A smart speaker with tomatoes, onions, and avocados around it

Using Smart Speakers With Low Vision

Last updated: September 2022

I have had dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) for 7 years now. As it has progressed to the intermediate stage, I am finding it more difficult to cook, watch television, read, or enjoy hobbies.

I have invested in brighter lighting, bought a larger phone and iPad, and purchased the largest television that would fit in my space. Even with these aids, I struggle with my vision.

Alexa Echo for low vision

I recently purchased an air fryer with Wi-Fi capability. I love how it cooks. With it, I can cook healthy meals good for my eyes.

My big problem is with the display. It is not backlit and I can’t read the display. My brother gave me an Alexa Echo smart speaker; problem solved!

It took me a while to link the Alexa Echo to my air fryer. I am not tech savvy but YouTube videos helped me figure it out.

It’s truly amazing to use. I can say “Alexa air fry at 400 degrees for 15 minutes” and the air fryer is programmed to my instructions. When it’s finished cooking it texts me a message.

Using Echo to read from apps

We like to listen to a daily Bible devotion which the smart speaker will play for us. I can no longer read my hard copy Bible. I linked a Bible app with the Alexa Echo and have the speaker read any passage for me.

I can still read giant text on my iPad. I also have chronic dry eye and often can’t read very long at a time.

The Alexa Echo can read Kindle books to me. It starts at the last page I read. I can go back and forth between my iPad and the Alexa Echo and pickup where I left off.

Using Alexa Echo for recipes

Using the Recipe Speak app, Alexa can read your recipe to you. It’s very simple.

  • Create an account at recipespeak.com
  • Copy the url for the recipe you want to save
  • Upload recipe to Recipe Speak by pasting the url
  • Click save and you are done

To use with Alexa Echo, you must link your recipe account with the device. Now you are set to ask Alexa to read a specific recipe.

You can say “Alexa, ask Recipe Speak to find the recipe for Chicken Alfredo.” You can ask Alexa to read your recipe, pause, go back, repeat, and more.

Watching television

My Samsung television came Alexa equipped. I have a 70” screen and still can’t read the menu. Alexa can read the menu for me. I can also ask Alexa to play a particular program, control the volume, or change channels.

What’s next?

My next purchase will be a microwave that is Alexa enabled. Low vision isn’t my only challenge with appliances. I have osteoarthritis in my hands. At times my finger tips are so painful I can’t push buttons on a  display.

For those that can afford them, many large appliances come smart speaker equipped. When shopping make sure it is compatible with your smart speaker.

If you use a smart speaker in your home because of low vision, share ways you use it in a comment below.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MacularDegeneration.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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