How to Select Talking Watches
For The Visually Impaired
Things I Discovered When My Visually Impaired Mother Needed One Of
Those Talking Watches
you are interested in talking watches for someone who is blind or
visually impaired, you may want to see the "Important
Factors To Consider"
I discovered when I was looking for a talking watch for my mother.
If you ever get diabetes, do everything you can to delay the
symptoms it creates. My mother has been visually impaired for just a couple of
years now, because the capillaries in her retinas have collapsed.
several experimental drug injections, but just recently, she went completely
blind. She says it's not as bad as you would think since she is now living in
a nursing home, but she got really excited last weekend when my wife asked
here if she would like to have one of those talking watches.
We took her out to eat at Cracker
Barrel for her 77th birthday, and we had almost given
up on giving her a birthday present since there's not much room in a nursing
home room ... especially when you have to keep your wheelchair there with you.
But after I saw how excited she was about talking watches ...
especially since she's been visually impaired and hasn't even seen a watch in
the two years ... I just had to get her one.
The problem is which talking watch is is best for her?
There are lots to choose from ... you can get talking wrist
watches, a talking pocket watch, or a talking pendant watch. You get wind-up
talking watches, atomic talking watches, and different kinds of watch bands.
After thinking about it for awhile, I came up with a list of important factors
to think about, and I thought this list might be valuable to other visually
impaired or blind people.
I didn't much care about a nice quality watch for a very
reasonable price. If you want, you can see it and hear it talk in my video
below. I don't think we could have found a better birthday present. My mother
is proud of it, and doesn't have to feel like she's bugging people all the
Here's my list of important stuff to think about when
buying talking watches for the visually impaired:
4 Buttons, 2 Buttons, or One Button
Most of the talking watches I found had 4 buttons: 2 on each
side. The thing that bugged me about that was ... I thought my mother would
likely put it on and take it off every day since she has dialysis through her
left forearm ... and she wouldn't want to ask someone to put it on for her.
What if she put it on upside down? ... With two buttons in the same place on both
sides, how would she know?
She can't see it. What if it's upside down, she pushes the
wrong button, and it goes into some funky mode?
The online ads don't even tell
you what the 4 buttons are for. I could just see her trying to get the nurses,
assistants, and social workers to fix it back to normal ... and she ends up
frustrated with a watch that doesn't work. She just doesn't need that
aggravation at her age.
I thought the best option was talking watches with just one
button ... or at least buttons on just one side ... so she could tell the
watch is on right and she hits the write button.
Setting The Time On A Talking Watch You
Since I got wrapped up in the thought about too many buttons
screwing up the settings, I started to wonder ... how would a visually
impaired or blind person set the time in the first place?
I decided my mother shouldn't have to set the time or get
someone else to either. She should have on atomic talking watch that sets
itself and even adjusts automatically for daylight savings time.
Having figured out I
wanted a one button atomic talking watch for her, the problem was I
couldn't any ... there are no atomic talking watches with just one
button! But I came up with a solution ... watch the video to see what
Wind Up Versus Battery-Power Talking
Since I chose an atomic talking watch that sets itself, this
decision is almost made for me. If she has a battery-operated talking watch,
she never has to worry about winding it up each day. I would hate to be blind
and push the button and realize I forgot to wind it up ...
"Where's the nurse?
I need the time set again ..."
Talking Pendant Watch, Talking Pocket
Watch, or Talking Wrist Watch:
The next question is where is she going to wear it?
mentioned above, you can get a talking wrist watch or you can get a talking
pendant watch you wear around your neck, or a talking pocket watch. In the
nursing home, my mother rarely wears anything with pockets, so a talking
pocket watch was not an option. I guess you could put the pocket watch on a
necklace and wear it around your neck, but I thought a talking pendant watch might get tangled up with the
dialysis cables and tubes ... or fall down to the side where she couldn't
check the time during dialysis.
That was important, because lying perfectly still for 3 hours
during dialysis sucks, and I think she really wanted to be able to see how
much longer before she's free again.
Plus, if you have a safety alert pendant,
it could get tangled up with a talking pendant watch. Safety alert necklaces
tend to be lightweight too, so if it got tangled up and broke the safety alert
necklace, that could be really dangerous ... Or it could accidentally set off
the safety alert. So, Mom got a talking wrist watch.
Talking Watch Band Types:
Since I chose a talking wrist watch, I had to pick a type of
watch band. They come in leather bands, "Slap Straps" (which are
kinda cool), and metal stretch bands. I can't fasten leather bands myself, and
I can see! So, getting the stretch band was an easy decision. I could have
gotten a "slap strap" which is a straight band that wraps itself
around your wrist when you gently slap it on against your arm; they are cool
and probably work pretty good, but they cost an extra $10; I wasn't sure my
mother would like them or not.
Shock Resistant Talking Watches:
I thought shock resistant talking watches would be best for a
visually impaired or blind person in a nursing home with all hard surface
floors, but none of the ads I was said anything about shock resistance. So, I
had to take my chances on that.
Alarm Talking Watches:
Some of the talking watches have an alarm feature, but I
wondered if you are visually impaired enough to think about talking watches,
how can you see well enough to set the alarm? Later, I discovered the watch
talks to you as you set the alarm, but I didn't know that at the time ... I
guessed you could get someone else to set the alarm for you, but what if you
hit the wrong button again and screw it all up? In the nursing home, the
nurses and aides tell my mother every time she needs to be somewhere; so she
didn't need an alarm talking watch.
Volume & Voice On Talking Watches:
Now these features are important. It can be a bit noisy in a
nursing home during the day especially with dialysis machines all around you.
Plus, many older people can't hear that well either; that's not a problem for
my mother, but it is something to consider before buying a talking watch.
One of the reasons I selected the talking watch I bought was because someone
wrote the following review:
I purchased [this talking watch] for my
blind father. He is totally dependent on it. He can't accidentally change the
time as he did with other talking watches. The voice is male and easy for
him to hear. Some of the talking watches have acomputerized
voice, some a woman's and both of those were hard for him to hear. -
T. Beauchamp -
If you want to hear the talking watch for yourself, play the
video on this page.
Waterproof Talking Watches:
I thought it would be nice to get a waterproof talking
watch. There are no truly waterproof talking watches, there are water
resistant talking watches, but most of the ads didn't say anything about water resistance, and it
wasn't really necessary. I did find a few water resistant talking watches, however; you can see it in the
Specialty Talking Watches box on this page.
Size, Color, & Men's Talking Watches Versus
Women's Talking Watches:
These were all features I didn't think mattered very much for
a visually impaired or blind person. Even with women's talking watches, the
face tends to be fairly large so the numbers are more visible; so what's the
difference? That said, there is a large selection of men's talking watches and
women's talking watches available; check the Specialty box on this
page to see some of them.
NOTE: None of the
atomic talking watches come in men's versus women's styles; they all use
These are the most important features I came up with, and my
Mom loves her new atomic
talking watch. This is the talking
watch I got her and it even comes with a cassette that explains how to use
So, you can see and hear the talking watch
firsthand (including my solution to the one-button issue I mentioned earlier), I made a short video you can watch. Just click the picture below to
Video: Talking Watches For The Visually Impaired Or Blind
Wishing you the best,
Dr. Bryan Stoker
Founder & President
The article above presents the features I
found to be most important when selecting talking watches for someone that is
visually impaired or blind, and the links in the "Specialty Box" are
my "Best Picks" for each category. However, you can also click here
and look up whatever unique features you like in talking watches.