What is that noise?” my son asked me one lazy afternoon this summer. “I don’t hear anything,” I replied. “It sounds like someone is coming up our driveway. The motor is revving. Can’t you hear it?” he practically shouts in an increasingly worried voice. He was nervous that danger was approaching. I didn’t hear a thing.
This goes on for a minute or two as I put down my book and move closer to the source of the apparent sound, listening intently. Still nothing. My son is getting more agitated so we walk across the lawn and look down our driveway. Now I can see the cause of the disturbance.
A couple of neighborhood kids are riding their motorbikes up and down our dirt driveway. They probably should have asked permission first, but there is no real danger. But what if next time there is?
Now I am scared. How can I keep family safe if I can’t hear the danger?
Rather than be cowed by fear, I spent some time researching my options. Here are my ideas. Please add yours in the comments.
1. Create visual cues: Some alarm systems provide both visual and auditory alerts. Flashing lights would alert me to visitors (invited or otherwise) even if I could not hear them approach.
2. Rely on your living companions: My son served this function in the earlier example. Once I knew there was a noise to investigate, I could do that and take any necessary action.
3. Use the security system: We have a house alarm system, but sometimes we don’t arm it. Whenever I am home alone with the kids for the night, I need to use it.
4. Adopt a dog or other service animal: Many people swear by their service dogs. While this is a viable option for many people, it is not for me. I am allergic.
5. Build a support network: Partner with neighbors to alert one another to anything unusual in the area. We should all take the time to do this, hearing loss or not.
6. Have an emergency plan: Discuss with your family where to go to stay safe in case of an emergency. This might be a particular part of the house (i.e., the basement for a big storm) or somewhere else in your area. You can read more about putting together an emergency plan here
Dwight Eisenhower once said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” This is probably true in this case. While my plans may never be enacted, (hopefully not), I feel more confident and secure having thought through the issues and discussing them with my family. Living in fear is not an option.