Marking Your TV Remote

2 remotes lie in a pale green basket. They have markings including a rubber band, strips of bright tape, an orange bump dot, and some orange surround of bump dots. No Hi-marks or similar unfortunately.

We are all turning on the TV as we wait for spring and vaccinations. But how to mark the buttons you want when bump dots won’t stick?

How to mark them depends on whether you have low vision and whether your fingertips work well. And even with a well-marked remote traversing channels, Roku, and streaming to choose a new show is a whole different game.

Here are suggestions from several vision rehab teachers including me, and from Doug Rose whose detailed advice on choosing household devices and appliances I will be featuring in coming months.

Finding the remote

Family members who see well don’t think about where they leave those all-important black controls. You will all put the remotes back more often if you ( the person with vision loss) provide a small bin or basket; one that contrasts with both the couch and the remotes. Ours is pale green and far from fancy, but it does the job.

This is a good practice whether or not you have useful vision. The basket or bin is easier to find for everyone. Much easier than checking between and under couch cushions, while making loud uncomplimentary remarks!Also if you provide a visual reminder like a basket housemates need fewer verbal reminders!

Which end does the job?

Having spent frustrating minutes pointing the wrong end at the screen or the roku box, I mark the business end of our remotes. If you have a good tactile memory you may not need this.

Where to put the marks

The central challenge is that Bump dots don’t stick to the buttons! so you have to find other methods. Marks stick much better to the hard surface around the buttons. Clean this surface first if you can with denatured (rubbing) alcohol.

Remember to mark only a few essential buttons using different textures or colors.

The markings with adhesive backing you may be able to do yourself.

The three dimensional markings that are squeezed from a tube need vision and a steady hand, but can be more detailed and made to suit your personal needs.

 Do It Yourself Marks

Twist a rubber band tightly around the remote to mark a line of buttons .

Cut up the surround of orange bump dots to stick round one side of a button

Stick thin strips of bright-colored thick tape such as gaffer’s tape ( $11.50, but the big roll lasts for years,)or duct tape next to toggles or the round directional pad.

Cut adhesive Velcro strips to fit beside or all around a button

Tread tape, the sandpaper-like tape used on stairs can be cut up in the same way

Bump dots can be stuck using extra glue onto the hard surface next to a button

Personalized defined Marks (using sighted assistance)

HI-MARKS 3D paint like puff paint but tougher.

Silicone sealer

Hard as nails

Hi-Marks is sold online, and at Walmart. The other two options are sold in hardware stores. Choose a small tube of either of these

Doug Rose: Tell the person applying personalized marks to practice on a piece of paper first. This way they can learn how much to use and you can determine what marks suit you best. They can create marks that have very distinct sharp profile for those with reduced tactile sensitivity”.

 “It does take time for the materials (including HI-MARKS) to cure, so follow cure times on the packaging. This is one disadvantage of these materials and why people are hesitant about using them. But their advantages are considerable; they are sturdy marks that can be more customizable than manufactured marks, and can last for years..

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