5 Important Factors To Consider When Selecting Talking Watches For The Visually Impaired

One of the key things people miss when they become visually impaired or blind is the ability to know what time it is. It can be very frustrating to keep asking for the time especially for someone living in a nursing home or assisted living facility where there is not someone around to ask at all times. And if the visually impaired person must be somewhere (for example in dialysis or in the cafeteria) at a certain time on a regular bases, he or she really wants to know what time it is.

One of the best ways to solve this problem is with talking watches or a talking alarm clock.

5 important things to consider in selecting a talking watch for the visually impaired are summarized below:

Low Vision Aids - Talking Watch by ReizenNumber of Buttons:

To someone that is visually impaired, the number and location of the buttons ontalking watches is a big deal. The fewer buttons the talking watch has, the better. However, even if there is more than one button, the positioning of those buttons is paramount.

For example, if you get a talking watch with 4 buttons and they are positioned symmetrically with 2 buttons on each side in the same relative positions, how will a visually impaired or blind person going to know if the watch in on upside right or upside down? If the talking watch is on upside, and the person hits the wrong button, will it screw up the settings? How will they reset the watch properly if they can’t see it? Generally, a one-button talking watch or two-button talking watches will have the buttons on one side only which prevents this problem.

Also, the more buttons the talking watch has, the more difficult it is too learn.

Setting The Time:

A key issue with any kind of watch, not just talking watches, with a visually impaired or blind person is how they will set the time correctly. For this reason, you may want to consider atomic talking watches which will automatically set the time, day, date, daylight savings, and even world time zone all by itself. This is certainly the easiest option. By the way, I have not found any atomic watches with less than 4 buttons, and these buttons are symmetric. Check the Resource Box for a way to solve the “4 Symmetrical Buttons” issue.

Wind-Up Versus  Battery Power Talking Watches:

Assuming you have selected the number of buttons and addressed how your visually impaired loved one will set the watch, you need to consider if they will are cognizant and responsible enough to wind it regularly. Will he or she wind it daily (and not over wind it), or should you get a battery-powered watch? If you choose to get an atomic talking watch, this decision is made for you;
they are all battery-powered.

Volume and Voice:

Fortunately, most visually impaired people have a keen sense of hearing (sort of an adaptation response to losing the sense of sight), and they can hear talking watches pretty well. However, many talking watches have a tinny or low volume setting with no ability to change the volume level. For this reason, you should consider whether you want a man’s voice or lady’s voice and how loud the watch will play. You should also consider what will carry best in the typical noise environment and living conditions where the visually impaired person lives.

Sometimes a talking pendant watch is the best choice.How Do You Carry Your Talking Watch:

The world of talking watches is not just limited to a talking wrist watch; you can also get a talking pendant watch to hang around your neck or a talking pocket watch which you carry in your pocket. This could be a simple preference of the person getting the watch, or there may be important considerations.

For example, my mother wants to know how much longer her 3-hour dialysis sessions have to go until she can move again. So a talking pendant watch would tend to fall to her side where she can’t get to it when she is reclined for
dialysis, and a talking pocket watch would be difficult to get out of her pocket. Of course, most women’s clothes don’t have pockets. A talking pendant watch, on the other hand, can easily be worn around your neck making it easier to put on and take off than a talking wrist watch.

Click this link to see all 10 things to consider when selecting talking watches, and actually hear a talking watch in my Free Video.

Written by Dr. Bryan Stoker

How Atomic Talking Watches & Atomic Talking Clocks Work

How atomic talking watches workAs people get older, they tend to become visually impaired and need low vision aids such as talking watches. But if you think about it for about 10 seconds, you will quickly realize … if it is difficult to “see” a normal watch, it will also be difficult to “set” the time and date on the watch. Thus, you might
want a talking watch that sets itself automatically.

In other words, you need an Atomic talking watch or clock.

An atomic watch offers several benefits in addition to setting the day and
date itself. For example, they are battery-powered, so you don’t have to wind
them. You can set the time standard by which country you are currently visiting. Atomic talking watches or clocks adjust automatically for daylight savings, and all the atomic talking watches I have seen include an alarm feature. Furthermore, atomic talking watches by Riezen even include a free audio cassette with instructions on how to use your atomic talking watch for the visually impaired … their customers typically can’t read the tiny print on most instruction sheets.


Atomic watches and clocks include a tiny antenna and receiver inside that receives a radio signal transmitted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) out of Fort Collins, Colorado.

The signal is broadcast from the radio station WWVB at 1 bit per second data rate on a 60 kHz radio frequency with 50 kW transmit power. The signal originates from an atomic clock residing in Boulder, Colorado at NIST which is accurate to 1 second in 60 million years. With 50 kW of transmit power at this radio frequency, the signal covers a radius of
approximately 2,000 miles making the signal receivable throughout the continental United States and much of Canada and Central America.


Incidentally, the time code is sent using Binary Coded Decimal (BCD) format containing minutes, hours, day of the year, and the year as well as daylight savings time and leap year information. Thus, you don’t need to adjust your
atomic talking watch for daylight savings times or leap years. However, you will need to tell it your current time zone (e.g., east coast U.S.).


If you travel overseas, the U.S. time signal will not reach your watch. However, there are atomic time radio signals transmitted from other countries as well. Not all atomic talking watches or clocks will pick and interpret these non-U.S. time signals. If this is important to you, be sure to check on this before you buy.

Of course, most visually impaired or low vision people who really need a talking watch do not need to know “how” an atomic talking watch works; they just need to know that it does work and more importantly, they don’t have to bother setting the time or date or adjust it for daylight savings or leap years. Furthermore, most don’t travel overseas and all atomic talking watches use batteries, so the visually impaired don’t even have to remember to wind the watch; they just need to know which button to push to hear the time.


Atomic talking watches set the day, date, and time automatically, but there are still lots of things you can do with the buttons. If you would like to read more about what you can do or if you lost directions for your atomic talking watch, you can find an online copy of atomic talking watch instructions here.

Written by Dr. Bryan Stoker

From Low Vision Aids,

Hear A Talking Watch in this FREE VIDEO

Atomic talking watches set the day, date, and time automatically, but there’s still lots you can do with them. You can read an online copy of Atomic Talking Watch Instructions here.

Choose from lots of great stuff for the deaf, visually impaired, and low mobility here: Products For Independent Living

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