It can be challenging for people with all their senses to appreciate the difficulties for those with impairments. For example, the struggles of the blind are apparent (such as reading printed material) but are much more complex when studied in-depth (i.e., maneuvering about a city). The same is true for those who are hearing impaired. Besides the obvious difficulty with conversation, there are other daily issues people with hearing loss face. For example, there is difficulty hearing an alarm to get up in the morning, dealing with fire and smoke alarms, or identifying who is talking when the person is outside their field of vision.
Fortunately, with progress in technology and understanding of the needs of the impaired, assistive technology for the hard of hearing and deaf individuals is becoming more commonplace and affordable.
Assistive Technology for the Hard of Hearing
When hearing is impaired, but vision is not, sight and touch are the two most common senses to take over. As a result, flashing lights on devices designed for the hearing impaired is increasingly common. Think of a doorbell that flashes instead of ringing. As for feel, vibrations can alert people who can't hear very well, making the vibrating setting on phones and alarms especially useful.
For those who are hearing impaired but not completely deaf, lower frequencies can be heard sometimes, depending on the severity of the impairment. Such low-frequency sounds might be annoying for some, but they can be used for notifications from phones or alarms for the impaired.
With increased technology, one advancement has been in hearing aids. Many now function essentially as Bluetooth-enabled smart ears. This technology means those who can use them can receive verbal and vibration-based notifications regarding weather alerts, baby alarms, doorbells, and phone messages. For the deaf, such devices with vibration settings can also make a difference.
Combination of Products
Assistive technology for hard-of-hearing individuals has become more varied and available, as has people's understanding of the hardships such people face. It's not just the apparent problems like holding a conversation, but everyday issues like phone messages, doorbells, weather alerts, and baby alarms. With the use of light flashes, vibrations, and low sounds easier to pick up for some, there are ways to overcome the issues and handle everyday needs much more quickly. This is especially important when there is an emergency. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should include combination notification systems that can alert the hearing impaired any time of day.
It can require adaptability for everyone involved, but the improved quality of life is worth the learning curve. Whether it's a vibrating alarm or a doorbell with a flasher, the means are out there for the impaired to overcome daily struggles and live a full life.