Use Hearing in Place of Seeing

Use Hearing in Place of Seeing

Posted under Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

When there is a loss of vision, the natural tendency is to want to restore what’s been lost through better prescription glasses, higher magnification, or improved lighting.  All of these strategies are certainly helpful for seeing better but they are not the only strategy for maintaining independence for those with low vision.  My father-in-law has wet macular degeneration and although he has a large number watch with bold black numbers contrasted on a white background, it’s actually the voice feature he depends on the most.  He has it set so that the watch states the time on the hour and anytime in between he can simply press a button and hear what time it is.  Peggy R. Wolfe, the author of Vision Loss, Strategies for Living with Hope and Independence  has lived with wet macular degeneration for many years.  She writes, “As your sight diminishes hearing becomes more and more important.”  You may not be aware of the many talking devices that are available for everyday activities that can be substitutes for sight.  Here are some commonly used ones for those with low vision.


For Cooking

Talking timers

Talking microwaves

Talking kitchen scales

A liquid level that beeps when the cup or glass is nearly full

Talking food thermometers with a voice alert that notifies you as the set temperature approaches, and when the food is done.

A liquid boil alert is a disc that is placed in a pot that will rattle when the water is boiling and prevents water from boiling over.


For Your Health

Talking thermometers

Talking blood pressure monitors

Talking scales


For Reading

Talking books are available through the Free Talking Books Program, on CD’s that can be purchased or found at your local library, or through downloadable audible books to an electronic device.  For those using the Free Talking Books program an amplifier is available for those with hearing loss.


For Managing Time

Talking watches or clocks that state not only the time but the day and date


For Managing Finances

Talking Calculators

A Free bill reader is available to those with low vision from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.  Simple to use, just place the corner of the bill into the device and it will state the currency amount. There is an adjustable volume control if you have problems hearing the announcement.  Call 844-815-9388 for more information.


A free guide written by Daniel Roberts the founding director of MD Support, Inc teaches those with low vision how to use their non-visual senses to maintain independence and to perform everyday activities:

A Self-Help Guide to Non-Visual Skills


Leslie Degner, RN, BSN