Living with hearing loss, whether partial or complete, completely changes the way you interact with the environment, in particular, the home environment. Doorbells, alarm clocks, and detection systems must work differently to alert the Deaf or Hard of Hearing (HoH) to be effective in preserving the health and safety of all occupants.
Smoke Detectors And Carbon Monoxide Detectors
One of the most important home devices to take into consideration when you’re equipping your home to mitigate your or another family member’s hearing loss is the smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. The failure to react to either one of these devices’ alert mechanisms may often mean the difference between life and death.
Carbon monoxide detectors can come as its own unit or as a carbon monoxide/smoke detector combo unit. Several ways to notify a Deaf or HoH individual include phone signalling, visual signals, or vibration signals. Depending on the needs of the person using the device a single alarming mechanism or combination of mechanisms can be used to alert someone of dangerous carbon monoxide levels or presence of smoke.
Some detectors are equipped with flashing strobe lights. These lights flicker on and off at regular intervals until you have responded to the alert.
High Volume Alerts
For those HoH individuals who may have more difficulty hearing the high frequency of a smoke or carbon monoxide detector, there are extra loud detectors available so that the user can rest assured they will hear the alarm.
Strobe/High Volume Combos
Some carbon monoxide and smoke detectors alert the user via a combination of extra high volume beeping with the strobe flashing in tandem.
Some people hear low frequencies better than higher frequencies. Some devices will change the pitch of your current smoke detector, creating an alert sound that’s much lower than the usual alert that’s also louder to ensure a HoH hears it sufficiently.
Bed Vibrating Alarms
Hearing a carbon monoxide alert or smoke detector alarm can be particularly tricky at night while most people are sleeping. Bed vibrating alarms have an attachment that rests under the pillow or a mattress and vibrates strongly causing you to wake and respond appropriately.
Mostly found as part of a combination vibrate alert or extra loud alert, visual alarms like screens that blink the word FIRE across the display help to communicate the warning to a Deaf or HoH individual.
Whether you are a HoH or Deaf person living on your own, a HoH person living with others, or you’re a hearing individual with HoH or deaf house members, installing the proper alerting devices for the doorbell, phone, smoke detectors, fire detectors, and other systems will ensure all members of the house live in a healthy safe environment.
With any new alerting device you bring into the home, make sure every member of the house is well acquainted with its use and its alert method. One device may use one type of alert such as vibration, while another device may use extra loud sound or flashing strobe lighting.