Talking products: assistive technology for low-vision or visually impaired users

Talking products are among a growing category of assistive technologies for low-vision or visually impaired users. The need for talking products is likely to increase over the next three decades.

Blindness affects about 43 million people worldwide. Additionally, nearly 300 million people experience low vision or are visually impaired. 33 million cases, or nearly 77% of cases of permanent blindness are either preventable or treatable. Of those persons with low-vision, 260 million people (88%) live with moderate-to-severe visual impairments because they cannot access adequate care or treatment.

While the majority of cases of avoidable blindness and low vision occur in developing countries, about one million people in the United States are blind, and about 11 million people have visual impairment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.2 million Americans over the age of 40 have uncorrectable visual impairments. The CDC predicts that this number will reach 9 million by 2050, due to the prevalence of diabetes and other chronic health conditions.

Lack of regular eye care is one primary cause of low-vision. The CDC estimates that nearly 100 million people in the US are at high risk of becoming visually impaired due, but fewer than half have visited an eyecare professional in the last 12 months.

Early detection of vision problems is essential to treating and preventing vision loss. Experts estimate that 9 out of 10 cases of diabetes-related vision impairment are avoidable if treated early. In a 2005 survey, 70% of respondents said that losing vision would have the greatest negative impact on their daily lives. In the same survey, however, only 11% of respondents said that they knew that conditions like diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma – two leading causes of low-vision or blindness – have no early symptoms.

Talking products for uncorrectable low-vision or vision impairment

For people who are already visually impaired, talking products can help ease the strain of low vision. Additionally, talking products can also help people live safely in their homes as they age.

Talking products are easy to operate and can help individuals monitor their own health, navigate outdoors, tell time and enjoy books, newspapers, magazines and other print materials.

Magnifiers & More offers a line of talking products, including a talking body weight scale, talking atomic clocks that never need adjusting, a talking thermometer, the HumanWare Victor Stream Reader, a talking keychain, a talking personal navigation device, and talking watches. These talking products are indispensable to low-vision and visually impaired users.

In addition to talking products, Magnifiers & More offers a complete line of products designed to help people who struggle with blindness, low vision and vision impairment. Please visit our online low-vision store to browse our entire catalog of low-vision products.