Disaster Planning for the Hearing Impaired

A natural disaster can strike anywhere at anytime. If you or a loved one has a hearing problem, a crisis presents additional obstacles. The key to safely navigating a disaster is advanced planning. So prepare for an emergency before it happens to ensure you know about an emergency and how to appropriately respond if one occurs.

Emergency Contact List

Print out a contact list for those you will need to reach out to as well as 9-1-1 services. Keep your audiologist and ear doctor telephone numbers as well as contact information for your hearing aid or cochlear implant company for emergency support.

Emergency Kit

Planning is essential for disaster preparedness. For the individual with a hearing loss, preparation should exceed the canned goods, bottled water, and batteries to include items, especially for their hearing needs. This emergency kit should consist of the following tools and supplies:

  • Extra hearing aid batteries
  • Water-resistant hearing aid container
  • Desiccant to absorb excess moisture from hearing aids
  • A small wire loop for excess wax accumulation
  • A brush for clearing dust and debris from hearing aid microphone
  • A thin plastic line for clearing tubing
  • Paper and pen for communication
  • A backup set of hearing aids if possible
  • A list of city, county, and state emergency numbers along with contact information of family and friends

Don’t Forget Your Hearing Aids

If you or a loved one wears hearing aids, Keep these troubleshooting steps handy in the case of hearing aid failure during a crisis.

  • Check and replace the battery if needed as this is the most common cause of hearing aid failure
  • Clean the hearing aids because dirty hearing aids are a prime reason for hearing aid failure
  • Dry the hearing aids as excessive moisture adversely affects their function

Further Steps

Talk to your audiologist regarding disaster planning. Know what disasters can occur in your area and what to do if one does happen. Communication is vital during a crisis and steps should be taken to assure the hearing impaired will receive emergency information.

  • Place a hearing impaired sign on your front door to alert emergency personnel to your presence.
  • Inform trusted neighbors and friends of your hearing loss so in the event of an emergency they can assist you.
  • Sign up for an alert system like emergency email to receive a text or email in the event of a disaster because up-to-date information can save your life in a natural disaster.
  • Establish a buddy system with two or three friends who will agree to check on you in the event of an emergency.
  • Have a key phrases card printed out that has key phrases for communicating with local authorities.

State and local governments provide planning committees, meetings, and training programs to assist people in the event of an emergency. Usually, these organizations are held responsible for ensuring effective communication for the deaf and hard of hearing. At a minimum, they should provide CART, qualified interpreters, assistive listening devices, and other auxiliary aids.2017-12-09 04:18:25