For you and the people in your life, living with hearing loss can take some work to adjust to. In some cases, it can even be hazardous.
What if you can’t hear a fire alarm or someone calling your name? If you have neglected hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear those car sounds that could be signaling an impending threat.
Don’t worry about the “what ifs”. The first thing that somebody with untreated hearing loss needs to do is get a hearing assessment. For people with hearing aids, we have a few recommendations to help you and your loved ones remain safe, even when you aren’t likely to be wearing your hearing aids.
1. Take a friend with you when you go out
If possible, bring someone with you who isn’t dealing with hearing loss. If you need to go out by yourself, request that people come closer and look at you when they talk.
2. Avoid distractions when you’re driving
It’s important to stay focused when you’re driving because you can’t depend on your hearing as much for cues. Don’t use your phone or GPS while driving, just pull over if you need to reroute. If you think you have an issue with your hearing aid, come see us before driving.
Don’t feel ashamed if you have to turn off the radio or ask passengers to stop talking during more decisive moments of your drive. It’s better to err on the side of caution!
3. Consider a service dog
You think of service animals as helpful for people with visual impairment, epilepsy, or other disorders. But if you have auditory problems, they can also be very helpful. A service dog can be trained to warn you of danger. When somebody is at your door they can inform you.
Not only can they help with these issues, but they also make a terrific companion.
4. Make a plan
Before an emergency takes place, make a plan. Talk it over it with others. If you plan to go into the basement during a tornado, make sure your family knows where they’ll find you. In case of a fire, choose a delegated location that you’ll be outside the house.
This way, emergency workers, and your family will know where you will be if something were to happen.
5. When you’re driving, pay attention to visual clues
Your hearing loss has most likely worsened over time. You might need to depend on your eyes more if you don’t regularly have your hearing aids tuned. You might not hear sirens so watch out for flashing lights. Be extra attentive when pedestrians are nearby.
6. Share your limitations with friends and family
It may be difficult to admit, but it’s essential that people in your life know about your hearing issues. They can alert you to something you may not hear so that you can get to safety. If they don’t know that you can’t hear, they will assume that you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
As somebody living with hearing loss, you may not be able to hear strange thumps, clicks, or screeches when you drive. These can signal a serious problem. Your car could take serious damage and your safety could be at risk if these noises aren’t addressed. It’s a good idea to ask a trustworthy mechanic for their opinion on the condition of your vehicle when you take it in for an oil change or inspection.
8. Address your hearing loss
This is the most important thing you can do to remain safe. Have your hearing assessed annually to identify when your hearing loss is significant enough to require an assistive device. Don’t let pride, money, or time constraints stop you. Hearing aids these days are very functional, affordable, and unobtrusive. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in all aspects of your life.