Canes and Orientation & Mobility

About Canes—What Kind? What Length?

What Kind of Cane Should I get?

I recommend the NFB cane because of its light weight and its superior haptic and auditory feedback. An added bonus is that NFB offers any blind/low vision individual one free long white cane as often as once every six months. Please consider trying one out; you really have nothing to lose.

The light weight of the NFB cane allows for a much longer length without hand/wrist discomfort. In fact, I find that NFB canes are typically lighter than Ambutech and similar canes that are 18-24 inches SHORTER than the NFB cane.

The materials used to make an NFB cane (carbon fiber or fiberglass) make the cane far more useful for haptic feedback. The cane user can feel vibrations from the cane as it touches different objects and surfaces. In contrast, aluminum canes tend to dull the level of haptic feedback from the cane, and the ropes inside folding canes can further dull haptic feedback to the cane user.

The NFB cane usually provides superior audio feedback as well. The NFB cane uses a small metal tip. The tip makes different sound when it touches different things. Rubber and plastic cane tips do not provide as much auditory information as the metal cane tips do.

The Longer the Cane, the More Information the User Gets Sooner.

Chest-high canes usually let you know there is an obstacle (or drop off, etc.) 1-1.5 steps before your feet would get there.

Canes at chin height or higher (my daughters is an inch taller than she is) give 2.5-3.5 steps of information.

These increased steps allow the user to walk more quickly and more confidently. I love my daughter’s posture and gait (the gait is typical and the posture slightly better than her teenage peers).

For a first-time child/teen cane user, I recommend getting a cane about four to five inches shorter than the child/teen. NFB canes come in odd-inch lengths (39 inches, 41 inches, 43 inches, etc.). Thus, if the child/teen is 61 inches tall or 62 inches tall, I recommend ordering a 57 inch long cane.