Preparing for Emergencies with Hearing Aids

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Any emergency requires preparation. Although it is the nature of an emergency that you don’t know what to expect, there are simple steps you can take to put yourself in a better place of preparedness and awareness. Using all of our senses to communicate is an important strategy. Emergency alert systems tend to use audible warnings to let you know about a dangerous situation, and those who have hearing loss or hearing impairment will often need to supplement this alert system with other strategies to improve awareness. If you have hearing aids, there are special steps you will need to take to prepare for an emergency. Not only do you need to make sure your hearing aids are functional in that event, but you will also need to get the right communication and alert technology to supplement your hearing aids if an emergency occurs. Let’s take a look first at the things you can do to make sure your hearing aids remain functional in an emergency. Let’s also take this opportunity to consider the other types of emergency technology that can assist you in that event, making sure your communication and information systems remain functional in as many situations as possible.

Using Hearing Aids in an Emergency

If you find yourself in an emergency situation, including a fire, inclement weather, or a natural disaster, you will want to make sure you have your hearing aids in use during that event. If you need to communicate with your family or loved ones, your hearing aids will be an invaluable resource. Many of us come to rely on the Bluetooth connectivity of our hearing aids to control settings and to coordinate with apps and other information delivery systems. However, cellular tower issues can get in the way of using your phone or other systemsthese systems. The most important thing you can do to assist with your hearing aid functionality in an emergency is to keep the batteries powered.

If your hearing aids use replaceable batteries, keep a healthy stock of new batteries available at all timesfor the event. You may also want to keep hearing aid batteries in a variety of locations, including your home, place of work, and car. These various locations make it possible to change your batteries if you are stuck in one of these places without access to the others. If your hearing aids have rechargeable batteries, it is wise to keep additional battery packs in a safe location in the event of a power outage. You can even buy solar battery packs in case you are without power for an extended time.

Preparing for Emergencies with Hearing Loss or Impairment

If you have hearing loss or impairment, there are additional steps you can take to prepare for an emergency. Your hearing aids will be the most important device to assist communication and to make it possible to hear updates and news about changes in conditions. If you rely on emergency alerts and alarms that use audible sirens, you may need additional sensory information to make sure you are aware of danger.

Fire alarms and other alert systems can use flashing lights and haptic systems such as tactile buzzers and vibrating sensors to supplement assist the audible alerts that you may not be able to hear. Radios and other communication systems also come equipped with text readers that support the audible signals they provide. Some of these emergency alert systems also have headsets that provide audible information specifically designed for those who have hearing loss or impairment. Don’t hesitate to contact emergency personnel prior to an event to learn what resources are out there for you. If you have hearing loss or impairment, there are devices available that can to assist your communication and alert needs prior to the event, but you will need to explore these consider preparedness before an event occurs. In addition, if you need hearing aids but have not yet received them, the time is now to schedule a hearing test. Once you have your exam, our hearing health professionals can help you get the assistance you need. Not only will hearing aids help your communication in everyday settings, but they can be crucial devices to assist you in an emergency too.

Kenneth H. Wood, BC-HIS

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