Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Emergency notification systems for people with hearing loss

In public locations, including the workplace, the traditional emergency alert system consists of loud sirens or alarms. But what happens when someone is deaf and cannot hear these warnings? The Americans with Disabilities Act stipulates that employers must also install visual alarms to protect people with hearing impairments. Some of these visual alerts, as described by the U.S. Department of Labor, include:
  • Flashing exit signs;
  • Strobe lights;
  • Vibrating alarms at the person’s desk;
  • Vibrating pagers worn by the hearing-impaired person;
  • Email pop-ups;
  • Multiple frequency alarms;
  • A buddy system, where a coworker alerts the person with hearing loss to the emergency;
  • Hearing dogs” that alert the person to any unusual sounds or alarms.
Not all of these alerts are effective for every person with a hearing impairment. Some are designed for people with moderate hearing loss, while others are best for people with profound hearing loss. Talk to an audiologist on your True Care plan to learn more about how to protect yourself in case of an emergency, and then relay that critical information to your employer, church, or other organization.

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