Coping with hearing loss can be a difficult adjustment for you and your loved ones. Sometimes, it can even be dangerous.
What’s going to happen if you can’t hear a smoke detector or somebody calling your name? If you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear those car sounds that may be signaling an impending hazard.
Don’t worry about the “what ifs”. If you have neglected hearing loss, getting a hearing assessment is the first thing you should do. Here are a few recommendations to help keep individuals with hearing aids and their families safer whether or not they are wearing their hearing aid.
1. Don’t go out alone
Bring somebody with healthy hearing out with you if possible. If that isn’t possible, request that people face you when speaking to you so that they are easier to hear.
2. Stay focused when you’re driving
Because you can depend on your hearing less, it’s important to minimize other distractions when driving. Pull off the road if you need to plot a route and avoid your phone and GPS. If you think you have a problem with your hearing aid, come see us before getting behind the wheel.
Don’t feel embarrassed if you have to turn off the radio or request that passengers stop talking during more critical moments of your drive. Safety first!
3. Think about getting a service animal
For people who have visual impairment, epilepsy, or other issues, a service dog seems obvious. But they can also be extremely helpful to those with auditory problems. You can be warned about danger by a service dog. They can let you know when someone is at your door.
Not only can they assist you with these challenges, but they also make a wonderful companion.
4. Have a plan
Before an emergency comes about, make a plan. Speak with others in your life about it. For example, make sure your family is aware that you will be in the basement in the case of a tornado. In case of a fire, choose a designated location that you’ll be outside the house.
This way, emergency personnel, and your family will know where you will be if something were to go wrong.
5. When you’re driving, adjust to visual cues
Your hearing loss has most likely worsened over time. You may need to depend on your eyes more if you don’t regularly have your hearing aids tuned. Be alert to flashing lights on the road since you may not hear sirens. Be extra diligent when pedestrians are around.
6. Share your limitations with family and friends
Nobody wants to admit that they have hearing impairment, but those close to you need to know. You may need to get to safety and people around you will be able to make you aware of something you might have missed. If they’re not aware that you can’t hear, they will assume that you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
As a person living with hearing loss, you may not be able to hear unusual thumps, clicks, or screeches when you’re driving. These noises may indicate a mechanical issue with your vehicle. If ignored, they can do long-term damage to your car or put you in danger. When you bring your vehicle in for routine maintenance, ask your mechanic to give your car a general once-over.
8. Get your hearing loss treated
This is the most important thing you can do to stay safe. Have your hearing checked annually to determine when your hearing loss is significant enough to require an assistive device. Don’t hesitate because of time constraints, money, or pride. Hearing aids today are very functional, affordable, and unobtrusive. A hearing aid can help you remain safer in many settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.