Color & Control:

Tips for persons with hearing loss

By Paolo Piscatelli

If you’re living with hearing loss there are several ways to prepare your home in the case of an emergency. Planning ahead and implementing safety technology and security devices can save time and lives.

Fire safety
Conventional smoke alarms alert residents to an emergency with a loud noise. Find a special fire alarm device with additional methods of alert, such as vibrating fixtures or visual indicators like strobe lights. You can also shop for fire alarms that connect with your smart home setup so an alert can show on your phone. Even those with mild hearing loss may first start to lose their ability to hear high-pitched noises. To err on the side of caution, look for fire alarm devices that use a mixed or lower-pitched sounds and make sure the one you choose has been tested by a recognized testing laboratory. As with all your home’s smoke detectors and fire alarms, test regularly and replace as needed.

In addition to the right fire alarms, consider a home sprinkler system, fire extinguishers near bedrooms and the kitchen area, and fire blankets can be strategically places so they could suffocate smaller fires.

Home security
A home security system is important because it can prevent or alert residents when there is a break-in. Installing a security system is your first line of defense against intruders. In fact, 83 per cent of burglars check if there is an alarm before invading a home. When your security system is paired with a smart home setup, you can then get immediate notifications if motion is detected. While self-monitoring systems are growing in popularity, keep in mind they require a healthy level of vigilance.

Emergency dispatch
Although calling 9-1-1 is the first step for many people, whether for a break in, fire, or medical emergency, it’s much more difficult for the deaf and hearing impaired. While TTY phones are an option, there are alternatives that allow for a much faster response time. Calling 9-1-1 has yet to be optimized for the deaf community. Dispatch does offer TTY compatibility, but typing out your info or waiting for somebody to type back  delays things.

Home safety plan
Create a home safety plan as a cornerstone of emergency preparedness. Knowing what to do, where to go, and how to respond when tragedy strikes at home can save lives. Perhaps its time to sit down with your family and caregivers to develop an action plan and practice it. An annual review is a good idea as personal safety preparedness for the hearing impaired and those with disabilities is key.

Rescu app: Store all your important information directly; your address, medical information (e.g. diabetic, deaf, heart condition, etc.), and dispatch instructions (including gate codes, entry location, and service animals). With just two taps, you can bypass dialing 9-1-1 and dispatch police, ambulance assistance, or the fire department. The app also sends an alert to emergency contacts. Find the app for free on the App store or Google Play. Visit

Photo: Dziana-Hasanbekava, Pexels

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