Designing Spaces for the Hard of Hearing

James French

Graduate Architect

Hillam Architects on Setting Up A Communication Friendly Home

An integral part of any communication-friendly home is planning and spatial design. That’s why Connect Hearing has included Hillam Architects in their article, ‘Creating a Communication Friendly Home’, as experts in designing homes with the right amount of space and visibility needed for those with hearing loss.

If you’re looking to set up a communication-friendly home, we advise that space is particularly important for family members who are hard of hearing. Firstly, try to open up the floor plan as much as possible. An open floor plan offers a greater sense of flow and connectivity, while also providing easier social interaction for occupants by creating a clearer line of sight.

Visual and tactile cues enhance sensory perception, such as mirrored surfaces and translucent materials for doors and windows. Corridors and doorways within the home should be wide enough to allow occupants to walk side by side. Good use of light is also beneficial for communication as it improves visibility. Acoustics play an important role too, as certain hard surfaces that echo may make it harder to hear others. You should choose materials and surfaces that reduce background noise and echoing should be selected where possible.

Certain products that make use of developing technologies can also make a difference in the home. Think about installing high-quality lighting to ensure maximum visibility, light-based door alarm systems, hardwired strobe lighting for fire and CO2 alarms, video phone and intercom capabilities, and bedrooms should be wired for bed shakers in case of fires or other emergencies.

It’s also worth buying furniture that is easily movable as it is useful and can be arranged into various configurations allowing for easier interaction where line of sight is not impacted. Combined, these elements create a communication friendly environment for the whole family.