One topic that is rarely mentioned with regards to hearing loss is how to keep people who have it safe inside their own homes. For example, imagine that a fire starts in your home; if you are like most people you have smoke detectors to sound a warning so that you and your loved ones can evacuate the home before a fire becomes widespread, and thus deadly. But now imagine further, and think about what would happen if your smoke detector goes off at night after you’ve gone to sleep, having removed your hearing aid.
The smoke detectors standard in almost all houses and those required by city or state governments emit a very loud warning sound at a frequency between 3,000 and 4,000 Hertz. Although the majority of people can hear these tones easily, these frequencies are among those most impacted by age-related hearing loss and other kinds of auditory problems. So if you are among the more than eleven million Americans with hearing loss, there is a possibility that you simply would not hear your smoke detector even if you were awake.
Luckily, there are home safety products that are expressly created for the needs of the hearing impaired. For instance, there are smoke alarms that emit a low-frequency (520 Hertz) square wave sound that a majority of hearing-impaired people can hear. In case you are completely deaf without your hearing aids or when you turn off your cochlear implants (CIs), you’ll find alarm systems which use a mix of flashing lights, loud alarms, and vibrating units that shake your bed to wake you up in an emergency. Several of these systems are designed to be integrated into more complete home security systems to warn you of intruders or neighbors pounding furiously on your door in the case of an emergency.
To hear other sounds that may signal danger, many hearing-impaired people have installed induction loops in their homes for boosting the performance of their hearing aids or CIs. An induction loop is merely a lengthy wire that surrounds your living room, bedroom, or children’s rooms, which activates the telecoils inside your hearing assistance devices to raise the volume of sounds, and thus can help you not to miss any important or emergency signals.
We shouldn’t forget the basic telephone, which is indispensable during an emergency of any sort. Fortunately, a number of modern mobile and home phones are now telecoil-compatible, to permit their use by those wearing hearing aids or cochlear implants. Other phone models incorporate speakerphone systems with high volumes that can be easily used by the hearing impaired, and more notably, can be voice-activated. These phones would allow you to voice-dial for help in an emergency situation, or if you needed assistance of any kind. There are other accessories for cellphones, such as vibrating wristbands that can alert you to an incoming telephone call even if you’re asleep.
Other safety suggestions are less technological and more practical, such as always keeping the telephone numbers of fire departments, ambulance companies, doctors, and emergency services handy. We are as serious about your safety as we are about your hearing, so if we can be of service with any additional ideas or suggestions, feel free to call us.