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Independent living

You might be thinking about becoming more independent and moving away from family, or living with friends or on your own, but be worried about managing with your hearing loss. There is a wide range of technology that can support you. Some examples of technology that people find helpful are:

  • Streamers - these send sound signals directly to your hearing aid or cochlear implant using Bluetooth so that you can hear clearly
  • Radio aids - these can help you to hear voices from further away or when there is background noise.  They can be helpful in many situations, for example when listening to conversations in the car or outside if there is noise from the wind or traffic
  • Vibrating or visual smoke alerts - these are either vibrating pads placed under a pillow or flashing lights, which work when the smoke detector goes off.  They can be obtained through your local fire brigade who may supply and fit it - in Bristol this is through Avon Fire or by contacting 0117 926 2016.
  • Vibrating or flashing light alarm clocks - there are many types available, including small portable ones.  Look here for examples
  • Personal paging systems - these are small pagers which clip onto a belt or waistband and link to several alerts around the home, for example a smoke alarm and a doorbell.  The pager vibrates when one of the alerts goes off and an indicator light shows which one it is. Action on hearing loss and NDCS have some examples on their websites

You can keep a look out for technology that you may find useful at The Buzz, a website for deaf young people and find out more about different types of technology that you can use here.

People who have a hearing loss, are over 18 years old and who live in Bristol may be entitled to free equipment and installation.  Contact the Equipment Office at the Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (Tel:0117 939 8653, text:07545 264840 or email  For equipment or advocacy in BaNES contact deafPLUS/visionPLUS on 01225 446555. Other local authorities vary in how they provide environmental equipment. For initial enquiries contact Social Services in the local area. 

Equipment can be bought privately too through organisations including Action on Hearing Loss and Connevans.