There are many assistive devices available for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. Some NHS Audiology departments have equipment that they can show you or loan to you for a trial period. Ask your Hearing Therapist or Audiologist for advice on the equipment available
Contact your local Social Services Department to see if they can lend you the equipment to use at home, or you could try the Government’s Access to Work scheme https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/overview. If you purchase equipment yourself, ask for a 28 day, money back guarantee so that you can try it out first.
- Alarm Clocks
- Baby Alarms
- Smoke/Fire Detectors
- Hearing Dogs for the Deaf
If you have a severe to profound hearing loss a doorbell which activates a flashing light or a paging device may be helpful.
Flashing light systems can either be plugged into electrical sockets, so that you can move them around the house, or wired into the electricity mains (making all the lights in your house flash or dim). It is also possible to obtain a vibrating pad that can be placed under your pillow to wake you at night.
With paging systems you wear a small vibrating pager in your pocket, which alerts you when the doorbell is pressed. If you have more than one device in your home a pagers with a display is used to tell you which device has been activated (e.g. alarms, telephones or the doorbell).
It is possible to obtain alarm clocks with flashing lights or a vibrating pad to go under your pillow and alert you when you are asleep.
Baby alarms with flashing lights are useful.
There are domestic fire alarms available with flashing lights and vibrating pads.
There are various adaptations that will enable a partially hearing person hear more clearly/loudly on the telephone: an amplifier or inductive couplers (for use with the T-switch on your hearing aid). An amplified ringer on the telephone and extension bells in several rooms may help you hear the telephone ring. Flashing light devices to use with telephones are available and are similar to those used with doorbells.
Ask your Hearing Therapist for tips on telephone use or telephone training.
For severely or profoundly deaf people a textphone may be useful. A textphone has a keyboard and small display screen so that you can type in conversations. You can use a textphone to call other textphone users directly. You can also use a textphone to talk to someone who only has a voice telephone by using Typetalk, the telephone relay service. Typetalk enables you to either speak or type what you want to say and then read back the reply on a small screen on your phone.
Many people have mobile phones and so use text messaging, email, video calls etc
Videophones allow you to see the caller using cameras. They are still relatively expensive but are becoming more popular. You may be able to adapt your home computer if you want a videophone at home.
Listening devices are available to help with the TV. These include amplified headphones, loop systems and infra red systems. For profoundly deaf people and those not able to use the listening devices, teletext subtitling may be useful. It is accessible through a TV with a built in teletext facility (page 888) or a teletext adapter which is used with a normal TV set.
If you wish to record subtitled programmes on video you need either a video cassette recorder with built in subtitle record facility or a decoder in conjunction with a normal VCR.
Some deaf people have a working dog, specially trained to alert them to sounds. Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is a national charity and centre of excellence in training dogs to alert deaf people to important sounds and danger signals in the home, work place and public buildings. http://www.hearingdogs.org.uk
You may have seen one of the many new assistive devices available for the hearing impaired on TV or in the newspaper and be wondering if it might be suitable for you or someone you know. Click on Other Types of Implants and hearing aids to find out more.
Why not look at our page on Assistive Devices and Training? There are always new ideas available to help you around the home or at work.
You may be wondering what Communication method there are as an alternative or supplement to hearing and speech for your child. Our page on Alternative communication methods gives a brief introduction to the different types of communication used in the UK at the moment, and useful links to more detailed sites.