Home Safety Ideas if a Member of Your Household is Hearing Impaired

One topic which is seldom mentioned with regards to hearing loss is how to keep those who have suffered it safe in their homes. Picture this situation: you’re in your house when a fire begins, and like most of us nowadays you have smoke detectors installed to warn you so that you and your family can evacuate before the fire becomes serious. But this time imagine that the fire breaks out during the night, when you’re sleeping, and you’ve removed your hearing aids.

The smoke detectors standard in almost all homes and those mandated by city or state governments emit a very loud warning tone at a frequency between 3000 to 4000 Hz. Although the majority of people can hear these sounds easily, these frequencies are among those most affected by age-related hearing loss and other forms of auditory problems. So if you’re one of the more than eleven million people in America with hearing loss, there’s a possibility that you simply would not hear your smoke alarm even if you were awake.

Luckily, there are home safety products which are specifically designed for the requirements of the hearing impaired. For people with slight to moderate hearing loss, there are smoke detectors that emit a 520 Hertz square-wave warning sound that they can usually hear. If you are completely deaf without your hearing aid or when you turn off your cochlear implants (CIs), you’ll find alarm systems which use a combination of blinking lights, loud alarms, and vibrating units that shake your bed to wake you up. For complete home safety, a number of these newer units have been developed to be integrated into more thorough home protection systems to warn you in case of intruders, or if neighbors are hammering on your doors.

Many who have hearing aids or who have CIs have elected to boost the performance of these devices by setting up induction loops in their houses. An induction loop is simply a long strand of wire that surrounds your family room, bedroom, or children’s rooms, which activates the telecoils inside your hearing assistance devices to raise the volume of sounds, and therefore may help you not to miss any important or emergency signals.

Not to mention the humble telephone, which all of us tend to ignore until we need one, but which can become critical in any kind of emergency situation. Thankfully, many modern mobile and home phones are now telecoil-compatible, to allow their use by those wearing hearing aids or cochlear implants. Moreover, there are phones specifically designed for the hearing impaired which include speakerphones that operate at high volumes, and which can be voice-activated. These devices allow you to voice-dial for assistance in an emergency situation. Other manufacturers make vibrating wristbands that communicate with your cellphone to awaken you or notify you if you get a telephone call.

Other safety tips are less technical and more practical, like always having the telephone numbers of fire departments, ambulance companies, doctors, and emergency services handy. We are as concerned about your safety as we are about your hearing, so if we can be of assistance with any additional ideas or suggestions, feel free to call us.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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