Many people with hearing loss, even those who wear hearing aids, worry about safety and security, especially at night. What happens if there is a break in, a fire, or other danger? Will you be able to hear the threat or be woken by the alarm, especially as you will not be wearing your hearing aids or cochlear implant while you are in bed? This concern is heightened if you live alone, or if your hearing loss is severe to profound. Here are some tips and tricks to help with home security and hearing loss.
Have your home alarm tested regularly
This is a tip for anyone with a home alarm system- make sure it is tested regularly! You want to make sure that when the alarm goes off, the siren is loud and clear, and the signal reaches the armed response centre straight away. You can coordinate a test with your alarm company, so reach out to them when you want to arrange it to avoid unnecessary call outs.
Purchase a vibrating or flashing alert system
Some security alarms and smoke alarms can be fitted with a bright flashing light, which would wake you and alert you to any danger. There are also systems that can be connected to bed shakers that you would pop under your pillow. When triggered, these vibrate dramatically to wake you up!
Alert a trustworthy neighbour to your hearing loss
If you live alone, contact your neighbours, and make sure at least one of them is aware of your hearing loss and what it might mean in a night-time emergency. If something big like a fire occurs in the area, that neighbour should recall that you might not be able to hear the same warning sounds that others do. Hopefully, they will be able to alert emergency services or get hold of you in another way to warn you, rather than assuming that you would be able to hear.
Work with your dog
If you have an intelligent pet, or if you are considering getting a dog, consider working with a behaviourist who can train them to physically alert you should an alarm ring. Of course, this will only work if your dog sleeps in your bedroom! There are all sorts of amazing stories of dogs that have woken their owners in cases of fire or home safety issues, in many cases saving their lives! Work with a trained canine professional who can guide you as to whether your dog has the potential to alert you in case of danger.
Tell the provider of your home security about your hearing loss
Some armed response systems have the capability to flag an account with a warning that the homeowner has hearing loss. Reach out to yours and alert them to your potential difficulty, so that they too are aware that you might not hear alerts or the phone if something happens at night. Some will also allow you to indicate that speaking on the phone, especially at night, is not an option as you won’t have your hearing aids on, and they should contact you via SMS or another method if there is a security breach when you aren’t home.
Keep your hearing aids within reach
Make sure that your hearing aids or cochlear implants are always close by when you are asleep. Storing them on the bedside cabinet or side table is usually best, so that if something happens and you need to react suddenly, you can grab and insert them without hesitating to look for them. If there is a home security situation, the first thing that you should do is put in your hearing instruments so that you can be at your best to respond to whatever is going on around you.
Consider a roommate or tenant
If you live alone and are worried about security, especially if you live in a large home, you might consider taking on a tenant or a roommate. Having someone else in the house can help you feel safer physically and give you another way of being alerted to danger. Make sure that anyone living in your home is aware of your hearing loss, and knows how your hearing is affected at night when you do not have your instruments in. They need to know to wake you if something is wrong!
While not all of these tips and tricks will be available to every person, it’s important to think practically about what you would do if you experienced a break in or fire at home while you are not wearing your hearing aids. Putting some of these tips into place might give you better protection, but also better peace of mind. If you have any other tips and tricks that you have discovered for home security with hearing loss, comment below, or contact us to discuss any of these tips and tricks in more detail.