However, there are some ways to make the move a much easier and less stressful experience.
Here are my eight tips for moving as a deaf or hard of hearing person:
We’ve all been there – you request a quote from the piano mover or van hire, and ten minutes later they’re ringing you to give you one over the phone. For many deaf or hard of hearing people, dealing with phone calls can be difficult and anxiety-inducing. In this case, it may be especially useful for you to request that any important correspondence is delivered via text or email. For those who prefer a phone call, there are a number of devices out there, such as the Roger Pen, which can make talking over the phone even easier.
One of the most useful things I did was to keep a contact book complete with names, email addresses, and contact numbers for moving firms, van hire, plumbers, and so on. I carried this around with me so that I could easily contact the relevant people when needed without having to look on the internet or sift through my text messages, emails, or call list.
If you’re a visual person like me, seeing information laid out boldly and neatly leading up to a house move is particularly useful. I found that having a large calendar stuck on the wall detailing important dates and times very helpful during the move. I knew who to expect on any given day and was able to keep my phone to hand for any important text messages, emails or phone calls that were due to come through.
If you’re moving far away enough to require changing your doctor, dentist, audiologist, and other health care professionals, take the opportunity to ask around to see whether there are any particular places that can cater for your hearing loss. For instance, a doctor’s surgery which gives you the option to book online or via text may be more accessible to you than one which only gives you the option to ring for an appointment. Also, if possible, register your new details in advance so that you get welcome packs or other information sent to your new address.
Here in the UK, some local fire stations or councils will provide and install a flashing and vibrating fire alarm free of charge. For places where these are not provided, similar alarms may be sought from local authorities or bought from specialist companies or charitable organisations. If you’re moving into rented accommodation, don’t forget to let the landlord know of any permanent changes you’re making!
Many councils and local authorities will provide accessibility equipment such as a flashing doorbell, television loop system, or adapted baby alarm free of charge, at a reduced cost, or on loan. It’s well worth inquiring with your local authorities about what is available in your new area.
When I recently moved into my new flat, I knocked on the doors of all my neighbours to introduce myself. Not only was this a nice gesture, but it also gave me control over when I would be striking up a conversation (I chose to during daylight as it ensured lipreading would be easier) and avoid any awkward moments where I might appear to be ignoring someone trying to say hello!
There is nothing more nightmarish than arriving at your new home and not being able to find essential hearing aid equipment such as batteries or a drying box. To overcome this problem, I made an essentials box containing all of my important supplies and kept this clearly labelled and in a place I could easily access. Knowing where this box was at all times was really helpful and took a lot of stress away. You can add other things such as your phone charger to your essentials box, too – or if you’re like me, pop in an emergency stash of chocolate!
Do you have any other moving tips for deaf or hard of hearing people? Let us know in the comments!