From hurricanes and tornadoes to blizzards and heat waves, extreme weather can be deadly. Storms can arise suddenly and an important part of staying safe is being prepared. If you have hearing loss, emergency preparedness has a few extra challenges to make sure you stay on top of information and can communicate with others, even when the going gets rough.
Get Smart Alerts
Alternative alarm and alert systems exist for people with hearing loss, some as close as your pocket. People with hearing loss have long relied on vibrating alarm products that alert you to danger even when you may not be able to hear the sound of a warning. For safety, many people with hearing loss use “bed shakers” – vibrating alarms that go off when smoke or CO2 is detected.
Getting weather alerts that vibrate your cell phone are a good first step in being prepared for a severe weather incident. Your cell phone is a flexible and important tool in picking up regional weather alerts and warnings, and communicating in times of trouble, so keep your phone sufficiently charged and signed up for alerts.
If you live in an area where severe weather is a common occurrence, you may want to equip yourself with an accessible emergency radio, such as the Special Needs NOAA Weather Radio. Emergency radios can be operated by solar power or hand cranking so they keep working even when the power goes out. For accessibility, the Special Needs NOAA Weather Radio features both visual and vibrating alerts, and emergency information is presented as text on a screen that corresponds to emergency broadcasts. The NOAA system is a national network that monitors severe weather and natural disasters to deliver up-to-the-minute information, as well as early alerts about developing severe weather.
Know What You Need
An emergency kit should be part of every home and workplace, and it should include the basic supplies you may need if a situation cuts you and your area off from resources and electricity for a several days. Most emergency kits contain simple, non-perishable supplies like food and water, basic first aid and a flashlight or headlamp. If you live with hearing loss, your kit may have a few extra components.
First, if you wear hearing aids you will want to keep them working and have a way to protect them. Keep a small, durable container to protect your hearing aids when they aren’t in your ears. The container should be waterproof to keep them away from water, and rigid to keep them from being crushed. You also don’t want your hearing aids to run out of power. Store extra batteries or a portable power pack in your kit to help keep you running through any emergency.
Even the best laid plans can run into trouble in an emergency. Many cell networks stay online even when power goes out in an area, so texting can be a part of your emergency plan. However, cell phone batteries die and cell towers and networks can get knocked out, so it is also important to have a non-digital way to communicate with others. That’s why it’s important for people with hearing loss to carry a pen and paper in case other methods of communication fail. Even if your hearing aids are damaged and your cell phone is dead, using a pen and paper means you can communicate clearly with those around you.
For those who want to go the extra step, communication cards can provide a handy shortcut in communicating without voices and talking to rescue or authority figures. Communication cards convey your hearing loss to the person reading the card, and many also use images, symbols and words that are easy to point to and convey meaning.
Want to be prepared for your life? Whether or not severe weather hits your area, treating your hearing loss is a way to be ready for whatever life sends your way. Hearing Group can help you find hearing solutions that are a perfect fit for your ear -and your lifestyle.
Treating hearing loss isn’t something to wait on. Procrastinating on your hearing health makes it harder to adapt to treatment, so the time to make an appointment for your next hearing exam is now. Fortunately, Hearing Group knows hearing care inside and out, offering comprehensive hearing exams and hearing options tailored to your needs. Have questions? Give us a call today!