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For Erin Rollins-Pletsch, a teacher living near San Francisco, birding has become a way to escape the challenges of her hearing loss. Initially struggling to adjust to the quieter world around her, she found solace in focusing on birds outside. However, she is unable to hear many of the high-frequency bird sounds that help other birders identify species.

To overcome this obstacle, Rollins-Pletsch uses the Merlin app on her smartphone. By recording bird songs in her backyard, she can identify them through the app’s sound recognition feature. The app helps her connect with nature and enjoy birdwatching in a way that caters to her specific needs, showcasing how technology can enhance outdoor experiences for individuals with varying abilities.

As a result of using the Merlin app, Rollins-Pletsch has been able to identify over 250 different species of birds in her garden alone! The app has made it easier for her to enjoy birding and connect with nature despite her hearing loss.

The Merlin app is just one example of how technology is revolutionizing bird identification for people with hearing loss. Other apps like SoundScape and EarTales also use sound recognition technology to help users identify birds by their calls and songs. These apps are making it more accessible for people with hearing loss to participate in the popular hobby of birdwatching.

Overall, the availability of these apps has opened up new opportunities for people with hearing loss to explore and enjoy nature in ways that were previously impossible. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more innovative solutions that will make outdoor activities more inclusive and accessible for everyone.

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