Weather Preparedness Tips for People with Hearing Loss

In Hearing Loss, Tips & Tricks by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

A natural disaster can occur at any time. Some disasters give a warning, such as a storm preceding a flood. Others, such as earthquakes, give little or no warning. Once a disaster happens, the time to prepare is gone. The best way to cope with a natural disaster is to prepare by having a plan before it strikes. If you are living with a hearing loss then you have a whole set of preparations to help you navigate a disaster with ease. Just a little bit of prep ahead of time could save your life and ensure you and your loved one’s safety when disaster strikes.

Alerts for Weather Emergencies

Many who have healthy hearing take for granted that we will be notified of serious inclement weather. Those who have hearing ability can receive news of incoming dangers through the Emergency Broadcasting System. This program alerts those who watch television or listen to the radio that an emergency is possibly on its way. The loud beeping sounds are unavoidable, capturing the attention of all those nearby but this can easily be missed when living with a hearing loss.

Technological Accommodations

Many of us get our broadcast news through Smartphones or other wireless-enabled technology. When an emergency is coming, Smartphones can be enabled to alert users with visual alerts. Flashing lights and other visual warnings can be very helpful for those who with hearing loss. When the phone is in use, other notifications are available to signal danger.

However, if your local cell tower becomes disabled your Smartphone will be of little use. If a television is broadcasting in the home, closed captioning and even sign language interpretation can be enabled to signal dangerous weather on the way. Yet, closed captioning requires the existing attention of the hearing-impaired watcher. Those with serious hearing impairments may consider installing extra visual alert systems in the home to ensure readiness in an emergency. This unit includes an unmistakable bright light that can alert the resident to danger. Just like the sirens that may be used from a town center or neighborhood association, this alert system coordinates with the Emergency Broadcast System to pass along crucial information.

Pack an Emergency Kit

Pack extra batteries in your emergency kit. Be sure to include batteries and chargers to keep your hearing aids, cochlear implants and assistive listening systems safe and working. You’ll want to have up to four weeks of backup hearing-aid batteries and a sealed waterproof container in your emergency kit, for your hearing aid or cochlear implant.

Don’t forget to include your medications, written copies of your medical information, your prescriptions, and your driver’s license or passport.

  • Legacy technologies: These include old-fashioned pen and paper for communicating with friends, family and emergency workers if you do not have access to your hearing aid or cochlear implant.
  • Portable battery charger: Cochlear implants are more of a challenge during an emergency because their rechargeable batteries generally last at most about eight hours. This is where a portable battery charger may be useful. The chargers themselves need to be charged, however, so be sparing in how you use them.
  • Your car as a power source: Even when all other power is out, your car (depending on the model, and as long as you have gas) will have some power for charging things like a cochlear implant battery pack and your cell phone.
  • A Flashlight: This is especially important for the hard of hearing. If it’s dark, you may need a flashlight to help in reading lips.

South Shore Hearing Center

Visit to our team at South Shore Hearing Center to help you prepare for an emergency. We can guide you to assistive technology, including hearing aids, that can help keep you safe in the next serious weather event. With hearing aids in place, you will be more aware of your surroundings and able to quickly respond to danger. Don’t delay getting your hearing examined to find the best hearing aids for your needs. Don’t wait for an emergency! Make an appointment with us at South Shore Hearing Center and be ready for whatever weather comes your way.