For you and the people you love, living with hearing loss can be difficult to adjust to. It can also come with some perils.
What happens if a smoke detector is going off or someone is yelling out your name but you’re unable to hear them? Car sounds can indicate hazards ahead, but if you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t hear them.
Don’t worry about the “what ifs”. The first thing that a person with neglected hearing loss needs to do is get a hearing exam. For people who wear hearing aids, we have some tips to help you and your family stay 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, take somebody with you who is not struggling to hear. 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 on your hearing less, it’s essential to minimize other distractions when driving. Pull off the road if you need to plot a route and stay away from your phone and GPS. If you think you have a problem with your hearing aid, come see us before driving.
If there are circumstances while you’re driving that you might 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
For people who have visual impairment, epilepsy, or other issues, a service animal seems obvious. But if you’re dealing with auditory challenges, they can also be really helpful. You can be alerted to danger by a service dog. They can inform you when someone is at your door.
Not only can they help with these challenges, but they also make a terrific companion.
4. Have a plan
Before an emergency happens, prepare a plan. Speak with others in your life about it. If you’re planning to move into the basement during a tornado, be sure your family knows where they’ll find you. Plan a specific location outside your house in the case of a fire.
This way, emergency personnel, and your family will know where to find if something were to happen.
5. Pay extra attention to visual clues when driving
Over time, it’s likely that your hearing loss has worsened. You might need to depend on your eyes more if you don’t routinely have your hearing aids tuned. You might not hear sirens so be aware of flashing lights. Be extra vigilant when pedestrians are nearby.
6. Share your limitations with friends and family
No one wants to admit that they have hearing impairment, but those in your life need to know. They can warn you about something you may not hear so that you can go to safety. They most likely won’t bother alerting you if they assume you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
Your car may begin making unusual sounds that your hearing loss stops you from detecting. These can indicate a serious issue. Your car could take serious damage and your safety might be in danger if these sounds aren’t dealt with. It’s a good idea to ask a trusted mechanic for their opinion on the condition of your vehicle when you take it in for an oil change or inspection.
8. Have your hearing loss treated
If you want to stay safe, having your hearing loss treated is crucial. Have your hearing assessed yearly to identify when your hearing loss is severe enough to require an assistive device. Don’t hesitate because of time constraints, money, or pride. Modern hearing aids are discreet, functional, and very affordable. A hearing aid can help you remain safer in many settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.