For those with loved ones who have hearing loss, worry about what would happen during an emergency can cause anxiety. Being prepared and thinking ahead can help prevent undue stress and keep your loved one safe.
Hearing loss can present the following challenges when it comes to personal safety:
Fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide
Your loved one may not hear or just sleep through sound-based alarms during an emergency. A visual alarm can help for daytime hours, with flashing lights situated in line of sight in each room. At night, a vibrational alarm can be set up between mattresses or under a pillow, to startle a body awake and warn them of danger.
A hurricane, tornado or flooding can upset routines and leave your loved one disoriented. Having an emergency kit packed and left in an easy-to-access place on the escape route from the home can help ensure they have everything they need. Include a spare set of hearing aids, and spare batteries. These should all be stored safely in a sturdy, sealed and waterproof container, and batteries should be rotated out and used and replaced with new ones periodically.
If your loved one needs to find shelter but is having difficulty communicating due to their hearing loss, having a charged phone and extra battery pack can allow others to communicate via voice to text apps or by typing questions and answers into a note-taking app. Have an emergency contact list in the kit, and make sure your loved one knows how to use emergency services options for tele-text.
Planning ahead can help your loved one stay safe even in times of emergency and provide ways for them to receive vital information despite their hearing loss. Make time to sit down with them and create a plan and pack a kit. It could make all the difference in a time of need!
Being prepared and thinking ahead can help prevent undue stress and keep a loved one with hearing loss safe during an emergency.