Audiologist Doing A Hearing Test

Staying Safe with Hearing Loss

Safety in your home is always a worthwhile issue to consider, especially when preparation can prevent dangerous and even fatal incidents. Among people’s chief concerns when safeguarding the home, most easily implemented are tools that warn us of threats before they become dire. 


For instance, smoke alarms and security alarms allow you to act before dangers become unmanageable, giving you the invaluable gift of time to mobilize. Having secure and reliable ways to access emergency resources like the police and fire department can interrupt threatening situations. 


But what if the standard alarms or avenues of communication with emergency personnel don’t work for your needs? This is the case for more than 30 million Americans with hearing loss.

Smoke alarms for people with hearing loss

Most commercial smoke alarms rely upon a shrill beeping to alert people of a fire risk. Anyone with healthy hearing who’s ever burnt a casserole can attest to the effectiveness of this system. However, people with a hearing loss likely don’t have the hearing range necessary to make this a successful signal for them. The high-frequency tone is one of the first we lose in progressive hearing disorders, the kinds caused by age-related or noise-induced hearing loss. 


That’s why people with hearing concerns are advised to invest in systems with alternate alerts. In addition to smoke alarms that provide visual cues, there are also more effective options like pillow shakers. A 2009 study of these types of alarms showed that 80 to 84 percent of people alerted by shaking woke during an emergency. Conversely, only about 27 percent of people reacted to flashing lights. 


For older people with high-frequency hearing loss, a smoke detector that used low-frequency tones was successful in alerting them of a fire risk. 


Security alarms for people with hearing loss

Nearly 30 percent of homes in the United States have some type of security system installed. That number is rising as video surveillance becomes more affordable and available. A standard system usually relies upon noise to alert the residents and additionally will alert the security company or local emergency responders. 


For those with hearing loss, speak with the company you’ve chosen or those you are researching to see what types of additional alerts they can provide. This might include bed shakers or strobe lights either directly through installation or via a third-party product. 

Access to 911

Dialing 911 has been ingrained in us as a response to a life-threatening situation. Certainly, it is the easiest and most reliable way to alert emergency responders to your dangerous situation, perhaps even the best chance of intervening before true danger erupts. 


But what if hearing loss makes phone calls particularly impossible? If you have hearing loss, be assured that dialing 911 from a landline will prompt the dispatcher to send out a team responding to your call even if you don’t communicate anything during the phone call. The same goes for dialing 911 from a smartphone, though you’ll have to have a phone with GPS enabled. 


A workaround for this issue might be to establish an emergency text group so that you can send off a text asking one of your ‘buddies’ to call 911 for you.

Sign up for emergency alerts to your phone

We can all agree that knowing about an impending risk is better than being surprised. For this reason, you should sign up for an emergency alert system. This service can send important and timely notices straight to your phone via text so that you are aware of perilous weather situations or community-based threats like fire or flood. 

Consider hearing aids for increased safety

Hearing aids can’t completely restore lost hearing, but they can help you find an enhanced hearing experience. Some models even connect directly to your phone, so that making a call in an emergency isn’t an impossibility. 


If you fear that hearing loss might increase your chance of injury in a dangerous situation, it might be time to come in for a hearing consultation. Our team of hearing health professionals can lead you through the easy process of a hearing exam and will work to find hearing health solutions that best suit your unique lifestyle.