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Tuesday, 21 July 2015 06:18

Technology is Me

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I was recently asked what technology I used before finding apple.

I hadn't thought about it before and now I think of it it's strange that I found apple around the same time as being diagnosed with Usher Syndrome, the two seem to have gone hand in hand from the beginning of my Usher journey, perhaps it was fate!

Before age 12 (diagnosis) and until about age 13 I had used a Nokia and a Motorola Pebble, I'd also played with my Dad's Blackberry, I really struggled and could only use the phone for text as it was impossible to hear on those mobiles, looking back now, thank goodness technology has moved on as there is no way I could possibly cope with any of those handsets as I couldn't see the tiny text on the screens, no such thing as zoom back then, although I do remember I could increase text size on Dad's Blackberry but the buttons were tiny and very fiddly.

I was very lucky to be given the first iPhone 2G as soon as it became available. 

I had been really struggling to access any mobile and my parents were concerned that they couldn't contact me if out.

I felt vulnerable when I went out even though I was always with a friend as I had no confidence to be out alone, being a deafblind teenager was very challenging.

Even back then the first iPhone (2G) offered me access to the Internet and as my blindness set in a new way of accessing information - in fact I'm not sure how my life would have been without this technology.

It seems to have been fate that I got my first MacBook, my friend had one first and her Mum was very familiar with apple and she taught me how to use it, accessibility features and all, and that was that, I've never looked back.

I loved that first MacBook, I've blogged about it before, it really made so much difference to my life.  The isolation I felt as a result of Usher Syndrome was alleviated I had access to the world via the Internet, social media, Skype perfect communication for the deafblind and all from my bedroom and that was just the beginning!

I am now completely reliant on technology.

If I had no hearing aids and no phone or computer I definitely would have no confidence to do anything, I'd be completely isolated by my condition, a very frightening thought.

The extras that have come along via Applewatch and the many apps available has made life more bearable.

I will blog about these extras another day.

I'm fortunate that my life has evolved around a world of technology that just gets better and better and I know I'm lucky to have had access to it.  I am very thankful my parent's were able to help financially.

Step by step my hearing aids have also got better and better, from analogue to digital to the unbelievable 'Smart Hearing Aids" I'm experiencing today, ReSound's Linx2.

At 20 years old I experienced sounds I've never heard before, I've experienced hearsay, I can localise, I can adjust the way I hear in different environments, what I cannot do anymore is hear with my eyes!

My days of lipreading for hours on end went along with my sight but I've gained something new, "Spatial Awareness" something I'd never heard of let alone experienced and it has certainly taken some getting used to.

After 3 months I wonder how I coped without it, it has made that much difference. 

I can now distinguish direction of sound, I can follow sound, I can follow conversation easier. One to one will always be easier but I can now follow small group conversation easier which is great.

I can use my mobile phone as a phone thanks to the Bluetooth capability of my hearing aids.

It means I'm safer, I'm much more confident particularly when I'm out and about with Unis.

The arrival of Applewatch has made me feel safe, perhaps a funny thing to say about a watch but it's easy to access whilst secured on my wrist, the odd glance and taptics to notify me of all I need to know while I'm out and about which means my phone rarely leaves my bag and now to make my life even safer I can pay for lots of things using my watch meaning I rarely have to take out my purse

The fact my new hearing aids are completely compatible with my apple products makes my life easier as all of the technology connected together allows me to access sound and information - it doesn't mean I'm not deafblind it means I have the chance to be an active part of society.

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