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All this week is deaf awareness week, which aims to celebrate those living with deafness and raise awareness of best practice, whilst demonstrating change and positivity.

In this short blog, we look at some of the equipment and technology that is available and can be installed into homes, to enable deaf or hearing-impaired people to live independently. In some cases, very sensitive hearing in noisy environments can cause a person to feel overstimulated and stressed. With good design and materials this can help to “dampen” the noise intrusion.

France + Associates often work with persons with hearing impairments and sensitivity, where careful thought may be required to the location of rooms, how the home is treated and what available technology is out there to make a home a castle!

Careful Design

The location of rooms are an important factor when considering a person with hearing impairments. A room which fronts on to a busy road maybe an issue for someone who is able to hear but struggles to pick out a person’s voice in conversation.

Careful design can therefore contribute to the success and feeling of well-being within the home, so that a hearing impaired person can enjoy all the benefits one would expect. A thought process on the design of a home when considering a hearing impaired person’s needs, may affect the location of rooms, the sizes of them, the size of windows and locations of other, helpful property features.

Assistive Technology

When considering hearing impairments, assistive technology may also help in the form of hearing loops (sometimes called an audio induction loop). It is essentially a special type of sound system for use by people with hearing aids. The hearing loop provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to ‘T’ (Telecoil) setting.

The hearing loop consists of a microphone to pick up the spoken word; an amplifier which processes the signal which is then sent through the final piece; the loop cable, a wire placed around the perimeter of a specific area.

Although less common in homes, it can be fitted when undertaking property adaptations, and may improve a person’s ability to enjoy entertainment through the TV and Radio. If microphones are provided within the room, it could also improve a person’s ability to share a conversation.

Acoustic Insulation

Insulation is often attributed to improving a home’s ability to stay warm in winter, and cool in summer. It can however also reduce the risk of noise transmittance, which are often carried through vibration and high frequency. This can be achieved through acoustic insulation, but in large open spaces can also be improved with soft furnishings such as curtains, carpet finishes as oppose to hard flooring, to provide just a few examples. 

Alarm Clocks

These can either flash or vibrate and can be attached to an existing clock. When placed under the pillow or mattress the alarm will vibrate at the set time, and a person can be gently woken up.

Fire Alarms

Vibrating pillow alarms such as the Agrippa Pillow Fire Alarm, are placed under the pillow, much in the same way as an alarm clock. If the fire alarm does sound, the pad vibrates, and high intensity lights flash, the LCD screen also displays the word ‘fire’.

Doorbells

For a person who is hard of hearing, a slightly louder than normal doorbell may suffice. However, for many people with hearing loss, a doorbell can be connected to a lamp, strobe light or pager to let a person know that the doorbell is ringing.

Baby Monitors

Fortunately, technology has made it possible for a deaf or hearing-impaired parent to be alerted to the cries of their baby. Many baby alarms for people living with a hearing impairment are equipped with a vibrating alarm and / or a flashing light that alerts a parent whenever the baby needs attention.

Phone Calls

For those living with slight loss of hearing, simply adjusting the volume on a phone can make hearing the phone rings easier. If this is not adequate, an extension bell can be added, or a flashing light can be installed in a number of rooms across the home so a person can be alerted when the phone rings. 

 

France and Associates are experts in inclusive design and have substantial practical experience of designing homes for people living with disabilities.

For more information, please contact us on 01484 960560 or admin@franceandassociates.co.uk.

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For more information, contact us on
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