As we slowly move into Autumn and Winter, along with those shorter days come the cooler nights. We will soon find the need to be building up a good fire, switching on our electric blankets, and turning on various other electrical appliances to keep us warm. Have you checked your smoke alarms are working? Can you and everyone in your home hear them?
An increase in use of heating equipment means an increased risk of fire, and as we age, our sense of smell can decrease. Smoke alarms are the best tool to alert us to fire, giving us time to escape when there is a fire. Early warning is essential for a safe exit.
Fire and Emergency NZ offer simple and effective advice. More information can be found here – Smoke Alarms checking and maintenance | Fire and Emergency New Zealand
According to a 2007 study, “Waking Effectiveness of Alarms for Adults Who are Hard of Hearing,” (Bruck/Thomas 2007) the typical audible signal used by smoke alarms failed to wake up 43% of tested subjects with mild to moderately severe hearing loss despite the fact that all were able to hear the 3100 Hz tone when awake. The study also found that a large number of people overestimated their ability to hear conventional alarms.
Checking that you can hear alarms is especially important as people get older, when age-related hearing loss typically affects the ability to hear high frequencies. This type of hearing loss can occur gradually, so it often goes unnoticed. Noise induced hearing loss can have a similar affect. When mobility is also challenging, extra time may be needed to get out.
Our dedicated team of Hearing Therapists work nationally with the Fire and Emergency NZ to assess the needs of people with hearing impairment to determine if they can hear conventional smoke alarms.
People living independently may be eligible for funding for a smoke alarm system that is specifically designed for people who are deaf or hearing impaired.
In such cases, specialised smoke detectors transmit a signal to devices, alerting the individual by light and vibration. These are located in the bedroom and in some cases in main living areas.
Our team will work with you to ensure you have the same peace of mind as everyone else.
If you are concerned about your hearing, you can make an appointment to see a Hearing Therapist by phoning 0800 008 011 or completing this form online Find a clinic & book an appointment – Life Unlimited
Hearing Therapy provides free hearing evaluations throughout New Zealand as part of its Ministry of Health funded service.