Now is a great time to check alerting devices in homes

Rebecca Krukemyer

        The change to Daylight Savings Time is paired with the reminder to check smoke detectors to ensure that they are working properly and batteries are fresh.
        This is also a great time to verify that the smoke detector signal can be heard by those with hearing loss. Not just heard when you are directly standing beneath it. Is the noise loud enough to be heard from your bedroom? Better yet, is the alarm loud enough to wake you from a deep sleep? This is a very valid question for those who have some difficulty hearing. Since hearing aids are not worn to bed, their use cannot be relied upon 24 hours a day.
        Fortunately, there are currently several different smoke detector models available which have been modified to alert one who may otherwise not hear the alarm. One version uses both an audible signal as well as a flashing strobe light. Some units allow a remote strobe light to be placed in another area of the house to expand the alerting area.
        Most of the units are hardwired into a wall or ceiling. However portable units are available for use in dorm rooms, rental properties and for use during travel. All these units give a reliable, early warning of the presence of smoke.
        Smoke detectors are not the only alerting device available for those with hearing loss. Signalers are available to notify you of everyday sounds, such as the doorbell, telephone ring, a baby’s cry, or an oven timer by turning on and off lamps in your home or signaling a vibrator to alert you. Countless family members have recalled times when they had to drive over and check on a relative who didn’t answer the phone because they didn’t hear it ring. The sigh of relief is replaced with frustration. In addition, it can be quite startling for an individual to find friends or family in the house unexpectedly and without warning. It is equally frustrating for family to continually ring the doorbell, knowing that the person inside cannot hear them. If friends and family can’t make themselves heard despite all efforts, imagine how an intruder could gain access without detection. It’s a frightening thought, but certainly one that merits consideration.
        Special alarm clocks are also available that wake you by intense sound, vibrating your pillow or flashing a strobe light. While intended for those with difficulty hearing the traditional alarm, these are also great for those of you who are sound sleepers.
        These assistive devices are a safety measure intended to keep on living more independently. Their use can give peace of mind to both the user and the family.
        Rebecca Krukemyer is an audiologist at Portage Valley Hearing, LLC, located at 133 E. Front St., Pemberville. She is available via email at or by phone at 419- 287-2201.


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