How Can I Keep My Family Safe When I Cannot Hear The Danger?

What is that noise?” my son asked me one lazy afternoon this summer. “I don’t hear anything,” I replied. “It sounds like someone is coming up our driveway. The motor is revving. Can’t you hear it?” he practically shouts in an increasingly worried voice. He was nervous that danger was approaching. I didn’t hear a thing.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

This goes on for a minute or two as I put down my book and move closer to the source of the apparent sound, listening intently. Still nothing. My son is getting more agitated so we walk across the lawn and look down our driveway. Now I can see the cause of the disturbance.

A couple of neighborhood kids are riding their motorbikes up and down our dirt driveway. They probably should have asked permission first, but there is no real danger. But what if next time there is?

Now I am scared. How can I keep family safe if I can’t hear the danger?

Rather than be cowed by fear, I spent some time researching my options. Here are my ideas. Please add yours in the comments.

1. Create visual cues: Some alarm systems provide both visual and auditory alerts. Flashing lights would alert me to visitors (invited or otherwise) even if I could not hear them approach.

2. Rely on your living companions: My son served this function in the earlier example. Once I knew there was a noise to investigate, I could do that and take any necessary action.

3. Use the security system: We have a house alarm system, but sometimes we don’t arm it. Whenever I am home alone with the kids for the night, I need to use it.

4. Adopt a dog or other service animal: Many people swear by their service dogs. While this is a viable option for many people, it is not for me. I am allergic.

5. Build a support network: Partner with neighbors to alert one another to anything unusual in the area. We should all take the time to do this, hearing loss or not.

6. Have an emergency plan: Discuss with your family where to go to stay safe in case of an emergency. This might be a particular part of the house (i.e., the basement for a big storm) or somewhere else in your area. You can read more about putting together an emergency plan here.

Dwight Eisenhower once said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” This is probably true in this case. While my plans may never be enacted, (hopefully not), I feel more confident and secure having thought through the issues and discussing them with my family. Living in fear is not an option.

Readers, how do you prepare for the danger you cannot hear?

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18 thoughts on “How Can I Keep My Family Safe When I Cannot Hear The Danger?

  1. Yes, well my kids learned early on, that while they could alert me, chances of me identifying the noise was unlikely. Fortunately, I live with super hearing sleuths.

    When we lived on a farm in the country, Lou managed to get one of those bells that were tripped when a car drove over the cord at the gas station. Now we have a gated entrance. I know some folks have cameras. Following an “incident” Lou installed flashing lights over the bed to accompany the various alarms.

    Now, my fear is of natural predators; we have a great many coyotes and even bears that come into the yard.They have no fear of humans. When I’m out with my daughter’s 8 mo choc lab, I’m fearful whenever she’s out of my sight. I can’t hear where she is. I’m constantly calling her and rewarding her with treats as she seeks to expand her explorations. Who has a solution to help me keep our puppy safe ?

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  2. In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, I am reminded of the crucial need for reliable captioning and ASL when emergency info is broadcast on the TV. I have enlisted my neighbor to alert me if the sirens for a nearby nuclear power plant ever go off. You are so right to point out that “planning is indispensable.” Thanks for another great post!

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    • I had no access to TV from 3 hours before the storm hit until 2 days later. Cellular was also knocked out, so no access to any news apps or weather maps. Battery operated radio worked, but not captioned. Really felt totally cut off from the world. But we survived!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Keep doors secured while working indoors,
    Install haemosensitive lights in strategic places around the house.
    Help with sound tracking training, I I underwent a procedure and suffer challenges telling direction of sound. Anyone

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  4. Very scary situation about not hearing well in a emergency I just have to cope with it tinnitus has been in my life a long time along with hearing loss

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  5. I was surprised to learn that Closed Captioning on television is not a federal mandate for Broadcast News. It is decided by State Legislatures. I learned this when I attended the HLAA conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, this summer. My first thought then was – what would I do in emergencies?

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  6. I’m not sure if my comment went through.

    Someone suggested to me putting strategically placed mirrors so you can see what’s going on outside without them seeing you.

    You always write great posts. Many thanks,

    Pat Dobbs Certified Peer Mentor, Gallaudet University President, HLAA-Morris County Driving Force of the Hearing Loss Revolution >

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  7. We all talk about more accessible emergency communication for people with Hearing Loss during a natural disaster. It’s important to be able to hear the news and alerts so that we can be safe when disaster strikes.
    BUT — Here’s my very difficult dilemma:
    On a normal day, I wear my hearing aids non-stop during my waking hours because I am more relaxed, feeling safer, when I’m attuned to environmental sounds.
    Then, along comes IRMA. I planned to wear my Hearing Aids all night, so that if anything happens, or if I need to evacuate suddenly, I’ll be ready, and I’ll be able to hear and follow instructions. I even had my spare Hearing Aids nearby in a waterproof case. That was the plan.
    The eye of the storm passed over us that night (why do they ALWAYS strike in the middle of the night when it’s dark?) I was really beat from all the preparation work we had done on Friday and Saturday, so I thought I would take a little nap before things got really bad. Trying to sleep with my Hearing Aids on, I could hear everything! The wind was so loud, roaring, and throwing things against the roof and the walls. And did I tell you it was dark? The power went out at 9:30 PM, three hours before the peak of the storm. So, I had to make a choice; the only way I could get through it was to sleep, and the only way I could sleep was…Hearing Aids off!

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    • Wow! That must have been a harrowing experience. I am so glad that you are safe. While you did not execute your plan exactly as you might have liked, the fact that you had a plan probably helped a lot. Best of luck to you as you clean up and recover from the storm.

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