Good news! Advancements in technology have made it possible for your patients with hearing loss to optimize their homes for their condition. This means no more missing an important phone call, an in-home emergency, or a ringing doorbell because of their deafness. Smart home accessories can connect to Oticon Opn™ hearing aids to help your patients vastly improve their quality of life.
Smart home technology gives ears a needed boost
Home builders are now constructing houses that are completely smart from the ground up. Likewise, there are devices, accessories, and gadgets readily available to make your patients’ homes smart enough to be hearing assistive.
There are smart home security systems that send alerts to smartphones in the event of a possible break-in, and they can also notify users of other hazards such as frozen pipes, water leaks, fire, and carbon monoxide and smoke exposure. Better yet, if your patients have Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, they can sync them to their smart security devices so audio alerts come directly through their hearing aids.
A smart doorbell system, which includes a video camera, two-way audio, and motion sensors, allows a person with hearing loss to see who is ringing and speak with them (even lip read), without having to unlock or open the door. Additionally, there is an iPhone app called TapTap which vibrates or flashes when someone is at the door.
These technologies can do wonders to make homes safer for people with hearing loss, while also ensuring they don’t accidentally ignore guests when they come to visit. They can also be set up to send alerts and notifications to loved ones in case the resident of the house is in a situation where they need help.
Using smart lighting as a visual alert system
Homes with smart lighting features can set the mood for any type of gathering – from large parties to small, intimate dinners. They can also be used as visual cues for those with hearing loss. For example, smart lighting can be synced with kitchen appliances to visually alert people with hearing loss when an oven timer expires. When time is up, the lights flash to alert the user to turn off the oven and take their dish out of it.
Backtracking to security, smart lighting can also be synced with a smart security system to turn on all of the lights in the house when a possible break in is detected. In addition to likely scaring away any intruders, this helps wake the user up so they can call the police for help.
Room-rattling volume can be an annoyance of the past
With Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, your patients no longer need to crank the volume on the TV, radio, or stereo up to the highest level. Once smartly set up, the audio will clearly and directly stream to their hearing aids, saving family members and neighbors a ton of grief.
There are also portable HyperSound Clear Speakers on the market that are designed to send a narrow beam of sound from a television to a targeted zone, meaning only someone in said zone will hear the louder sound. Best of all, no headphones are required!
Making conversation easier
Captioned and amplified landline phones have been around for years and are still beneficial on both ends of the conversation. The caller doesn’t have to shout into the phone, and the listener can clearly read or hear what is being said. And, best of all, as a provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the federal government established a fund to provide any individual with hearing loss access to captioned telephone services at no cost. This service is funded through surcharges on all telephone bills.
For any of your patients to qualify for a free captioned telephone, they need to have medically recognized hearing loss, a home Internet connection, and a landline. Once they obtain a professional certification form, which you can provide, they can submit it to any manufacturer of captioned telephones and the device will be sent to them at no charge. There is also a smartphone and tablet app called ClearCaptions that adds free captions to phone conversations.
These are all exciting and practical innovations that can make your hearing loss patients’ lives much safer, less complex, and more enjoyable. So start telling them all about smart home technology. It is, after all, the smart thing to do.