Coping with hearing loss can be a difficult adjustment for you and your loved ones. It can also come with some hazards.
What’s going to happen if you can’t hear a smoke detector or someone calling your name? If you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t hear those car noises that could be signaling an impending threat.
Don’t worry about the “what ifs”. The first thing that a person with untreated hearing loss needs to do is get a hearing exam. Here are a few recommendations to help keep people with hearing aids and their families safer whether or not they are wearing their hearing aid.
1. Bring a friend with you when you go out
Bring somebody with healthy hearing out with you if possible. If that isn’t possible, request that people face you when talking to you so they are easier to hear.
2. Avoid distractions while driving
Because you can rely less on your hearing, it’s essential to decrease other distractions behind the wheel. Pull over if you need to plot a route and avoid your phone and GPS. Before driving, if you are worried that you might have an issue with your hearing, call us for an evaluation.
If there are moments while you’re driving that you may need to have your passengers quiet down or turn off the radio, there’s no reason to be embarrassed. It’s better to err on the side of caution!
3. Consider a service dog
You think of service animals as helpful for individuals with loss of vision, epilepsy, or other conditions. But they can also be extremely helpful to those with auditory problems. You can be alerted to danger by a service dog. They can inform you when someone is at your door.
They can help you with your hearing issues and they are also excellent companions.
4. Have a plan
Determine what you’ll do before an emergency strikes. Speak with people in your life about it. If you’re planning to go into the basement during a tornado, be sure your family knows where they’ll find you. In case of a fire, plan a delegated place that you’ll be outside the house.
This way, if something were to happen and you became trapped, family and emergency workers can act quickly to assist you.
5. When you’re driving, adjust to visual clues
Your hearing loss has probably worsened over time. If your hearing aids aren’t regularly adjusted, you might find yourself depending more on your eyes. You may not hear sirens so watch out for flashing lights. Be extra vigilant when pedestrians are around.
6. Share your limitations with friends and family
Nobody wants to admit that they have hearing loss, but those in your life need to be aware of it. They can warn you about something you may not hear so that you can get to safety. If they don’t know that you can’t hear, they will think that you hear it too.
7. Be diligent about the maintenance of your vehicle
As somebody living with hearing loss, you may not be able to hear unusual thumps, clicks, or screeches when you drive. These can signal a serious issue. If dismissed, they can do long-term damage to your car or put you at risk. 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 critical thing you can do to stay safe. Get your hearing tested annually to identify when your hearing loss is extensive enough to require an assistive device. Don’t let pride, money, or time constraints deter you. Modern hearing aids are discreet, functional, and very affordable. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in all aspects of your life.