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Sleep Aids and Bedroom Essentials for Disabled People

Sleep aids and top tips for a good night’s sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for the wellbeing of us all, and we understand that living with a disability can often make having a truly restful night very difficult to achieve. We know it can be frustrating and demoralising when you are denied something as simple as sleeping at night. In this post we review some of the latest gadgets and sleep aids that might help you achieve a restful night.

What can you buy to help you sleep?

This is why it is important to make sure you have the right equipment in your bedroom, and create the perfect environment that is hopefully more conducive to peaceful, unbroken sleep. It is also essential that people whom have to spend extended periods of time in bed keep comfortable and well, so that is why we have come-up with an extensive list of practical bedroom accessories and products, that can hopefully help you get a more comfortable and solid night’s sleep.

1. Extra Neck and Spine Support – Tempur Neck Pillows

Memory foam pillows can provide much-needed comfort for those whom suffer from joint issues such as arthritis and spinal conditions. Memory foam reacts to body-temperature, and will mould and support your neck and head perfectly due to your own body-heat, and will then distribute your weight, dispersing it equally around the surface of the pillow.
Ideally it is best to go for a pillow with a high density memory foam for a higher-quality product (usually 5/lbs per cubic foot), however most available products will fall short of this density yet still provide obvious benefits in comparison to a conventional pillow.

Image shows a photograph of a woman's head and shoulders, reclining with neck on a Noffa pillow. Above her sleeping head are three icons indicating the benefits of using the pillow

Noffa Memory Foam Pillow with Breathable Cover

  • Queen-sized pillow for extra comfort
  • Curved Ergonomic design
  • Anti-allergen covering

 

 

Image shows Tempur rectangular pillow in the centre, with pillow features encircled around the sidesBonmedico Supreme Pillow With Bamboo Pillowcase

  • Gel memory foam provides extra support and keeps you cool
  • Washable Bamboo cover is dust and mite resistant, and helps regulate body temperature
  • Traditional shape and size pillow, so can be used with your regular bedding

 

 

2. Use Blankets Instead of Duvets

A general tip if you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep is to consider removing your duvet and instead opting for a selection of blankets. Duvets, especially synthetic ones, are not great at regulating your body heat as you sleep, therefore it should be considered that layering with blankets may offer a more consistent temperature whilst you rest. Also blankets can be much safer and easier to remove for people who struggle to manoeuvre themselves whilst lying down.

 

3. The Inimitable, Essential Trabasack Bed Tray

person in bed with a trabasack lap tray and a laptop on it

Blogger Danni in bed with a trabasack

The Trabasack is a unique bag and tray in one, designed specifically with disabled people in mind, that has a plethora of wide-ranging uses. It is the ideal companion to those whom have to spend lengthy periods of time in bed, and absolutely perfect for evening and morning use as a bed tray.
The most suitable models of Trabasack for use as a bed tray are the Trabasack Mini and Trabasack Curve; each being available with two tray surface types – both with their own merits that will help make your life easier!

Image shows a photograph of the Trabasack Mini with a cup and pad and pen on the tray surfaceThe Trabasack Mini is the most compact, lightweight model in the Trabasack family, and it’s rectangular shape and firm faux-leather tray surface makes it ideal for use with laptops and other tasks such as drawing or writing in bed.

As with all Trabasacks, the Mini has a zip-up internal bag compartment that is perfect for keeping any essentials you may need for bed, such as your favourite book, reading glasses, medication, remote controls or phones.

Image shows a photograph of the Trabasack Mini with a laptop on the tray surface

The handy carry-bag style of the Mini and the Curve makes them perfect for taking around the house, and can be filled with your desired items that are needed in preparation for you going to bed.

Image shows a photograph of Trabasack Curve bags in various trim colours, stood on end and lined-up one behind anotherThe Trabasack Curve has an ergonomic, waist-hugging design that means it sits close around you whilst in use. The curved shape along with the quick-release side straps makes it a good choice for anyone who needs that little bit of extra security to ensure the tray and items on top stay close to hand.

The traditional Trabasack Curve has a firm faux-leather tray surface like the Mini, and also includes a beanbag insert that ensures the tray remains steady and comfortable upon your lap whilst in use.

Image shows a photograph of the Trabasack Curve with a cup and an apple on top of the tray surface, on a white backgroundThe Trabasack Curve Connect, and the Mini Connect have been created with a velcro-receptive tray surface – meaning you can safely and securely attach a multitude of items to the tray-top without fear of them falling over, falling off or just getting lost in your bed.

Using Trabasack sticky-back hook tapes, you can adhere strips simply and quickly to any item you need to secure, such as plates, remote controls or tablet computers, to make sure they stay in place.

Image shows an illustration of the uses of the Trabasack Media Mount - holding a mobile phone, a book and a water bottleEven more ideal is the Trabasack Media Mount, which can be used in tandem with any of the Connect models of lap tray bag. The Media Mount is a pliable, flexible device made from soft hook and loop receptive fabric, that can be twisted and shaped to hold almost anything upright or at the perfect angle atop your Trabasack tray surface.

 

The Media Mount features a velcro strip sewn-in to one side, which means you can twist and turn it to get just the right angle, and it will stay in the shape you desire, and also attach itself quite securely to the Connect tray surface.Image shows an iPad being held upright with a Media Mount, attached to the tray surface of a Trabasack Curve Connect with blue trim

The Media Mount can hold cups and mugs steady with ease, and can be used to prop and position books, iPads, phones and remote controls at the perfect angle you need.

What makes the Trabasack exceptionally multi-functional is that when not in use in bed, it can be used as a modern, practical wheelchair tray or handy bag – providing you with a reliable, sturdy tray surface and bag whether at home or on the go!

 

4. Keeping Dry and Comfortable

Keeping your bed hygienic and dry is a very common concern for many, and the best line of defence to avoid costly mattress replacements is to ensure you purchase high-quality incontinence bedding, usually in the form of mattress protectors. Thankfully there are now a number of luxury mattress protectors available on the market that mean that you do not have to forego comfort and dignity when choosing the right bed protection. Bamboo woven fabrics can keep your body temperature regulated and provide anti-bacterial properties, whilst ultra-soft fleece protectors can keep you snug and warm – whilst both still ensuring full waterproof protection for your mattress.

Image shows a diagram of the corner of the mattress protector, showing the layers of fabric and various features encircled around the edge of the imageLow-noise Anti-Bacterial Bamboo Mattress Protector

  • Bamboo woven fabric provides antibacterial properties and heat regulation
  • Crinkle-free, low-noise fabric
  • 100% waterproof, with bamboo being 4 times more water resistant than cotton

 

 

Image shows the packaging for the Luxury Mattress ProtectorCoral Fleece Top Luxury Mattress Protector

  • Maximum comfort provided by a luxury coral fleece top lining
  • Thermoplastic layer provides airflow and regulates body temperature
  • 100% waterproof with a 10 year guarantee

 

 

5. Profiling Beds

Profiling beds, or adjustable beds, are often essential for individuals whom need extra assistance getting in and out of bed, or find sleeping on a traditional fully-vertical bed painful. Being able to adjust various aspects of the position of the body whilst sleeping can alleviate the pain and discomfort of many types of condition, and one of the most proven benefits of having an adjustable bed is the ability to elevate the backrest portion; allowing those who have painful joint conditions to sit up with ease for eating, reading or chatting and at the same time, ensuring those with respiratory issues can breathe more easily whilst sleeping. Profiling beds also usually include removable side bars for safety and peace of mind, and easily-adjustable height control, which can be variated for either getting in and out of bed, or allowing carers to make transfers more comfortably and safely for both the carer and disabled person.
Profiling beds can be life-changing for many households, however they are costly – some conditions may qualify for a free adjustable bed via the NHS, so we suggest you contact your Occupational Therapist for more information as to whether you or your loved-one may qualify for support.

Image shows a photograph of a reclining, movable profiling bed with hoistFully Profiling Electric Bed

  • Electric hight adjustment
  • Electric adjustable backrest and knee break, with four position mattress support
  • Attractive wooden finish yet solid, heavy duty steel frame

 

6. Keeping Hydrated

It is essential to keep hydrated when unwell, and with a number of long-term conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease or illnesses that cause vomiting and diarrhoea, it is imperative that water is consumed frequently and with ease, especially if you feel too weak to sit-up to have a drink.

The Hydrant drinking system is a hydration aid that is used in numerous NHS settings. The Hydrant drinks bottle is unique in its design; allowing the user to drink no matter what position they are in, be it sat up or when Image is a photograph of the Hydrant drinks bottle with drinking tube and clipreclined. Featuring a flexi-grip handle that also functions as a clip, the Hydrant bottle can be attached to bed frames, headboards or other convenient objects close to the bed, to provide hands-free drinking. The drinking tube attached to the Hydrant also features a bite valve, allowing the user to bite-down and suck to drink, with liquid only flowing when pressure is applied to the valve. This means that you can stay hydrated without assistance at all times, with no fear of spills or leakage when the drinking tube is not in use.

 

Another brilliant drinking aid is the Sturdy Straw – much like the Hydrant, the Sturdy Straw is a hands-free non-return flexible straw that can be clamped on to surfaces or furniture to ensure hydration is Image shows a Sturdy Straw clamped to the edge of a desk surfacealways close at hand. The Sturdy Straw is available in a plethora of attractive colours, and also comes in two different lengths (45cm and 65cm) but most importantly it is available in three different widths, which means not only can you keep hydrated with thinner liquids such as water, but it can also provide nutrition via the wider tubes for liquidised meals or soups.
www.sturdystraw.co.uk

7. Slide Sheets and Drawing Sheets

If you suffer from painful muscular or joint conditions, or have limited strength due to your disability, even the simple task of getting comfy and turning over during the night can cause broken sleep. It is proven that getting a good, solid night’s sleep is essential in helping not only your body to recuperate and repair itself, but also vital for a healthy mind, too. Slide sheets are indispensable for those whom ordinarily struggle to move easily and comfortably whilst in bed; silky, satin-like fitted sheets offer a very low resistance to your body weight, and by removing the friction usually caused between your nightwear and bedding, make it much easier for you to turn over whilst in bed. Draw sheet systems are also an essential addition to your bedding if you require assistance getting in and out of bed, as they make transfers and turning much quicker and less difficult for both yourself and your assistant.
Also of note if you struggle to position yourself in bed, or have difficulties sitting up, is the addition of a simple bed ladder – the non-slip handles ensure you have a secure grip and the ladder design allows you to pull yourself into an upright position from lying without any assistance. Bed ladders are easy to fit to any bed frame and are ideal for people with back problems.

Image shows a black bed ladder on a white background in the centre, and to the bottom right a photograph of a man lying in bed, pulling himself upright using the bed ladderBlack Bed Ladder

  • Non-slip rubber grips
  • Easy to install and remove using quick-release buckles
  • Compact and lightweight, yet sturdy and strong – ideal for travel

 

 

Image shows a photograph of a room decorated beige, with a small vase of flowers atop a bedside table and a single bed with headboard, two pillows and special bed sheet fitted to mattressSecure Sit and Slide Fitted Sheet

  • Fully fitted sheets available in all bed/mattress sizes
  • Includes a central, low-friction satin panel
  • Edges of sheet are made from a woven polycotton to provide extra grip when sitting on side of bed

 

 

 

Image shows a photograph from above, of a lady lying in bed with two care givers on either side. The carers are using the sheets below the patient to turn her in bedWendylett Base Sheet and Draw Sheet SystemImage shows a diagram of a man lying on a bed with two intersecting sheets below him, to either side of the bed is a care-giver getting ready to transfer or turn in him in bed
Two items which can be purchase separately, but together create a proven, useful bedding system that can be used alone (Base sheet for easier turning) or together with the Draw Sheet for quick, comfortable transfers with a carer.

 

8. Avoiding Pressure Sores

As the slide and turning sheets with help you avoid friction sores, there are also specialised items that can help you avoid or minimise pressure sores, especially on delicate areas such as the feet, ankles and elbows.
Warm, comfy fleece-lined “boots” are L-shape in design, meaning they can be used as boots to protect the ankle/foot joint or also double as an elbow joint protector. The soft, cushioned fleece lining offers warmth and comfort, whilst also shielding delicate skin from potential pressure sores. Light weight, so ideal for wearing for long periods of time, and easy to remove or put on thanks to a velcro fastening system.

Image is a downwards photograph of a man's foot in a fleece-lined heel protectorDual Elbow and Heel Protectors

  • Foam and fur-lined booties, that can be used on elbow joints as well as feet.
  • Anti-slip, exterior fabric for extra peace of mind
  • Easy to put on and remove, using a velcro fastening system

 

Image shows a photograph of a royal blue bootie lined with cream-coloured faux fur100% Wool-lined Fleece Ankle Protectors

  • Thick, 100% wool fleece for extra comfort
  • Universal, adjustable size so suitable for all
  • Washable at 40 degrees with non-bio detergent

 

 

Image is a photograph of sheepskin-lined heel protectors in a dark green colourGreen Sheepskin Heel Protectors

  • Made from genuine sheepskin – pure comfort and natural fabric allows better regulation of heat
  • Attractive green colour and high-quality appearance
  • Soft, gentle and lightweight

 

9. Keeping Cosy and Warm

Perhaps it is for most of us that electric blankets are a thing of the past thanks to central heating, however for many whom are sick and have vulnerable immune systems staying warm at all times is vital in ensuring their recovery and general wellbeing. Thankfully electric blankets have transformed since the ones we might have fond, snuggly memories of from the past, and many are fitted with a plethora of technological advancements that not only ensure safety, but can be controlled via Bluetooth, regulate the temperature depending on your body heat and more! Ideal for those with allergies as they can reduce dust mites, and perfect for soothing aches and sores, have a look at our suggestions for modern, sumptuous electric blankets.

Image shows a photograph of the electric blanket folded neatly, with the dual electronic controllers on topMongram Smart Electric Blanket

  • Can be controlled via Bluetooth or app whether at home or away – warm your bed ready for when you get home
  • Luxurious, super-soft fabric for extra comfort
  • Separate heat zones which can be individually adjusted in temperature via the LED controller or app

 

Image shows a photograph of a plush, grey faux-fur blanket, folded with a controller on top. In a grey circle to the left it states "From 1p a night to run"Relaxwell Deluxe Faux-Fur Heated Blanket

  • Super-sumptuous faux-fur – delightfully soft and beautifully stylish, would look great in the living room as well as in the bedroom
  • 9 heat settings and auto-shut off
  • Economical – costs a few pence to run all night

 

Image shows a photograph of a folded, fleecy electric blanket in cream, with a controllerDreamland Intelliheat Electric Blanket

  • Blanket responds to ambient temperature to ensure a constant temperature all night long – stops you from over-heating whilst also saving money
  • Soft fleece fabric with satin trim for extra luxury
  • 5 heat settings with auto power off

 

 

10. Keeping Cool and Calm!

Moving-on from keeping warm and cosy, sometimes it is also important to stay cool and comfortable whilst sleeping! Given the extreme heat we saw in the UK this past summer, many of us struggled to keep cool come bedtime, and one item we recommend is a positionable bed fan to provide a soothing breeze and circulate air whilst you sleep.

Image explains the various features of the clip-on fan, including size and power sourceClip-on Mini USB Powered Fan

  • Compact and portable – can be clipped-on to bed frames, furniture and more
  • Can be powered by USB or includes rechargeable battery
  • Comes in a range of colours to suit your taste

 

 

Image shows three square photographs to the lefthand side displaying the features of the fan, and centrally a large image of the fan itselfWall-Mounted Remote Control Fan

  • Wall-mounted design with fully-articulated fan head and remote control
  • Powerful 60w motor with 3 speed settings and osculation mode
  • Timer setting for auto power-off if required

 

Image shows the circular ring-shaped Dyson desk fanDyson Air Multiplier Desk Fan

  • Super-safe design eliminates fan blades yet still provides an uninterrupted, constant cool stream of air
  • Magnetised remote control with 10 airflow settings which attaches to the fan
  • Powerful airflow that is 75% quieter than an average blade-fan and uses 30% less electricity

11. Maintaining Good Air Quality

Maintaining good air quality can be an aspect of a good night’s sleep that many people overlook. There are many points that need to be considered when it comes to the air quality of your sleeping area, and it is should be noted that if you suffer from a respiratory condition you should always consult your Occupational Therapist to make sure you get the conditions for your bedroom right.
First and foremost ensuing air quality is pure and filtered is a must – whether you have allergies,
sleep apnea or simply find yourself feeling congested due to urban living and traffic pollution, a decent air filter or purifier could make big changes to your quality of sleep. Air purifiers with Hepa filters installed can capture airborne pollen, pet dander, dust particles, pollen and more, clarifying the air for easier breathing.
Air humidifiers are brilliant at providing moisture in the air that you breathe at night – quite essential in winter when central heating can dry the air. An air humidifier is a truly simple way to eliminate a number of symptoms that can occur after waking from sleep – such as a dry throat, cracked lips and dry skin.
We also suggest that air is kept circulated around your bedroom at night, with a fresh air supply making a huge difference to sleeping conditions. Obviously most of us do not want to keep windows open in the middle of winter, so having an extractor fan installed to your bedroom can ensure the fresh air in your room flows freely without leaving you feeling a winter chill!

Image shows a photograph of a white air purifier by Levoit with a digital display on the topLevoit Air Purifier with True Hepa Filter

  • Includes both a Hepa and carbon filter, to remove 99.97% of air particles such as dust, mould, smoke and pollen
  • Monitors air quality and automatically suggests the correct setting for your room
  • Large space coverage and auto-off timer

 

Image shows a spherical, veneered air humidifier with turquoise detail and timer on the frontSimple, Stylish Bamboo Room Humidifier

  • Modern, stylish design that would look great in the bedroom or living room
  • Diffuses the air with a cool mist to keep the air moist
  • LED light feature can double as a nightlight

 

Image shows a photograph a white air humidifier with a digital display to the front, water container on the back and a remote controlLevoit Cool and Warm Humidifier

  • Ultra-quiet so ideal for bedrooms – large capacity means it can be used continually for 36 hours before refilling
  • Humidity and room temperature sensor – keeps you up-to-date with changing environment and automatically adjusts output based on surroundings
  • Remote control and digital display making it easy to control

 

Image shows a "Which?" magazine best buy accolade to the left, and a photograph of the Air purifier to the rightPhilips App Control Hepa Filter

  • Manage air conditions from inside the home or even whilst away, using the Philips App
  • Includes true Hepa filter which will remove 99.97% of airborne particles and even bacteria in the air
  • Carbon filter removes gases and odours from the air

 

12. Lighting Conditions and Hormone Regulation

Your ability to slip into a comfortable slumber is controlled by the release of Melatonin – a hormone that regulates you to feel tired at night and awake in the morning. The creation of Melatonin by your body is dependant upon the amount of daylight you receive and at what point in the day the levels of natural light start to decrease.
Therefore, if you try to go to sleep with too much natural light in your room, your body will struggle to allow the release of Melatonin, making it difficult for your body and mind to relax, and let you fall asleep naturally and gradually. By this measure, it is also essential to receive enough natural light in the daytime, to counteract the fall of night – giving your body a quite obvious distinction between night and day (or sleepiness and wakefulness!)
Blackout curtains are a great way to keep light-levels low in your bedroom, and are useful for people of all ages. We’ve found some lovely curtains that are available in many colours and styles, and also some fun designs for children, too.

Image shows french doors with pink, pencil pleat curtainsImperial Rooms Luxury Blackout Curtains

  • Blockout natural light to keep light levels to a minimum
  • Available in a large range of lengths and many colours
  • Thick fabric keeps heat in and cold out, can be machine washed

 

 

Image shows a photograph of a room with light-coloured furniture and a window sporting pale blue and pink curtains printed with birds and blossomsPatterned Thermal Blackout Curtains

  • Available in a large range of prints to match your décor and taste
  • Triple-weave fabric blocks out up to 95% of daylight
  • Include tiebacks and can be machine washed

 

 

Image is a photograph of a child's nursery with cot, chair and drawing easel. At the window hangs animal patterned blackout curtainsKids Printed Blackout Curtains

  • Fun designs for children’s bedrooms
  • Available in 3 different lengths
  • Thick fabric blocks out daylight and keeps the room insulated

 

 

Thanks for reading – we truly hope these products and tips help provide you with an insight into creating the perfect sleeping conditions, and we wish you a more comfortable, cosy and restful night’s sleep! Look out for new post coming soon with a look at children’s products and bed-time routines for disabled children.

Liverpool Mi Smarthouse

Liverpool Mi Smarthouse

Mi Smarthouse Kitchen Area

Mi Smarthouse Kitchen Area

At the Museum of Liverpool there’s a small, unassuming exhibition which looks like the recreation of a normal house. When you get inside you realise it has been setup with every possible gadget and gizmo to support independence. The Mi Smarthouse is a project put together by More Independent (Mi).

More Independent is a Government-funded initiative that is being piloted across four UK regions. As there website says the scheme exists to:

  • enable you to take charge of your health, wellbeing and lifestyle
  • use technology to allow you to feel safer and live more independently in your own home
  • give peace of mind to yourself and your family
  • reduce the amount of time you have to spend on appointments, by supporting you to manage better at home

The Mi Smarthouse at the museum is kitted out with a wide range of equipment covering all the key areas of the home. Here we’re taking a look at some of the gadgets they’ve highlighted and used in their perfect, accessible home.

General

These gadgets could be useful at any place in your home and can make it feel more safe and secure.

Fall Detector

Fall Detector

Fall Detector

A fall detector can be worn around your neck and it connected to a system which will alert your carer if you do fall even if they’re not on the premises.

Large Buttons Picture Telephone

Phone keypads can be hard to use and it can also be difficult to remember phone numbers. This phone has spaces for photographs of those people you call regularly as well as large, clear numbers for when you need to dial out.

Home Safety Alert

The Mi Smarthouse has a bonus caller panic button installed by the front door, giving the residents the chance to press the button if anyone arrives at the door who they’re not comfortable with. Similar home safety alarm system can be found elsewhere too.

Supra KeySafe

Supra KeySafe

Supra KeySafe

The Supra KeySafe is the UK’s first police approved key safe and is the perfect place to store your emergency keys. You choose a combination number and you can share this number only with somebody you trust implicitly.

Carbon Monoxide Sensor

Carbon monoxide can kill. It’s odourless and can’t be seen so the only way to sense it before it is too late is with a dedicated carbon monoxide sensor. Sensors can be easily installed and can save your life.

Fingerprint Lock

A fingerprint lock is a great option if you struggle with keys. You can add the details of your carer and friends as authorised ‘pad-pressers’ so they can get in and out with ease when necessary too.

Kitchen

We’ve talked regularly about the importance of gadgets to make access to the kitchen easier. It’s potentially a dangerous environment so anything to make it less so is a good invention in our book. In the Mi Smarthouse they demonstrated a range of kitchen-specific gadgets.

Talking Microwave

The controls on a microwave oven can be difficult if you have difficulties with your vision or dexterity. A Talking Microwave Oven can help guide you to the buttons you need and it will also tell you when the door is open or closed and let you know whether the food needs stirring or left to stand.

Induction Hob

An induction hob only cooks the pot upon it. There is next to no danger of being burned by it and they’re becoming a common installation in supported living environments to aid independence. This type of hob is also energy efficient and reaches top temperatures in record time. In the Mi House the hob was fitted but they can also be bought as separate electric units .

One cup Kettle

one-cup_kettleWe’ve talked before about how useful the one cup kettle can be. Never worry about spilling boiling water as the kettle will dispense the exact amount you need with the simple pressing of a button.

Entertainment and Living Area

Many of these items listed below could be used all around the house but are most useful when you’re relaxing in front of the TV or lounging on the sofa.

Big Switch and Remote

Big Switch Remote

Big Switch Remote

A Remote Control Big Switch can be positioned wherever you need it to avoid bending to switch off items which have plug sockets uncomfortably out of reach. The big switch can be used with any electrical appliance in the home.

Voice Recorder Switches

If speech has always been or is becoming difficult then these small voice recorder switches can be used to record key phrases. They can have messages such as ‘I’m hungry’ or ‘I want to go home’ ready recorded for when you’re home or out and about when speech has become difficult.

Chair Occupancy Alert

This item is extremely useful if you have an outside care team supporting you as it allows them to monitor the time spent out of your chair. If it seems exceptionally long they may phone you or come around the check everything is OK.

Big Jack Controller

Big Jack Multi-Controller

Big Jack Multi-Controller

The Big Jack can replace all your smaller, fiddly remotes and switches. It can be programmes for a whole range of jobs and can be used to change channels on the TV, switch off lights and even use the telephone.

Personal Care

The personal care element of the home is the most private. Both the bedroom and bathroom are places where you want to maintain as much independence as possible and some of these gadgets are designed to guarantee this as well as ensure you can get the help you need, when you need it.

Epilepsy Sensor

Epilepsy Sensor

Epilepsy Sensor

Living with any form of epilepsy or convulsions can be extremely frightening – especially if you’re alone when one occurs. This epilepsy sensor will alert an outdoor care team if a seizure is taking place, allowing them to provide the right support ASAP.

Enuresis Sensor

Enuresis Sensor

Enuresis Sensor

Designed to fit comfortable under the top sheet, an enuresis sensor will alert your carer to the fight signs of dampness whilst in bed – ensuring you’re not left uncomfortable for a long period of time. We have looked at these aids previously for helping children but they can be equally useful later in life.

Flood Detector

A flood detector will guarantee you never forget about another bath. It’s very easy to forget the bath is running but with the installation of a simple detector, it will be safe and you can avoid the risks of damage to your home and the even higher risk of slipping.

The Mi Smarthouse in Liverpool is one of the first examples of how all this technology can come together and successfully be used to help people remain in their own homes independently. You can take a virtual tour of the Smarthouse here. We recently visited the £D printing exhibition at the London Science Museum and will cover the potential benefits in a future post.

Helpful Aids for Hearing Loss

This blog is in two parts – the first part is a guest post by trained audiologist Melanie Lewis, the second part is some suggestions of our own:

Who does hearing loss affect?

Hearing impairment affects over 9 million individuals in the UK (source: RNID 2005 survey). The two most common reasons contributing to diminished hearing are age related (though slightly misleading as affects start in a person’s 40’s) and noise induced. In both cases, the level of hearing will not improve naturally and individuals depend on a growing number of sophisticated devices designed to overcome the hearing impairment using modern technology.

 

Hearing Loss Tech Gadget Ideas

 

What Goes Wrong Leading To Hearing Loss:

There are a number of organs and processes that must work to their potential in order for us to hear, see or smell. In the case of hearing, sound needs to be captured, then funneled to the brain where it is made into ‘tangible’ information that we can comprehend. Our inner ear includes tiny hair cells that are only visible under a microscope. These cells capture waves in the air (which we call ‘sound’) that are funneled via the hearing nerve to the brain. As the body matures, the quality and quantity of the hair cells is reduced leading to a challenging inability to hear certain sound frequencies. The hair cells can also become damaged (often more easily than people might believe) through exposure to harmful noise leading to noise induced hearing loss. The body is unable to repair or regrow the tiny hair cells so any management of hearing disability must depend on technological advances in science.

Digital Hearing Aids:

Image of the HD450 digital hearing aid

Today’s digital hearing aids are lighter, small and slimmer than ever before.

These digital amplification aids are available at no cost from the NHS and from private service providers offering digital hearing aids. Leading brands include Oticon, Phonak, Resound, Siemens, Starkey and Widex. The device is housed in a small lightweight plastic structure and sits inside or outside the wearer’s ear. It works by capturing waves in the air using a sensitive microphone that are then amplified using a powerful microchip. The amplified sound is transmitted directly into the ear using the receiver.

Differentiating factors between the various brands of digital hearing aids include size (with ‘discreet’ sizes normally commanding higher prices), wireless connection, Bluetooth connectivity and complexity of sound processing algorithms. While NHS hearing aids are free, model choice is limited and a waiting list may apply.

Amplified Phones:

Image of the Amplicon Big Tel 280 amplified telephone

Amplified cordless phones offer high quality, loud, distortion-free sound. They also offer a hands-free mode.

These are desk, cordless and mobile phones that have been specifically tailored for the hard of hearing. Leading brands include Doro, Geemarc and Amplicomms. The devices differ from normal phones in that they can amplify the ringer level often 10 times louder than that of a normal phone and amplify the voice of the caller to a suitable level. Differentiating factors between the various phones include caller voice amplification level, ringer volume in dB (can reach 60dB vs. 4 to 6dB on normal phones), telecoil compatibly to digital hearing aids, visual indicators and type of buttons (backlit, big button etc). Amplified phones are not usually available from the NHS, but can be bought at a reasonable price.

 

 

 

 

Alerting Devices:

Amplified doorbell

An amplified doorbell can help you hear when someone is at the door. Click the image for more information.

These aids are designed to attract the user’s attention to something that may have become inaudible and include amplified alarm clocks and amplified doorbells. They differ from normal alerting aids in their level of amplification that can reach 95dB and most importantly in the suite of other sensory triggers they offer. Devices will include visual indicators and often vibration pads that can be placed for example below the user’s pillow. Certainly in the case of most amplified doorbells, they are wireless so can be carried from room to room when the user moves around the home. Leading brands include Sonic Alert, Geemarc and Amplicomms and again, these are not usually available from the NHS.

In the case of profound hearing impairment and when ALDs (assistive listening devices featured above) are less effective, individuals will often supplement the management of their hearing loss with lip reading and British Sign Language.

If you or someone you know is concerned about their hearing ability, a visit to a local hearing centre is recommended. We hope you found this information of help.

Melanie Lewis is a trained hearing aid audiologist. She works for hearing direct, the UK’s biggest supplier deaf accessories from hearing aid batteries to personal amplification aids.

Other Hearing Aid Technology and Gadgetry

We’ve had a look around the market to find some other handy and innovative gadgets that may help if you suffer from hearing loss.

Our first interesting find was brought to our attention by a fellow Twitter user:

Apparently all digital wireless phones must now be hearing-aid compatible (HAC) and the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 feature built-in HAC making them easy to connect hearing aids to. The iPhone 5 has a HAC rating of M3, T4. The numbers next to each letter represent the compatibility ratings on a scale of 1 to 4.

The M rating is based on reduced radio-frequency interference that enables acoustic coupling with hearing aids that do not operate in telecoil mode.

The T rating is for inductive coupling with hearing aids operating in telecoil mode.

Vibrating Reminder Watches

Image of the Pivotell Vibrating reminder watch in a lilac purple flower design

Pivotell Vibrate Mini Reminder Watch in Purple Floral

There are quite a few vibrating reminder watches available on the market, in almost every colour and style you can think of. These watches are ideal for keeping track of daily tasks such as medication intervals, gym work outs or even for use when home cooking. This Pivotell Reminder Watch emits a discreet vibration that will alert the user but will not disturb those around them. You set set up to 12 different alarms and the vibration lasts for 5 seconds each time.

 

 

 

Vibrating and Light-Up Alarm Clocks

This funky looking alarm clock would be great for teenagers or young people. The stylish black finish and bright LED

Image of the Wake 'n' Shake digital alarm clock in black, with a large, easy-to-read red LED display

The Wake ‘n’ Shake alarm includes a vibration pad and can also be connect to your phone line.

screen would look great in a kid’s bedroom or in a student den! What makes the Wake ‘n’ Shake extraordinary is the vibrating pad that is attached to the clock.

By placing the pad under your pillow or next to you, the pad will vibrate when it’s time to get up – or for any other reason you decide to set the alarm. Not only this, but the Wake ‘n’ Shake can be connected directly to your home phone line, meaning you can be notified when somebody is ringing you.

Other useful features of the Wake ‘n’ Shake include a large, easy to read LED display, and the ability to also set the clock to alert you with a strobe light or an extra-loud 95dB alarm sound.

 

Image of the Lifemax under pillow vibrating alarm clock

This handy-sized vibrating alarm can be taken with you for travel or used at home.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little more subtle than the Wake ‘n’ Shake, we’ve also found the  Lifemax 331 Under Pillow Vibration Alarm Clock. This handy devise is ideal for travel or at home, and simply slips under your pillow. The vibration is strong enough to wake you, but also perfect if you need to wake without waking anybody else in the house. The compact, lightweight design means you can take it anywhere with you, and as it runs on batteries there’s no need to find a power source.

 

 

Image of the Amplicomms wireless amplified headphone headset

These trendy headphones can provide sound up to 120dB.

Wireless Amplified Headphones

For those who love their music or want to amplify their TV or radio, these futuristic-looking headphones are the ideal solution. The Amplicomms TV150 Amplified Headset can wirelessly transmit stereo sound from almost any device you have around the home. Whether it be TV, DVD or MP3, this ergonomically designed headset fits snuggly in the ears and can transmit sound up to a massive 120dB. The powerful transmitter allows a range of up to 10 meters allowing you to freely move around the home, and they also include a built-in automatic volume control, which stops increases in noise such as TV adverts, from being too loud.

 

You may also enjoy a post on our other blog “Communication aids for deaf people”

If you have a favourite gadget or even something a little unusual that helps you, please let us know in the comments below.