Standard emergency alarms are typically designed to alert people via sound. Those with hearing loss may struggle to hear emergency alarm sounds and may need to consider other options for their homes. There are a few solutions available to provide alternate ways of alerting in an emergency. Learning more about what might best suit you and making the proper preparations now can help keep you safe in a worst-case scenario.
Hearing Loss and Emergencies
Sensorineural hearing loss is a form of hearing loss common in older adults, with nearly 25% of adults aged 65-74 having disabling hearing loss. This form of hearing loss makes it difficult to hear high-pitched sounds, such as emergency alarms, which is why traditional forms of emergency alarms may not work. If you have sensorineural hearing loss or mild to moderate hearing loss, it may be enough for you to replace your emergency alarms with ones that emit low-pitched sounds.
Otherwise, some alarms to consider include:
- Alarms with strobing lights: Alarms with a flash will signal there’s an emergency to someone with hearing loss. There are high-intensity enough strobes to wake someone who is sleeping, but as you age, that becomes less likely.
- Alarms with vibration: Alarms that shake the bed or pillow are available. These are most helpful during sleeping hours.
- Interconnected alarms: It may be necessary to have a combination of both strobing and vibrating alarms in your home, depending on your level of hearing loss. There are systems that offer alarms with each setting that go off in a synchronized fashion to alert in the event of an emergency.
It’s helpful to note that you will need more than one of whichever alarm you choose. You should have alarms on each floor of your home and in each bedroom. You should also ensure everyone in the home knows what the alarms are, so they respond appropriately when the alarm goes off and test them regularly for functionality.
Smoke alarms aren’t the only alarms to consider. Many states require carbon monoxide detectors in homes; it’s a good idea to have one even if it isn’t required. Carbon monoxide detectors can offer the same emergency alert options as smoke detectors and should be monitored and maintained the same. Alarms for those with hearing loss can be found online and at local hardware stores such as Sewell Hardware Co.
If you have age-related or other forms of hearing loss, hearing aids can be a great option to help maintain hearing and reduce the symptoms of hearing loss. For questions or to schedule a hearing test, contact Aaron's Hearing Aid & Audiology Center.