Staying Safe with Hearing Loss

Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A Hearing Health, Hearing Loss

Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A

Your ears not only help you hear but help you detect and react to the world around you. Just think about all the sounds around you as you navigate a busy area full of pedestrians, bikers and cars.

When you have healthy hearing, you can hear the sounds around you and react accordingly to keep you safe. Imagine how different this experience can be if you can not hear the warning sounds of speeding cars or the voices of the other people around you.

Nearly 48 million people or 20% of the U.S. suffers from hearing loss. It’s important not to ignore your condition if you start to suspect you have a hearing loss and consider what steps you need to take in order to stay safe.


The Importance of Smoke Alarms

Imagine what you would do if you couldn’t hear a smoke alarm going off. When fire or emergency strikes, the faster you react, the more chance you have of remaining unharmed. Of course, you still have your other senses.

A common high-frequency smoke alarm won’t work to well for someone with hearing loss, especially if you, like most people, sleep without hearing aids. Smoke detectors common in most houses produce a loud warning tone at a frequency between 3,000 and 4,000 Hz. These tones are often some of the frequencies first to go for age related and noise induced hearing loss, making this alarm difficult to detect.

Fortunately, there are fire alarms that are engineered with the needs of the hearing impaired in mind. For those with slight to moderate hearing loss, smoke alarms are designed at a frequency easier to hear. For those who are completely deaf there are alarms that use blinking lights vibration and in the instance of sleeping, bed shakers to alert a hearing disabled person of an emergency.

Quick Access to 911

Most people know to call 911 in an emergency, but what do you do when your hearing is compromised? If you use hearing aids and they are functioning properly you can simply call but what do you do if something goes wrong? It is always best to be prepared for any emergency that could arise and being able to access help is a huge part of this. There are a couple of ways to prepare; Always make sure the GPS is activated on your mobile device. This can allow emergency responders to find your location despite your ability to hear.

If you are hard of hearing having a landline by your bed can be an extra precaution, especially in a weather emergency where cell towers are often disabled. It is also wise to take advantage of hearing assistive devices like video relay systems or captioned telephones to make sure you can communicate as clearly as possible in a crisis. Create a buddy list on quick dial in case emergency strikes. This can allow a group of caring people to be aware that you need assistance and call 911 so you don’t have to.

Home Security for the Hearing Impaired

Home alarm systems bring with them some of the same challenges as smoke alarms, meaning the frequency used to alert is often not registered by the hearing impaired.

To hear other sounds that may signal danger, many hearing-impaired people have set up induction loops in their houses for boosting the performance of their hearing aids. These systems are long wires placed in a loop around your living space that transmit signals to a telecoil within your hearing aid. This can increase the volume of an emergency alarm loud enough to alert you of an intruder.

Choose a security system with a remote panic button that you can keep close to your bed and make sure to tell the home security company of your hearing impairment so they can make sure to install the appropriate alerts in you house.

Take Advantage of Hearing Technology

If you are living with untreated hearing loss it is just not safe in this busy world. Contact us to find out more about the best hearing aids for you. If you are worried about your safety, sit down with them and look for solutions, so you can be as safe and prepared as possible for whatever emergency comes your way.