For you and the people you love, living with hearing loss can be difficult to adjust to. It can also come with some hazards.
What happens if a fire alarm is sounding or somebody is yelling out your name but you can’t hear them? Car noises can warn you about dangers ahead, but if you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t hear them.
Don’t worry about the “what ifs”. If you have neglected hearing loss, getting a hearing exam is the first thing you need to do. For those who wear hearing aids, we have some recommendations to help you and your loved ones stay safe, even when you aren’t likely to be wearing your hearing aids.
1. Take a friend with you when you go out
Bring somebody with healthy hearing out with you if possible. If that’s not possible, ask people to face you when speaking to you so they are easier to hear.
2. Stay focused when you drive
It’s essential 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 change your route. Before driving, if you are concerned that you might have a problem with your hearing, call us for an evaluation.
If there are times while you’re driving that you might need to have your passengers quiet down or turn off the radio, there’s no shame. It’s better to err on the side of caution!
3. Think about getting a service dog
You think of service animals as helpful for those with loss of vision, epilepsy, or other conditions. But if you have auditory issues, they can also be really helpful. A service dog can be trained to alert you to hazards. When somebody is at your door they can inform you.
They can assist you with your hearing issues and they are also excellent companions.
4. Make a plan
Determine what you’ll do before an emergency hits. Talk to people in your life about it. If you’re planning to go into the basement during a tornado, make 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 workers, and your family will know where to find if something were to happen.
5. Pay extra attention to visual cues while driving
Your hearing loss has most likely worsened over time. You might need to rely on your eyes more if you don’t regularly get your hearing aids calibrated. Be alert to flashing lights on the road since you may not hear sirens. When children or pedestrians are around, be extra vigilant.
6. Share your limitations with friends and family
No one wants to admit that they have hearing loss, but people close to you need to know. You might need to get to safety and those around you will be able to make you aware of something you may have missed. If they’re not aware that you can’t hear, they will think that you hear it too.
7. Be vigilant about the maintenance of your vehicle
Your car might begin making strange sounds that your hearing loss stops you from detecting. These noises could suggest a mechanical problem with your vehicle. If disregarded, they can do long-term damage to your car or put you in danger. When you take 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 remain safe. Get your hearing assessed annually to determine when your hearing loss is extensive enough to require an assistive device. Don’t let pride, money, or time constraints deter you. Hearing aids these days are very functional, affordable, and unobtrusive. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in many settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.