Staying safe at home is a concern for everyone, but even more so if you have hearing loss. Now that more people are working virtually and spending more time at home, it’s vital to be aware of the devices and tools available to help you stay safe and connected.
Types of alerts
Many everyday items around your house use auditory signals. If you have hearing loss, you may have trouble hearing an alarm clock, smoke detector or doorbell. Fortunately, several different types of alerts are available to assist people with hearing loss.
- Visual alerts consist of bright, flashing lights you can see.
- Auditory alerts use increased amplification and lower-frequency sounds.
- Vibrotactile alerts include a vibrating component that is placed under your pillow or mattress to wake you from sleep.
Common devices and tools
Staying aware of your environment is important when you have hearing loss. That’s why smoke, fire and carbon monoxide alarms can be equipped with flashing lights and vibrations. Adapters are available to fit existing alarms, or you can purchase battery-powered or hardwired specialty alarms with these features. Some models allow you to equip a “shaker” to vibrate you awake in the event of an emergency.
Weather alert radios tell you when severe weather is imminent. Some models are equipped with digital readouts and vibrations to alert you of bad weather. Others issue color-coded lights that indicate a weather statement, watch or warning has been issued.
You may not always hear the doorbell, even if you don’t have hearing loss. A doorbell alert flashes a light, vibrates a shaker, increases the volume of the sound or does all of the above, depending on your needs. Additional receivers are available so you can have an alert in every room of your house. Battery-powered or hardwired doorbell alerts are also available.
Parents rely on baby monitors to let them know when their little ones need attention. Baby alert systems for those with hearing loss run from the simple to the complex. The most basic type uses an auditory signal from the infant to activate a shaker under your pillow. For those who are more technically savvy, there are versions that integrate monitors, flashing lights, video and even sound.
Even the alarm clock has gotten an upgrade. Specialty alarm clocks now offer flashing lights, louder sounds and vibrations to wake you at the correct time. Some can even work with your bedside lamp, flashing the light off and on to make sure that you get up on time.
Hearing aid apps
Hearing aid apps can provide more safety features than ever before. Some of these apps allow you to pair smart home features with hearing aids that can connect to the internet using the Internet of Things. For example, a smart home security system will send an alert directly to your hearing aids in the event of a break-in, fire, frozen pipe or water leak.
The cloud-based network If This Then That (IFTTT) pairs two Internet-connected devices or applications. For example, you can use IFTTT to connect a smart doorbell with your Bluetooth-enabled or Made for iPhone® hearing aids in order to send an audio alert directly to your hearing device, even when you’re not home.
If your hearing aids don’t offer Bluetooth compatibility or Made for iPhone® features, consider upgrading to a new model. To learn more about how you can stay safe at home, contact us today.