Weather Preparedness Tips for People with Hearing Loss

Weather Preparedness Tips for People with Hearing Loss

In Hearing Loss, Tips and Tricks by audseo

Winter months means lower temperatures, colder weather, and varying weather conditions. Inclement weather requires weather preparedness which helps people stay safe. Remaining aware of weather conditions and making sure you are prepared is important. Emergency conditions are often communicated through broadcasting systems like the TV or radio or through cell phone alerts. While this is helpful for some, this can create specific challenges for people with hearing loss. Nearly 1 in 6 people have some degree of hearing loss, the third most common medical condition which affects over 48 million people. 

Hearing loss reduces capacity to hear and process speech as well as sound. This can make it more challenging to access emergency alerts. People with hearing loss also have additional needs around hearing support that should be met. This is all part of weather preparedness and safety. Practicing the following strategies can help you be prepared for changing weather conditions and events: 

  • Sign up for alert systems.  Emergency weather conditions and events – earthquakes, tornados, blizzards, storms etc. are typically communicated in a few ways. This includes announcements on TV, radio, cell phone alerts, utilizing social media platforms. Depending on the nature of the weather conditions or emergency, announcements can be made a few days in advance or in real time on the event with little to no time to prepare. For people with hearing loss, these warnings can easily be missed – people may not be wearing their hearing aids or may not hear the alert. 

This highlights the importance of having access to alternative warning systems. This 

includes visual systems as well as other alternatives your city/town/neighborhood provides. Examples include augmented alerts specially for people with hearing loss, visual alert systems like flashing or vibrating signals, closed captioned on TV alerts etc. It is also common to receive emergency alerts on your phone so be sure to turn on your vibrate settings so you can also feel these alerts. It is important to learn what your options are and to sign up for alert systems in advance. 

  • Make an emergency kit. Another crucial strategy is to prepare an emergency kit. It should contain essential items and be easily accessible. This allows people to have materials and supplies to help navigate inclement weather conditions and events. Standard items an emergency kit contains include: food, clothing for inclement weather, and first aid supplies. But for people with hearing loss, there are additional items that are essential to navigating safely. This includes: 
  • Hearing aid items: you want to make sure you are stocked with supplies for your hearing aid. This includes having extra batteries, cleaning kit, waterproof container to store materials, accessories you use etc. 
  • Visual items: this includes any materials that help with visual cues – flashlight, glasses etc. which help people see. 
  • Pen and paper to be able to have another way to communicate if you struggle to hear and respond. 

These items should be organized in a kit and stored somewhere you will remember. You 

should be able to easily grab this kit and access its contents. 

  • Know communication plans. Another important strategy is to establish a communication plan that you can easily follow. This should include having at least two emergency contacts that you can reach out to for support. They should not be in your immediate area because then they’ll be experiencing the same conditions you are navigating. Think about loved ones who know about your hearing needs. You should be able to contact people to help you navigate until you reach safety. 
  • Maximize hearing aid use. Lastly, be sure that your hearing aids are in optimal condition. Your hearing aids provide ample hearing support which is integral to environmental awareness and safety. It is important to maintain your device by cleaning it daily and getting it serviced. Other ways you can ensure your hearing aid is prepared for emergencies include: 
  • Always keep your hearing aid kit stocked with supplies. Thai includes cleaning supplies, extra batteries, dehumidifier, and other accessories you may use. 
  • Have your hearing aids professionally inspected to make sure they are performing effectively and still meeting your hearing needs.

These strategies can help you be prepared for changing weather conditions and emergency events. Contact us today to learn more.