By Erin Vaughan
Finding the perfect home is a stressful enough process for anyone, but when you’re struggling with your hearing, it comes with special challenges. You'll need to make sure your health, safety, and the quality of your hearing aren't compromised by your new abode, and that may require a bit of extra research or planning. Here’s how to simplify your house hunting process so you can be in your new dream home in no time.
Look for Doctors and Health Providers Ahead of Time
If you’re relocating, rather than just moving across town, you can give yourself some peace of mind by looking for health professionals and services in your area ahead of time. The American Academy of Audiologists has a great provider locator tool where you can search for professionals by city and state, zip code, or even by country if you’re going really far. You can also connect with your local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of American for recommendations.
Make Sure Your Realtor Knows About Your Hearing Loss
Your realtor works for you, not the other way around. Therefore, they should be happy to accommodate special provisions you need in your search—whether that’s making sure they show you a home that meet your requests, or simply repeat information if necessary. Talk to your realtor before you start looking, and express your concerns. He or she should help you come up with a plan to get the information you need to make an informed decision.
Look for Acoustically Friendly Surroundings
If you’re thoughtful in your home search, you may even be able to locate a space that helps facilitate your hearing. Look for homes with triple pane or laminated acoustic glass that will block noise interference from the outdoors. Additionally, softer surfaces tend to focus sound waves to improve room acoustics—so keep an eye out for carpeted or wood floors instead of tile, and large windows that will allow for tall, noise-cushioning drapes.
Check If Local Authorities Offer Free Accessible Safety Equipment
If you have a registered disability, your local government, fire, or police department may offer accessible safety equipment for free or at low cost. This includes flashing smoke alarms, home security systems, and doorbell systems, which can keep you safer in your home. In fact, your fire department may even come install this equipment for free. Additionally, amenities like these are a good indication of what kind of neighborhood you’re headed for—generally, the better and more thorough the services offered, the happier and safer the area.
Take Advantage of Online Listings
Realtors understand that everyone has less time to go door-to-door house hunting weekend after weekend. Because of this, online listings are becoming much more thorough, with long lists of home features and multiple expert photos. While nothing can replace the experience of seeing your soon-to-be-home in person, online listings can help you wade through homes and areas that won’t work—and help you find a space with the features you need.
Get a Feel for Your Future Neighbors
Good fences make good neighbors—but when you are hard of hearing, you may need to rely on friendly neighbors to work with you to limit outdoor noise. Be on high alert for signs of derelict neighbors: unkempt yards and exteriors, vacant or foreclosed homes, and pets chained up outside are all signs of neighbor trouble down the line. When you do zero in on a property, be sure to introduce yourself as soon as possible so you can meet the neighbors on your terms.
Most of all, don't be intimidated. House hunting can be overwhelming, but it will all be worth it once you've finally signed on your dream home that’s not only beautiful, but comfortable and accommodating for you, too. Until then, happy hunting!
Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.