This is for many reasons – it could come out while you are sleeping and get lost in the sheets, or fall on the floor where you could step on it in the middle of the night. However, the primary reason is to allow your ear to breathe and your hearing aid to dry from moisture and bacteria. Nighttime is a good time to allow this to happen.
But there are safety risks when removing your hearing aids at night.
If you can’t hear the doorbell ring, a fire alarm or your child calling out for help in the middle of the night, you may feel helpless.
However, there are tools available to help those of us with hearing loss to sleep safer and more soundly.
It is estimated that half of all fatal fires start at night when people are asleep.
Most smoke alarms produce a loud warning sound between the frequencies of 3,000 to 4,000 Hertz – the very frequencies that are among those most affected by age-related hearing loss and other auditory impairments. Other smoke alarms emit a low-frequency (520 Hz) square wave tone, which most hearing-impaired people can hear.
For people who are completely deaf, or who are unable to hear whatsoever when they take out their hearing aids or turn off their cochlear implants at night, there are alarm systems that combine extremely loud alarms, blinking lights, and vibrators that shake your mattress.
Several of these methods can be designed to be incorporated into more complete home security systems. Smoke larms are either hard-wired requiring an electrician to install it, or ready to be plugged in. A single transmitter can be connected to multiple receivers to provide alerting throughout a home or building.
Similar to smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors operate by producing a loud, audible sound or by flashing colored lights – or both. Strobe lights and wireless receivers are also available. The detectors are either stand-alone detectors or used in conjunction with existing alarm systems. Both hardwired and plug-in detectors are available.
Wake-up alarms either vibrate or flash a light and can attach to an existing clock or be part of a clock.
They can go under a pillow or mattress, or be set up near the bed. There are also clocks with braille features that can be used by deafblind people.
Door signalers let you know when someone is at the door, usually by flashing a light. Some hang on the back of a door and sense vibrations, others connect to regular lamps. Others work by remote signaling, picking up a signal from a push-button on the door. There are also wireless pagers that can pick up transmissions from pressed door transmitters.
The phone is your essential go-to item during an emergency. Various models are HA and CI compatible while other phone models integrate speakerphone systems with very high volumes that can be easily used and often voice-activated. They allow you to voice-dial for assistance in an emergency. There are additional accessories for mobile phones, such as vibrating wristbands that will inform you of an incoming call even if you’re sleeping.
Read more: How deaf people can benefit from wearables
Phone signalers work by flashing a light or making a very loud sound. They can be plugged directly into the telephone line or connecting a lamp to the signaler. They can be put on a table or desktop next to a telephone or mounted on a wall. Remote receivers can transmit a phone signal to other rooms, and there are also standalone models. For those who have video phones, video phone signalers are also available.
Many more hearing-impaired individuals have installed loops in their homes to improve the performance of their hearing aids or cochlear implants. The systems are basically long strands of wire positioned in a loop around your living room, kitchen, or bedrooms. These serve to activate the telecoils inside your hearing aid that raise the volume of sound and can be very helpful in emergency situations.
It’s also always a good idea to have the telephone numbers of fire departments, ambulance providers, doctors, and emergency services handy.
Sleeping away from home poses it’s own challenges. You can handle that by carrying along some of your home alert and alarm devices. Tell your host or hotel manager that you have a hearing challenge, and ask them to alert you about emergencies.
These methods work, but still my preferred method to safe sleeping is a more personal approach to safety. Having a roommate with good hearing, a hearing dog, or falling asleep each night and waking up each morning with someone you love, is a great alternative.
Do you wear or take out your hearing aid or cochlear implant at night? Have you retrofitted your home for emergencies? Share your tips with us in the comments!