Living independently while also navigating hearing loss poses many challenges. Fortunately, with assistive and accessible technology, you can tackle those challenges head-on. Assistive technology is any device, hardware, or software that can be used to complete a task that might otherwise be too difficult or even impossible to achieve with a disability. Take a look at some of the many tools you can use to help increase your quality of life while aging in place.
One of the many helpful technologies commonly used for hearing loss is alerting devices. These devices use flashing lights and vibrations to signal someone with hearing loss to a sound they may not normally hear. Not only are these devices essential for independence, but they also help your safety and overall well-being. For example, fire alarms will use a strobe light to visually alert you to a hazard instead of emitting a loud sound. Wake-up alarm signalers will emit a strobing effect while also intensely vibrating to make sure you’re awake on time.
New hearing technology is also helping to make alerting devices easier to use. Originally, you had to hardwire the device directly into the sound source, but with Bluetooth technology, a wireless signal can be sent to the device. Some will even send a notification to your mobile phone if you have one.
Similar to alerting devices, many modern appliances are becoming more accessible to those with hearing loss. For example, stoves are coming equipped with flashing lights and mobile-phone notification capabilities to let you know when something is done.
When you’re looking for new appliances such as a refrigerator or washing machine, it’s important to find the quietest option possible. These larger appliances tend to make louder vibrations and hum at a frequency that can be agitating to those with hearing loss. However the quietest appliances tend to be the most expensive, so it might be necessary to seek financial help. Some companies are happy to offer affordable financing options, but replacing multiple appliances would mean you have multiple bills to keep track of. For this reason, it might be better to go the route of taking out a loan. Thankfully, you can use a home equity loan which allows you to use your home’s equity as collateral to borrow money. Additionally, this loan pays in a lump sum that you can use to help pay for other home improvements to increase your quality of life.
Phones and Communication
The way that people with hearing loss use phones can vary from person to person. Many deaf individuals don’t want to rely on their voices for communication and instead use text messages or video to communicate through American Sign Language. Modern cell phones have made it easier than ever to do this. Services such as FaceTime and Duo allow you to communicate through video, so you can use ASL. If you’re still using a landline, many of these phones have the same features as alarm clocks, offering brighter, strobing notification lights and a louder vibration to help notify you of an incoming call.
Living independently while dealing with hearing loss can be a difficult challenge, but not impossible! Find the right assistive technology for you and make sure to do your research. With these tools, you can live your life happily and independently.