Letters to the editor

October is National Fire Safety Month. During that time we are encouraged to change the batteries in our smoke detectors and to make sure that they are working properly. Unfortunately, even a functioning smoke detector might not wake up a sleeping individual who has a hearing loss. The frequency of the alarm in most smoke detectors is 3100Hz, which falls within a range in which many people do not have normal hearing. The most common kind of hearing loss in adults is characterized by good hearing for low pitched tones (below 2000Hz) but a loss of hearing for higher frequencies.

Fortunately, there are devices on the market which either utilizes a lower frequency alarm signal, which is audible to many more people, or mechanisms that work in conjunction with a special clock-radio that is turned on by the sound of the smoke alarm. For more information on whether you have a hearing loss that would interfere with the smoke detector’s ability to wake you, as well as information on other assistive listening devices to help with communication and TV, contact your local audiologist.

For more information on where to purchase these alternative
alarms and for a free hearing screening, contact St. John’s Speech and Hearing Center, located in Flushing, NY, 718 990-6480.