According to Deloitte, smartphone penetration in Australia is at almost the highest level in the world, at 88% in 2017. They’re so useful I reckon penetration among FAers should be 100%.
Here are just three apps I have on my phone that are particularly useful considering that I have FA (there are lots of different versions of each of these you should be able to find one that’s free):
Flashlight: Humans primarily use three functions to balance. 1. The vestibular system, the three interlocked, liquid-filled little rings inside our ears. 2. Feedback from whatever part of our body is in contact with the ground (usually our feet). And 3. Eyesight. With FA the first two deteriorate quite dramatically so we tend to rely disproportionally on sight. If your mobile phone has a flash, you can install an app that controls it as a flashlight. So long as you have your phone with you, you’ll always have access to light. This is invaluable. (Personally, I have my phone on a lanyard around my neck, so I can have a light on and two hands free if needed).
Heart rate monitor: Dr Lynch says that when death is caused by FA, in more than 65% of cases it’s directly attributable to heart complications. The two complications most common in FAers are 1. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (thickening of the walls of the heart) and 2. Tachycardia and/or Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heartbeat/heart rate that goes bananas from time to time). The good news is that because heart complications are an issue for so many non-FAers too, there’s lots of care available. FAers who attend the Brisbane Clinic will be having an annual echocardiogram (where they monitor for cardiomyopathy) and perhaps also 24-hr holter monitoring (where they monitor for tachycardia and/or atrial fibrillation). It’s worth installing a heart rate monitor app on your phone so if ever your heart feels like it’s racing you can check if it’s really so, and be able to tell your cardiologist at your next appointment.
Sound level app: The hearing issue most often experienced by FAers is difficulty isolating a sound (like the voice of someone you’re having a conversation with) when in a noisy environment. Again, we’re fortunate that high levels of ambient noise are increasingly being recognised as hazardous to all and there are apps available to monitor the situation. My favourite is Soundprint which not only lets you monitor where you are but also post a note for other users. Consequently there are results already posted by users all over the world, including Australia, that you can check before you go out.
What other apps do you find useful in living with FA?