9 million of the UK's estimated 65 million strong population are thought to be hard of hearing. The overwhelming cause is age related (presbycusis
), a natural process that diminishes one's ability to hear. Because the condition happens as the body matures, there might be a time when certain home improvements may be required to accommodate the loss of hearing.
Fit a doorknocker - These are particularly useful to amplify the sound to resonate around the home. Most hard of hearing are unable to hear the sound of a normal knock, however a doorknocker that is made from metal has a better chance to allow visitors to announce their presence.
Fit a door sign - Depending on your level of hearing loss, you may require visitors to use the doorbell instead of knocking. It might be a good idea to place a sigh outside the door asking visitors to use the bell. Depending on your area, you might wish to exclude mentioning that a hard of hearing resides in the home so not to attract the wrong king of attention. A simple sign can be made using your home printer on a photo paper and protection from the weather can be achieved by laminating the sign or using a fixative varnish spray.
Fit a hard of hearing doorbell - There are certain home doorbells designed with the hard of hearing in mind. These are extra loud devices that often include other sensory clues. It is natural for the body to compensate the loss of one sense by heightening another sense. Hard of hearing doorbells
therefore will include flashing lights that together with amplified sound provide better sensory clues to announce a visitor. Often wireless and working on battery power, they require only the most basic DIY skills to fit.
Replace conventional smoke alarm - In 2010 over 340 people in the UK died in fire related deaths. Smoke alarms designed for the hard of hearing feature high-intensity strobe lights and vibration pads to wake the person during the night if there is a fire alarm. Additionally, in case of fire or other emergency, it is important that exits should always be clearly marked as loss of hearing in an emergency may lead to confusion.
Fit an amplified or text phone - Depending on the level of hearing loss, a deaf or hard of hearing phone
may be needed. These devices vary from traditional phones in that they provide amplified ringer together with amplified speaker. You can get home improvement equipment and advice about the different types of aids available from retail shops, National Health Service audiology departments and voluntary organisations.