When patients first begin to notice a decline in hearing, a main priority is to attain better hearing for communication purposes. But, hearing is critical for safety reasons also. For example, being able to hear a smoke detector is imperative for safety. Here are some eye-opening statistics about fires:
• According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the majority of residential fire fatalities occur between 11 pm and 7 am, when most people are sleeping.
• The U.S. Fire Administration shows that when someone perishes in a home fire, there was actually a working smoke detector 40% of the time.
• A timeline established by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), shows that fires grow very rapidly and most experts agree that we have no more than 2 minutes to escape once a smoke detector has been triggered.
Regardless of the smoke detector technology, all smoke detectors must generate a distinct audible alarm for a minimum amount of time at a defined loudness level of 75 dBA. Although there is no standard for the frequency or pitch of the alarm signal, most smoke detectors emit an alarm signal at the frequency of 3100Hz or higher.
The use of hearing aids allows most patients to hear a smoke alarm when awake, yet, during sleep the alert from a detector could be problematic as a high frequency hearing impairment is common among those with hearing loss. Thus, a smoke detector with a lower frequency (520Hz) alerting signal, especially when used in combination with a vibrating bed or pillow shaker, will be a better device for people with hearing impairment.
There are several alerting/safety devices commercially available for those with hearing loss. A popular recommendation is the Lifetone Bedside Fire Alarm Clock. Its unique design allows it to work with existing smoke detectors already installed in the home. It sits beside a bed and when a traditional 3100Hz alarm signal is detected, it generates its own 520Hz signal at 90dBA. It also comes equipped with a bed shaker that is triggered when the alarm is activated. The Lifetone Alarm can be programmed to use a voice command in English, Spanish or French and can also be used as an alarm clock, and has battery backup. This device can be ordered through your ACA office for less than $200.
For a demonstration click this link:

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