Weather Preparedness Tips for People with Hearing Loss

Are you prepared for a weather emergency? If a major storm hits the city, what will you do? Disasters are always unexpected, but taking the time to prepare for an emergency before it hits will give you peace of mind, and help protect you and your entire family.

Hearing the Alerts

Notifications about emergencies or crisis are often broadcast through radio or TV announcements, or through live streaming reports. These often don’t include closed captioning, and aren’t accessible for those with hearing loss. You might understand that there’s a storm on the way, but you may not understand the instructions you need to hear to prepare for the weather emergency, know when it will arrive, or what areas will be affected. Howard A. Rosenblum, chief executive officer of the National Association of the Deaf, wants local governments and media to do more to make information accessible for everyone, and create more visual alerts that display all the important information. “To be fully accessible, any auditory information regarding emergencies and inclement weather should always be provided simultaneously with captioning and sign language,” explains Rosenblum.

Sign up for Wireless Alerts

If you’re worried about missing alerts, sign up for the wireless alerts system that will send emergency alerts to your phone. You’ll be notified by vibrations or flashing lights so you won’t miss the text messages, and will be kept in the loop about everything happening around you. Sign up for the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireless Alerts System. This Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system has been in operation since 2012, and notifies Americans across the country about natural disasters, dangerous weather, other emergencies, and even missing children’s reports. These alerts are geographically targeted, so you’ll only get texts that pertain to the area where you live, or threats that will directly affect you.

“Phones are very important, especially during power and/or home internet outages,” explains Norman Williams, a senior research engineer with Gallaudet University. “They tend to continue working during the storms unless nearby cellular towers get damaged. Without TV, phone service, power and home internet, it will be tough for deaf people to get information.” If you’re struggling to hear, and worried about missing alerts on the radio, sign up for the WEA system and you’ll always be prepared.

Alerts for Hard of Hearing Americans

The WEA system is critical for informing hard of hearing Americans about emergencies happening in the area. “Communications that are geared towards mobile apps and smart phones are a necessary part of efficient and effective dissemination of emergency and weather information to everyone including deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals as long as the information is provided in all modes including auditory, captioning, and sign language,” Rosenblum said. These alerts will keep everyone safe, and make sure everyone has the same access to information, warnings, and instructions.

Weather Preparedness Kit

If you’re about to be hit by a weather emergency, you might not have time to get prepared. That’s why having a weather preparedness kit is crucial for your safety and peace of mind. Never forget your hearing aids! They should be in your ears, but if the emergency comes at night, be sure to put them in before you do anything else. Pack extra batteries into your kit to ensure you don’t run out of power. Having a pad of paper and a pencil on hand is also important, in case your hearing aids are malfunctioning, or you simply can’t hear what someone is trying to tell you. Include a flashlight in your preparedness kit, and a sealed container or bag to put your hearing aids in so that they’ll be safe. You can find a full guide from The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities that will give you more tips on what to pack in a preparedness kit.

Pacific Hearing Care

Are you struggling with hearing loss? Are you worried that in the event of an emergency you won’t be able to hear what’s going on around you, or keep your family safe? Visit us at Pacific Hearing Care to find the perfect hearing aids that will match your hearing needs, give you back your confidence and freedom, and help you hear in every listening situation.