I was born with arthrogryposis, a non-progressive form of muscular dystrophy. The condition enfeebles your bones and causes multiple joint contractures. I’ve always been confined to a wheelchair and I’ve always used a headstick (a.k.a. “typing wand”) to type/write/draw. While I’m not paralyzed, I have very limited use of my hands. Talking on the phone was never an option growing up, unless the receiver was on the floor with me. I never had a strong desire to talk more on the phone. That is, until, technology allowed me to do so without struggling to position the phone in such a way that I could hear the person on the other end and keep the phone still without wrenching my neck.
I’ve tried several hands-free alternatives. Regrettably, it was difficult finding an earpiece that was comfortable and mechanically proficient. Most earpieces that cohere to receivers are afflictive little buggers. I couldn’t wear one for longer than 30 minutes. My ear would eventually get too sore to bear. What’s more, the friends and relatives that I was conversing with complained that they could barely hear me. This was especially frustrating whenever I would try to make a prank call. I felt like I was pulling a prank on myself.
When I got my first cell phone, I finally found a solution to my galling problem. Bluetooth wireless technology, a short-range communications system that does away with incommodious cables, was the answer to my prayers. Well, I didn’t actually pray about it, but you get the idea. My Bluetooth earpiece is voice-activated, and most importantly, it can recognize any voice. If I want to dial a number, I say, “Digit Dial.” Obviously, I follow that up with the number I want to dial. After establishing a contact list, I can simply say the name of the person that I want to call. The command, “Name Dial,” allows me to call John Whomever by uttering “John.” Other voice commands at my disposal include “Redial,” “Voicemail,” “Received Calls,” and the ability to verbally navigate through my phone to perform any other common action like recording a voicemail message or resetting a password.
The fact that Bluetooth headsets don’t require voice training is a big plus, in my book. I’ve given up on other voice-activated programs due to the tedious process of voice training, which will hopefully become obsolete as more optimized wireless devices are introduced to the public. Now that I can effortlessly call who I want when I want, I’ve discovered that I actually enjoy talking on the phone. That’s scary. It won’t be long before my friends file charges against me for clogging their virtual inboxes with scatterbrained messages that contain everything from maniacal screaming to circus music. Yes, circus music.
I don’t have to worry about volume anymore either. I’m told that I can be heard just fine. In fact, my friends can hear noise that is being stirred up at the other end of the house, and that’s when my bedroom door is shut. Of course, this accessory is also beneficial to those who aren’t severely physically handicapped. Whether you’re constantly on the go or just plain lazy, Bluetooth technology is definitely worth looking into. Moreover, it makes you look cool.