Living on your own can be a frightening and even difficult thing for some people to do. Juggling finances, life events, and personal responsibility can be just a few worries when embarking out on your own for just about anyone. But for those diagnosed with hearing loss, living independently may seem almost impossible without the assistance of other people, as they wonder how they will be able to perform everyday tasks and live safely alone. Dire situations such as responding to emergencies like a smoke detector or simple tasks such as greeting visitors at the door can be difficult to accomplish and dissuade those with hearing loss from taking the next steps toward independent living. Fortunately, for the 48 million Americans diagnosed with hearing loss, advancements in technology have made living on your own easier and safer.
Hearing a knock or a doorbell may be tricky for those with profound hearing loss, and could be one of the barriers preventing you from living an independent life. Door signalers aim to help, notifying you in various ways when someone has approached the door or rung your doorbell. Some devices use video screens that are placed around your home to show who your visitor is, while others are connected to your doorbell, flashing signal lights when the bell is detected. Through the use of technology, you will never miss that knock at the door.
One of the biggest uncertainties when living on your own for the deaf or hard of hearing community is the ability to respond to emergencies or danger. On average, fire departments respond to an estimated average of 355,400 home fires annually, while three out of every five home fire deaths result in homes without smoke alarms. To help those who cannot hear smoke alarms in cases of danger, multi-part devices have been created to not only shake your bed in case of fire but also display text like an alarm clock. Connected directly to your smoke detector, a flat, round, vibrating device is placed under your mattress and will activate when your smoke detector registers that there is a fire. The second part of the device will either flash strobe lights or display the text “FIRE” on a screen. There are similar devices that operate with carbon monoxide as well.
With the rise of smartphone applications, there are more and more apps (most of which are free) to help those in the deaf or hard of hearing community increase their quality of life. For those who use their smartphone as their main form of communication at home, applications such as speech-to-text apps can caption phone calls in real-time. Other apps can be used as home-monitoring devices, giving you the ability to see who is at your front door, all on the screen in your pocket.
Though hearing loss can make living alone a difficult process for the hard of hearing community, technology is giving you easier and newer solutions. Through smartphone applications, door signalers, and warning devices, daily tasks that could be otherwise risky or complicated is now simpler and safer.