Staying Safe with Hearing Loss

Staying Safe with Hearing Loss

When hearing loss sets in, it can be difficult to maintain relationships throughout our life. This includes relationships at home as well as ones at work, among friends, family and even casual acquaintances. Humans are social creatures and when our relationships become strained it can lead to chronic depression, lack of motivation, and social isolation. However, while we use our ears to communicate, they do far more than that. Our ears help us stay alert of our surroundings and by proxy keep us safe. When we struggle with unaddressed hearing loss our reaction time to emergencies is greatly shortened. We may miss emergency sounds and be at a risk not only to ourselves but those around us too. 

Nearly 48 million people or 20% of the U.S. suffers from hearing loss making it a fairly common condition – one which threatens to become more rampant as years progress due to an increasingly growing aging population and the rampant misuse of headphones causing hearing loss in younger generations. What is most alarming about the rise of hearing loss globally is that it is an irreversible condition. This means we have to learn how to live with it safely. Here are a few tips to increase your safety when you live with hearing loss.

The Importance of Smoke Alarms

Anyone who doesn’t understand the importance of smoke alarms throughout your home has been most likely lucky enough to never had to deal with a fire emergency. For those of us who do, we already know how fast and sudden a little bit of smoke can escalate into a large and life-threatening fire. Fire alarms rely on high pitched sounds to alert us of the first signs of smoke. Ideally this should give us enough time to evacuate a space before a fire can become life threatening. However, when we have hearing loss, especially noise induced hearing loss or age-related hearing loss, it often effects high frequency tones and pitches. This means you could completely miss the auditory warnings of a fire alarm. If you live with hearing loss, it’s important to make sure that your fire alarms operate on visual frequencies as well as vibrational. Often strobe lights are used to alert the hearing impaired. 

For those of us who use hearing aids, we take them out at night. This leaves many of us unprepared for an audio alarm to wake us in the night. For those with profound hearing loss, it is a good idea to invest in bed shakers to wake you in the event of an emergency while we sleep. This is true for carbon monoxide detectors as well, which when responded to in a timely manner, can save your life.

Quick Access to 911

Whether your emergency requires the fire department, ambulance or even the police it’s nice to know we can reach them all at 911. For people who use a hearing aid, there should be no problem communicating your needs over the phone. However, often what constitutes an emergency is things we’ve planned for not going exactly how we’ve planned. In the event that your hearing aids are broken or unavailable in an emergency, make sure the GPS on your mobile device is enabled. This can make it easier for emergency services to find you, even if you can’t communicate clearly.

Home Security for the Hearing Impaired

If you are hearing impaired it’s all too easy to miss sounds which could clearly indicate someone intruding on your home, for someone with normal hearing. To make sure someone doesn’t get the drop on you, it makes sure to choose a home alarm system which offers alerts beyond audio. Obviously, the same issues with fire and carbon monoxide detectors, still rings true for burglary alarm systems. 

Many hearing-impaired people find that an induction loop set up in their house to alert you of emergencies. You may also find that an alarm system which communicates via Bluetooth with your phone can deliver emergency alerts effectively, even without sound alerts. Instead, the vibration of your phone may be all the notification you need to know your alarm has been tripped.

Take Advantage of Hearing Technology

If you are living with untreated hearing loss, you are at a greater risk for accidents of all kinds. It’s a safe bet to invest in a pair of hearing aids to make sure you are ready for any sounds that come your way. To find out more, start by scheduling a hearing exam today.