Safety Tips for People with Hearing Loss
If you’ve been treating your hearing loss with the use of hearing aids, then you are fully aware of the benefits they bring to our life. Hearing aids connect us to the sounds we’ve been missing and make sure that we are alert to our surroundings. One major benefit of treating hearing loss with hearing aids is a heightened level of safety.
There are always small adjustments we can make in our lives to better ensure our safety, even with the use of hearing aids. Here are some tips for ensuring safety for scenarios with and without your trusty hearing aids.
Fire Safety at Home
From USA Today, it is estimated that “more than 2,500 people die in home fires; most are homes without a working smoke alarm…Deadly house fires often occur late at night and early morning when individuals are sleeping. When a fire occurs, it produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Contrary to popular belief, instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep; therefore, it is imperative that smoke alarms be properly installed and maintained to protect against injury and loss of life.”
With most hearing aids, you remove them before going to bed and re-insert them in the morning. Certain rechargeable hearing aids require an overnight charge to ensure proper function during the day. To ensure that you are safe during these nighttime hours, without the use of your hearing aids, make sure that you have smoke alarms on every level of your home – including the basement – and outside of every sleeping area.
For people who experience hearing loss, there are special alarms designed to alert a fire emergency. Consider installing a vibrating alarm or visual alarm with strobing lights in your personal sleeping area, in addition to traditional fire alarms at rely only on sound.
Phone Accommodations for Emergencies
As we all know, the phone is a lifeline in case of emergencies. For people with hearing loss, there are many assistive devices available for phone calls. People with advanced degrees of hearing loss or partial/complete deafness may benefit from the use of video relay systems (VRS). With this assistive option, you receive American sign language interpretation through a VRS employee who will communicate your needs to emergency services.
You may also want to consider getting a captioned phone. Here in Missouri, residents are eligible to receive a CapTel (captioned phone) free of charge through the Missouri Telecommunications Access Program (TAP). Captioned phones provide you with real-time captions of your conversation, so that you may better follow the person on the other end of the line. For more information, go here.
In newer technology, there are hearing aids that connect directly to your smartphones. With this wireless connection, your hearing aids receive conversations directly, which cuts out any difficulties when communicating. Smartphone compatible hearing aids enable you to have clearer and more efficient conversations – which is very useful in case of emergency. Speaking of smartphones, there are accessories that connect to your phones to notify you of incoming calls while you are sleeping, such as vibrating bracelets. If your hearing aids are out for the night, these accessories come in handy if someone is trying to reach you.
Be sure to have all emergency contacts and medical provider phone numbers at the ready, or saved as speed dial on your phones.
Home Safety Alarms
If you’ve ever accidentally set off your home security alarm system, then you might have experienced how painfully loud those sounds can be. It may be astonishing to think that anyone could miss them – but without the use of hearing aids, many sounds can become muffled. Consider setting up home security alarm systems that connect to bed-shakers or blinking lights that could wake you up in the middle of the night.
Another solution is installing an induction loop in your home. Induction loops are thin copper wires that are installed into the perimeter of rooms in your home and convey audio sounds from different systems in your home directly to your ears – if your hearing aids are equipped with a telecoil (T-coil). This direct stream of sound can come in handy in case of emergency, and is also convenient for enjoying your home entertainment system.
Get Your Hearing Tested Annually
For those of us with hearing loss, the most important safety measure is to get an annual hearing test. Our hearing abilities do change over time – so gradually we may not immediately notice. An annual hearing test ensures that our hearing aids are the proper prescription for our hearing abilities, and ensure that we are always connected to the world around us. Contact us at Greentree Audiology today for a hearing test.