Hearing Loss & Wearables

What are wearables, you ask? Simply put, they are smart devices that you wear on your wrist such as a smart watch like an Apple Watch or a fitness tracker like a FitBit. Many wearables have the capability to receive notifications – which would be a great asset for the deaf and hard of hearing.

I myself have a Pebble smartwatch and I love it. Whatever push notifications that my phone gets, I get on my watch. Text messages, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Even my credit card app gives me notifications. If I get a notification that my credit card was used to make a payment, I get it on my watch too.

How would this help the deaf, you ask? Because we cannot stay tied to our phones 24/7. Eventually, we have to charge the phone sometimes, right? This is where the wearable comes in handy. While my phone is charging, I can still receive notifications from my watch so as long as I stay within Bluetooth range of my phone, which is 30 feet. That’s about two rooms in a typical house or apartment. Still plenty of space to move around.

While I have not personally tested this yet, another good reason for the deaf and hard of hearing to have a wearable is to have a smart smoke alarm, smart carbon monoxide detector and a smart doorbell all in sync with your phone. This way, if smoke or carbide monoxide is detected or someone is at the door, a notification will appear on your phone and you will get it on your wearable as well.

One thing I love about my Pebble is that I use an app called Nav Me for Pebble to navigate on my road trips. It works in sync with Google Maps. Every time I’m nearing a turn or exit, my watch vibrates to let me know I’m getting close to the exit or turn. No longer do I have to keep constantly looking at the GPS unit to see if I’m getting close to the exit because I cannot hear the voice navigation. Nav Me is only avilable for Pebble, but I’m sure other smart watches have their own navigation apps that is similar to Nav Me.

While I love my Pebble smartwatch, I can’t recommend it because it is now discontinued. Support for the Pebble watch will end in 2018 and Pebble is no longer sold in stores though you might be able to find them on eBay. However, there are plenty of other wearables on the market. To decide which one works best for you, check out this review site that reviews all type of wearables out there and can give you a general idea of what is out there for what you want the wearable to do.

If you have thought about getting a wearable, I recommend getting one because it is a great assistive device for the deaf & hard of hearing. Any questions, let me know and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Until next time, stay tuned 🙂

New Bike Purchase & May 11 ride

On Wednesday, I went over to the Marinette Cycle Center to look at some road bikes and found one that I liked, but they didn’t have that model in my favorite color, which is black, so it’s on order It’s a Trek flat handlebar road bike. I’m not one to ride bent over on the curved handlebars. My back can’t handle that for a long distance. So I went with the flat handlebar road bike, which should not be too much different from riding my mountain bike, which also has a flat handlebar. I’ll receive the bike on Monday and am looking forward to taking it out.

As for my workout this week, I missed Tuesday’s ride because I had a loose wheel on the bike and didn’t feel like repairing it at the time nor did I feel like going to Planet Fitness for a workout. So I skipped Tuesday’s scheduled workout.

I made up for missing Tuesday’s workout with a harder ride today. I fixed the loose wheel on the bike, then rode 8.5 miles in 39:56 for an average speed of 12.9 mph. I rode from my house near Henes Park to all the way to Red Arrow Park. I stopped at Red Arrow Park for a quick water break. I currently don’t have a water bottle that I can open, drink and close with one hand while in motion. So I took a quick 5 minute break at Red Arrow, then rode home.

And I rode hard too to maintain the 12.9 average speed. If I can do that on a mountain bike, imagine what I can do on a road bike. I’m so looking forward to getting my road bike.

Pictured below is what my Pebble smart watch looks like when paired with the Strava app. Once I started the ride on the app, I didn’t have to touch my phone once and controlled the app from my watch. It was great.

If the weather cooperates on Saturday, I hope to go for a longer, but more leisurely ride. I’m hoping to do 12 miles. Stay tuned. 

May 6 Workout

I have not ridden since Tuesday because Wednesday and Friday were my rest days and I wasn’t motivated to ride on Thursday even though the weather was nice. Motivation is still my biggest issue when it comes to my training for the Menominee River Century. 

Even today, I still felt like ass mashing on the couch, but then I thought, “Fuck it, let’s get out there and ride.”

So I hopped on the bike and started riding. There was a nice north wind of about 16 mph, which would make for both an easy ride with the wind and a tough ride against it.

Initially, I decided to just ride a few loops around the 1.25 mile Henes Park trail. But there was just too many mayflies out there and I was getting a nice diet of them. I had to cover my mouth for much of the ride around Henes Park. I was like, fuck it, let’s ride on the road away from the mayflies at Henes Park.

The problem with the Marinette – Menominee area is that there is no bike trails at all. Sure there is Red Arrow and Henes Park, but both bike trails are like a mile or so.

So I just stuck to the bike route on M-35 and US-41. I had a nice wind assisted ride, going from Henes Park to all the way near Veterans Memorial Park in Menominee. I wanted to keep going to Fat Ladies Beach, which was another mile from that point, but I knew I would have a very difficult headwind on the way back, so I turned around before reaching Veteran’s Memorial Park.

The headwind was very brutal. I barely could crack a speed of 10 mph on the return trip. It took me a while to get back to my house, which is near Henes Park. 

At one point in the ride, I had to stop to tie my shoes and paused the Strava Riding app on my phone using my watch. But I forgot to restart the app once I got going again and didn’t realize it until I went about 3/4 of a mile.

Officially, my stats for today’s ride  was 8.3 miles in 43:45. I figure I would add about another 3 minutes for that 3/4 of a mile that I didn’t record. 

Not a bad workout for my longest ride of the season. 

Hopefully the wind will not be too bad the next time I go riding, but even it is, I’ll go out anyways. There is no guarantee that it won’t be windy on the day of the Menominee River Century.

For my next ride, I’m thinking of throwing my bike in my truck and take it to a bike trail somewhere. Hopefully the weather is good on Tuesday.

Getting there.

Cycling recap & Strava quick review

On June 25th, the Menominee River Century takes place. It’s an annual ride that goes through scenic routes in the Marinette and Menominee area. More info is in the link that I just provided. 

I have not ridden in this ride in years, mainly because of work. This year, I still have to work on the day of the ride, but I decided to do it anyways. I’m just doing the 25 mile route though so I can work then do the ride.

I started training on April 25th and posted my progress on my Facebook. I decided to do a quick recap of my training from my Facebook posts in this post as follows:

April 25th – Day 1 of training for the Menominee River Century: Rode 4.65 miles in 22:58. Doesn’t seem like much, but it’s my first ride of the spring. I’m planning on riding the 25 mile route at the MRC, which is on June 25, exactly 2 months from today.

Just have to keep the motivation to keep riding. Next ride is Thursday. Tomorrow is rest day.

April 27th – Today was supposed to be day 2 of my training for the Menominee River Century. But because of the rain, I went to Planet Fitness, signed up, and rode a stationary bike for 35 minutes (set by my training schedule). According to the computer, I rode 7.1 miles in those 35 minutes. And nothing like a little AC/DC on my iPod to motivate me to keep going until the 35 minutes were up

April 29th –  Day 3 of my training for the Menominee River Century. Went to Planet Fitness again. 5 miles in 23 minutes. Shorter ride than the other day, but a harder workout with an increased level on the stationary bike.

I would rather ride outside, but not at 35 degrees. 

Getting there.

May 2nd –  Day 4 of my training. Shitty weather again. Been raining off and on all week. Still only 40 degrees. Went to Planet Fitness again. Good workout. 35 minutes (7 miles) on the stationary bike and 5 minutes (.25 mile) on the treadmill. 

Getting there. Baby steps.

That recaps the week of training. Now I want to write about an app called Strava. While I have not fully had a chance to really use it, I do like what I’ve seen so far. I needed a riding app for my phone that would sync with my Pebble smart watch. MapMyRide, which was my previous cycling app, was not compatible with my Pebble smart watch. So I looked at apps that would work with Pebble. Strava was one of them.

Even though today (May 3rd) was supposed to be rest day, I decided to give Strava a try for the first time. I mounted my phone on my bike’s handlebar, started Strava on my phone and off I went. As soon as I started Strava on my phone, the display popped up on my Pebble smart watch automatically. I loved that because about a minute into the ride, the phone screen went to sleep because it wasn’t being used, but the app kept running in the background. My Pebble smart watch still displayed the data on it. The speed, mileage, and time of the ride. All there. I loved that. No longer do I have to keep tapping the phone screen to keep it awake. I could set my phone screen to stay on for good, but that poses a security issue. If the phone gets lost or stolen, anyone could get into it because there would be no lock screen to get into.

In addition to that, if I wanted to pause the ride for a break, I can do it right from my watch. A quick click of the button on my watch and the app on the phone is paused 🙂 No more wasting time to enter the lock code on my phone just to pause the ride.

It’s just a matter of determining accuracy on the app. During the test ride on the app, I rode 7/10 of a mile for 4 minutes, which is an average speed of 11.8 mph. I wasn’t trying hard either. I just wanted to do a light ride to test the app. 

Once I get Strava fully figured out, I’ll post a full review on it in the near future. For now, I love the app. 

Stay tuned for future updates as I continue my training for the Menominee River Century 🙂