Hearing Loss and Safety- are you prepared?
by Amy Pajula, on August 4, 2022
Have you ever not heard your doorbell ring or missed someone knocking at your door? While missing a visitor is a minor inconvenience, most of us let our guard down when we are home and disconnected from the world. Whether you are taking your hearing aids out to go to bed or simply to give your ears a break, it's important to take some precautions to make sure you are safe and protected in these moments.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, (NFPA), the risk of dying in a fire is 55% lower if the home has a working smoke alarm. Studies show people with hearing loss are among the highest risk group when it comes to being harmed during a fire. According to FEMA, 51% of all deaths from residential fires occur between 11 pm and 7 am, a time when many with hearing impairment remove their hearing aids or cochlear implants in order to sleep. The risk of not hearing the fire alarm is especially problematic for those with hearing loss in the higher frequencies, as most fire alarms are high-pitched.
The NFPA recommends people who are deaf or hard of hearing use alarms with flashing strobe lights that have been tested by an independent testing laboratory. There are also alarms that make the pillow vibrate or the bed vibrate (bed shaker) so you wake up. Remember to test these monthly to make sure they are working
Find smoke alarms here.
If you worry about not hearing the doorbell, or someone knocking at your door you can place motion sensors at the door or windows, and flashing lights will alert you to people at the door.
More motion sensors here.
Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals including hearing dogs may go anywhere the public is permitted (restaurants, stores, government buildings, etc.) and live in housing where pets are prohibited. Dogs have superior hearing abilities and can be trained to alert you to danger, inform you when someone is at your door, or jump on your bed to wake you up if an alarm is going off. Service dogs can make for a great companion, while also providing a safer environment.
Lastly, don't forget about your car. You may not be able to hear some of the sounds that can signal a serious problem if ignored. The screeches or clicks or thumps. Make sure you bring it to a trusted mechanic to make everything is working when you get an oil change.
These changes will bring peace of mind and help you feel a little more empowered and protected!.
Meet Esteem Audiologist Stephanie Bourn, AuD, CCC-A, FAAA