiNX3D - En…

For the last two years I have raved about ReSound LiNX² smart hearing aids and rightly so, they literally changed my life. I would be lying if I didn't say "REALLY...

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Applewatch for kids

I recently received an email enquiry from the Mum of a 9 year old son living with Usher syndrome.   I regularly receive email from others living with the condition I’m...

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Usher Syndrome Children's Event - Se…

Since my young daughter was diagnosed with Usher syndrome 5 years ago I had never met another child or family living with Usher syndrome here in the UK. I'd been lucky enough...

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Is the NHS listening? Usher Syndrom…

We met a lovely lady from Northern Ireland at a Molly Watt Trust ‘In it Together’ event in Edinburgh in October 2015, she has been a hearing aid user since...

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The love of Unis

Unis came into my life when I was 16 years old.  Looking back I know I did not thoroughly embrace her, I also acknowledge the constant bullying and questioning of...

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A Visit to ATOS London Offices

I recently visited the ATOS London Offices, for an appointment set up by my Mum, Jane. We were there to meet with Dr McKillop to discuss varying issues and negative experiences...

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Mario's day to day life with Usher S…

My day to day life with Usher Syndrome (Retinitis Pigmentosa) is a constant fluctuation between moments where I can ‘get by’ and moments in which my disability presents real challenges...

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Disjointed Care or Digital Data?

I was delighted to be invited to meet with Digital.Health London to discuss a variety of things relating to my journey with the NHS and the various services. It certainly got...

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Bali - Sound Sensations

At the end of my work and networking trip to the other side of the world, Mum and I decided on a a trip to the beautiful island of Bali...

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Usher Syndrome / Christmas Challenge…

Hello, my name is Josh Parker and I have Usher Syndrome type 3. Most of you reading this probably already have an idea what Usher Syndrome is, so I’ll keep...

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A toolkit to enable deafblind to acc…

San Francisco in November was an amazing experience, not just because I got to speak in Silicon Valley to some of the very top people in digital at Qcon I...

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Singapore Airlines - Never again

I blogged about my not just poor but disgraceful treatment by Singapore Airline cabin staff on 13 November during my flight, Heathrow to Singapore.  I very unpleasant start to travel...

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Singapore Airlines a Very Unpleasant…

13th November, the start of my adventure to the other side of the world.  It had been just two days since Mum and I had come off a plane from San...

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Deafness makes you more blind

My name is Colin Hetherington and I suffer with Usher Syndrome which is retinitis pigmentosa (blindness) which gives me all sorts of daily troubles from glare tonight blindness, headaches flashing...

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Facebook - Anti Social Media!

Dear Facebook I am a 22 year old who struggles with accessibility. I am registered deafblind, however, I was not born deafblind but deaf.  What that means, to you, is that I...

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iOS10 Accessibility

Dynamic text galore! As we all know Apple products, get fairly regular software updates.  I had read and heard a few things about iOS 10, but was intending on waiting to experience...

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My Trip to Parliament

My partner Lyn decided that we should head for the big smoke to celebrate my 50th Birthday.  We are both have guide dog owners and both love London. I used to...

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University: To Listen, to Learn, to …

I have been asked over and over why I didn't complete my initial dream to be a primary school teacher and for some time it was a sore subject, however...

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I was hopeful but disappointed

My hopeful journey into the Wireless Bluetooth hearing aid world.   With Danalogic ifit cs71w hearing aids, Resound phone clip+ and a mini mic. I started off by asking my local NHS ...

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Being an Usher Mum

Being an Ushers Mum.  In 2011 I went for routine eye appointment and after a small discussion, the optician wanted to refer me for some tests.  I immediately had an in house...

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BA listened please listen more

After my recent report regarding very unacceptable treatment whilst flying British Airways Premium Economy to Las Vegas in May I’m very pleased to announce that they have at least changed...

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Centre Stage Applewatch

AppleWatch and smart technology are brilliant for people with Usher Syndrome!  I have Usher Syndrome, which means I was born deaf and in the last ten years I have lost most...

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Unacceptable Audiology

I have Usher Syndrome, I am deafblind and my condition is degenerative. The fact that it gets worse and my abilities change all the time means that I have to make...

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Life is a Rollercoaster

As part of my ‘rollercoaster ride’ I have experienced huge ups and downs over the years. A husband and four children comes with challenges but nothing out of the ordinary accept...

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Molly Addressing Accessibility with …

My outward journey to Las Vegas was nowhere near the way it should have been. The necessary call to ‘special assistance’ had been made by my mum prior to the trip...

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Usher to Usher

I hope you don't mind but after researching usher's syndrome and RP I came across your blog and I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Bethanie (or Beth), I'm...

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Applewatch for Award Winning Paracli…

Hi I am John Churcher and I have Usher syndrome type 2. I have always had a hearing loss and was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of 14...

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Safe and Secure with Accessible Ring…

About a month ago The Ring Video Doorbell was brought to my attention and I was asked if I'd like to try it. I love technology, particularly assistive and enabling technology. What...

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2…

Usher Syndrome for me means my whole world is accessed via accessible assistive technology. A year ago to the day I was fitted with Resound Linx2 hearing aids.  It has been...

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Learning from each other - 'In it To…

Walsall 2016 'Hear no. See no, Techno' Jo Milne, Colin Hetherington and Me. Once again we were blessed with a room full of people all on similar journeys.  With Usher Syndrome or RP...

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Ready to meet others with Usher Synd…

I decided I would like to meet some fellow ushers as never met anyone and my sight has been steadily getting worse . I had support worker for blind visit...

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Why Access to Social Media Matters

I have been asked many times what my favourite social media is and why and my answer is always Twitter. The reasons I like Twitter are firstly from an accessibility view...

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What is in a logo

We are often complimented on our logo. Molly designed the logo for our charity. Below she describes how and why she designed it. The first thing you will notice is the Molly Watt...

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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...

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San Francisco Adventure

San Francisco had been on my long list of places to visit and I was lucky enough to go on a girls only adventure with Mum and my younger sister...

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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...

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When a Picture is more than a Pictur…

Taking a photo to me is not just a picture, its capturing a moment, capturing sight I no longer have.   I take a picture and then take it apart to...

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Applewatch Awesome but Hearing Aids …

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...

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Applewatch Accessibility and Connect…

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...

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A Simple Tap or Touch can Mean so Mu…

Something I am often asked at my presentations is what is the best and most acceptable way to approach or get the attention of a deafblind person. My answer would be...

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Linx2, Earbuds, Earpods - Definitely…

I recently read a piece virtually comparing hearing aids with earBuds / EarPods and hearing aids with glasses! I read the piece several times and still thought it strange.  I'm 21...

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Me, Myself & My Guide Dog x 3 - …

Recently I was invited to appear at the Sense Awards at Kings Cross London.  I had been nominated by friends and colleagues from the Usher Syndrome and RP Community, I have...

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Josh Dealing with Usher Syndrome Typ…

Josh’ Blog for The Molly Watt Trust Hi, I’m Josh. I’m 22 years old and I have Usher Syndrome type 3. I was born with normal hearing and vision, unlike most...

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The Jekyll & Hyde of Usher Syndr…

I had never heard of Usher Syndrome until I worked with a girl who has it.   If I’m honest I saw her come in and out with her guide dog...

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Can Deafblind Access Wayfindr?

An audible App or program for the blind, accessible to deafblind, using hearing aids? There was a time when accessing such a thing would have been impossible and in my lifetime...

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"Access to Tweet, Tweet to Acce…

I was delighted to see that at last Facebook allows dynamic text for those of us who use iOS and rely on it. Finally those who had been isolated from family...

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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...

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Please, Please, Please Consider All …

I was prompted to write a blog on reading this quote:  “For people without disabilities,technology makes life easier.  For people with disabilities technology makes things possible” (IBM training manual 1991). That quote...

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Edinburgh Social Event 3 October 201…

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...

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Usher Syndrome - The Importance of A…

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...

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Bradley Timepiece - Usher friendly timepiece - Molly Watt Trust

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