Something that is seldom mentioned when hearing loss is discussed is how to ensure those with hearing loss are safe in their homes, especially if they live alone. As a hearing aid dispenser we can talk endlessly about new hearing technologies that allow wearers to hear everything. But what happens when they’ve taken their hearing aid out for a nap and also left the stove on? It’s just one of many combinations that can be deadly.Thankfully, there are many options for home safety for people with hearing loss.
Visual cues are key
There are several types of smoke detectors that can be installed to help alert anyone with hearing loss. For example: a smoke detector that emits a very low frequency tone (520 Hz) that most people with hearing loss can still hear. (High frequencies, like those emitted from standard smoke detectors are often the most at risk for age-related hearing loss.) If a very low frequency would not work with your hearing loss, other alarms are available that utilize blinking lights or vibrating units that shake your bed to alert you.
Similar visual or vibrating technologies can also be integrated into home security systems. When your ability to hear is compromised it is perhaps even more important to be warned of a burglar or other emergency. Some systems require placing additional receivers throughout the home. Other systems work with a vibrating pager that can easily be worn or carried around.
Don’t forget about the telephone, it can be one of the most crucial tools in an emergency. Many new hearing aid models that are compatible with cell phones. It is still important to have another option in case you aren’t near or wearing your hearing aid. The FCC implemented a 711 dialing code for access to telecommunications relay services. This gives anyone with a hearing or speech disability the ability to use the telephone without having to remember and dial a 7 or 10-digit access number.
Cell phone accessories, like a vibrating wristband can alert you in incoming calls. Some models even allow you to make emergency phones calls.
Technological advancements have made the options for safety endless. Be sure to have a conversation about home safety for people with hearing loss with your loved ones. Devise a plan and decide which products will work best for your life and your hearing loss. Stay safe!