App gives man gift of Christmas conversations again

- A Cumming man who has struggled with hearing for the past 40 years has now reconnected with his family and friends after he found an app that allows him to communicate clearly. This Christmas will be the first time in quite a while that he's going to be able to be a part of the conversation at the dinner table.

"What a big change this would be," said Martin Matijasich.

Martin and Joann Matijasich can now communicate again using their cell phones.

Martin has struggled with hearing for the past 40 years. It's to the point now that he only has no hearing in his left ear and only 50 percent in his right, and he said over the 46-year marriage it took its toll.

"I think our conversations got very basic. ‘How are you today, dear?’ “I love you,’" said Martin Matijasich.

And it got to a point where Martin didn't want to go to social functions.

"Why should I go? If you were sitting across the table from me and trying to have a conversation with me, after we say ‘hello,’ there wasn't much conversation to have- it was no conversation," said Martin Matijasich.

But five years ago, Martin had enough and began searching for solutions. He tried other apps, but they didn't work.

Then he found Ava. It’s an app that translates in realtime what people say.

"We were like kids. We giggled. We sat there at the table. We were silent for a while watching the words go by on the phone," said Joann Matijasich.

News Radio 106.7’s Christy Hutchings spoke with Martin Matijasich for this report. She used a microphone plugged into an iPhone with the app. As she spoke, Martin could read her questions and respond.

And this is what he plans to do on Christmas when he's with his entire family. For the first time in years, Martin will be a part of the conversation

"I'm looking forward to it because I know we're going to connect," said Martin Matijasich. "It's going to work, sure there will be hiccups, people may have to repeat things but we're looking forward to it."

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