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Creating a Communication Friendly Home

When you’re living with hearing loss, your home needs to be as communication-friendly as possible, so you can relax and feel comfortable. From renovations to appliances and smart home technology, there are many small things you can do to make communication easier in your home. Here, some of Australia’s leading design, property and technology experts offer their essential tips and product recommendations to help you to create the right living space for your needs.

Make your home comfortable

As a Perth-based company focusing on making life easier with useful, energy-efficient automation at affordable prices, the team at iZone  have been developing and manufacturing smart solutions for Australian homes and businesses since 2011. They use their experience to create comfortable and practical living spaces to suit your requirements.

When you’re hard of hearing, it’s important that your home stimulates your emotional and physical wellbeing. Thinking about a number of different elements such as layout and space, lighting, visual aids and comfort, can go a long way to making your home more comfortable. By creating and controlling an environment that suits your needs, communication in your home can be a lot easier. There are some useful products available from the team at iZone which can help to make your life more comfortable.

The iZone eco switches enable you to control the climate and the lighting in an area of your home from a single switch. The climate remains at a pleasant temperature, while the lighting adjusts to suit the amount of natural light coming in at different times of day. When you start with creating a comfortable home, you have less to worry about, which is the starting point to making your home more relaxing and communication-friendly. It’s essential to create a home that feels welcoming, safe and secure to enhance your sense of wellbeing.

The importance of layout in the home

With a passion for building designs that combine aesthetic appeal with functionality,

Hillam Architects are a progressive and innovative firm based in Subiaco, Western Australia. As experts in home design, they know the way your home is laid out can make a big difference to those who are hard of hearing.

Space and visibility are particularly important for people with hearing loss, so your layout needs to be as open-plan as possible. This allows clear lines of sight between people so it’s easier to communicate with signing and reading facial expressions. It also creates an enhanced sense of flow and connectivity, making your home feel more socially inclusive.

The materials you use in your home can also make a huge difference. For example, if you use a hearing aid or cochlear implant, hard surfaces can echo and reflect sound, making it harder to hear what people are saying. Soft, tactile materials are more comfortable in all respects, so make sure you have carpets or rugs and soft furnishings.

Another thing to consider is ensuring you choose furniture that is easily moveable or on wheels. This makes it easier to arrange and rearrange the furniture so people can face each other, allowing for easier communication. A vibrating alarm clock such as a shake awake alarm clock for the hearing impaired, is another sensible addition to the home as it ensures those who are hard of hearing will wake up when their alarm goes off. You can also have it connected to smoke detectors or other alarms, so you’re woken if there’s a fire or other emergency. It’s advisable to get your bedroom wired so a bed shaker can be installed.

Making life easier with smart home technology

Nimbull Smart Home supplies and configures the latest digital technology to make life easier for homes and businesses. From off-the-shelf smart home products to complete custom solutions, Nimbull’s North Sydney-based team works to find the right technology for your needs. This includes improving the home for better communication, especially for those who are hard of hearing.

A communication-friendly home isn’t just about communication between people. Smart technology allows for a wide range of household devices to interconnect, creating solutions for comfort and ease of living. In turn, these can have a dramatic impact on your interactions with others.

Software and hardware needs to work together to create the ultimate balance in functionality and comfort. Start with a voice assistant like Google Home or Amazon Alexa, then add a third-party app such as IFTTT, to complete the experience. By creating the right technological infrastructure, you can achieve solutions such as lights that flash when you receive calls, emails or social media messages, so that you don’t have to rely on audio alerts. Amazon Echo Spot is also ideal for people with hearing loss as it offers video call solutions — all you need is multiple devices and you can visually communicate in different rooms of the house.

The right lighting can make a difference

Operating from locations in Melbourne and Sydney, About Space Lighting is a design leader in the lighting industry, focusing on new technologies and creative lighting designs to improve quality of life. As experts in home lighting, they know that right lights and fittings have a significant impact on the ambience of a room, improving communication by making visual cues easier to see so you don’t have to rely on your hearing to feel included.

Switching to LED lights instead of traditional halogen or fluorescent bulbs makes sense for a number of reasons. Firstly, they last a lot longer and use approximately 80 percent less electricity, saving you money on your energy bills. LED lights are available in a wide range of colours and shades so you can customise your lighting to suit your needs and tastes. In addition, they don’t emit a background hum or radio frequency interference, making them an ideal solution for people with hearing loss.

Visual alarms for peace of mind

As a Sydney-based NDIS registered provider specialising in wireless building automation, Wirefree provides assistive technology and home modification services in NSW. Powered by secure, wireless technology, their smart home solutions can integrate with any existing electrical system.

Smart home technology doesn’t have to be custom-made or expensive to improve communication within your home. As the smart home market is growing rapidly, manufacturers are investing in it more heavily, meaning there are plenty of affordable products available using the latest technologies.

To reduce the anxiety of missing visitors, video doorbells and intercoms are ideal for people who are hard of hearing. They connect directly to your phone and give visual and vibration alerts when you have a visitor. In addition, doorbells and security sensors can be connected to flashing LED indicators so you don’t have to rely on hearing your doorbell or alarm.

Hearing better in the home

GadgetGuy is Australia’s oldest and largest technology website for independent news and reviews of a huge variety of products, including computers, phones and an extensive range of household solutions, including products to benefit people with hearing loss.

A communication-friendly home incorporates a wide range of solutions catering for all the senses, not just hearing. For example, people with hearing loss can benefit from larger, easy-to-read displays on alarms and appliances, and vibration settings on smartphones. However, there is also plenty of technology available to make hearing easier in the home, including extra-loud 100+ dB doorbells, or additional speakers to help make television and music clearer.

There are also assistive listening headphones and portable transmitters, such as those available from Sennheiser, which make your television and stereo much clearer and easier to hear. Careline landline phones from Vtech are also extremely useful for people who are hard of hearing, as they have visual ringers and amplified sound (even on hands free), making communication by phone a lot easier.

Making your kitchen the true heart of the home

As an internationally-acclaimed real estate portal with headquarters in Melbourne, Homely  launched in 2013 and offers a fast way for buyers and renters to search for a new home. They are experts when it comes to Australian real estate and what makes a living space homely

Choosing the right smart technology enables you to optimise communication in your home. Look for new versions of everyday products with a number of different functions that allow you to maximise space and improve efficiency. As the kitchen is often the centre of socialising and communication in the home, a smart fridge is a worthwhile investment. The Family Hub refrigerator from Samsung has a built-in touchscreen which displays calendars, to-do lists, memos and even the weather. This makes it easier for everyone in your home to organise their lives and find out each other’s plans without the need to rely on verbal communication. From your lighting and television to alarms and appliances, the latest technology can open up new opportunities to make communication easier for you and your family.

It’s important to remember that being hard of hearing doesn’t have to prevent you from communicating effectively in the home. With the right layout, appropriate design solutions and the latest smart home technology, you can create a cohesive and interactive home, making it easier to communicate with friends and family in a variety of ways.