If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with hearing loss, it may seem like a lot is changing in your world at the same time. You may be adjusting to a new hearing device, and you may be learning new ways to navigate personal relationships. In addition, there may be new technology in your home that is now a necessary part of life.
This new technology may be unfamiliar at first, but it is designed to make life easier and safer for you and your loved one with hearing loss. Here are a few types of at-home technology for hearing loss that you may use:
If you have hearing loss, you may no longer be able to hear a normal alarm clock. To ensure that you wake up on time, these special alarm clocks are designed to awaken you without noise. Instead, a vibrotacticle device is placed underneath your mattress or sheets. When the alarm goes off, this device vibrates to awaken you with movement rather than sound. Vibrating watches may alternatively be used, which also vibrate to awaken you at the appointed time.
If you are hard of hearing, you may not be able to hear the doorbell. A door signaler can be used that connects to the doorbell; when it is activated, signal lights in front of the door will flash to notify you of a visitor. Other types of devices feature a screen that can show someone at the door or indicate that a visitor has arrived.
If you use a smartphone, you can use an application that captions phone calls in real-time. Many speech-to-text apps are now available, and the majority of them are free of charge. In fact, speech-to-text apps can be used both for phone and in-person conversations.
If you use a landline, you can use a device that looks like a regular phone with a screen attached. The phone will transcribe the call onto the screen, so you can respond to your caller even if you struggle to hear them. Captioned phones are available for free if you have hearing loss documentation from a professional, like an audiologist or medical doctor.
If you have hearing loss, you may need a multi-device smoke detector. One part of the system is a vibrotacticle device that is placed under your mattress or other furniture. When the smoke detector is activated, the device vibrates to notify you of danger. Another piece of the system looks similar to an alarm clock. When activated, it displays the word “FIRE” and/or strobe lights to alert you. Carbon monoxide detectors that work similarly are also available.
If you live in an area with a risk of natural disasters, you may need this type of device. This weather alert device connects to weather stations. When an emergency happens, a receiver will turn on and notify you, often with a very loud alarm or with vibrations. Most devices also use a warning light, strobe lights, sirens, or a screen with a message like “TORNADO.”
While it may seem like a lot to take in at first, it will soon become easy for you to use these tools to simplify your life and keep you safe at home. If you or a loved one has hearing loss and would like more information about at-home technology, please contact our audiology office today. We are happy to provide you with the information you need.