Living with hearing loss can be a difficult adjustment for you and your family members. It can also come with some dangers.
What happens if a fire alarm is sounding or someone is shouting out your name but you can’t hear them? If you have neglected hearing loss, you won’t hear those car noises that may be signaling an impending hazard.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you need to stress over. The first thing that a person with untreated hearing loss needs to do is get a hearing exam. Here are a few tips to help keep people with hearing aids and their loved ones safer whether or not they’re using their hearing aid.
1. Don’t go out alone
If possible, take someone with you who isn’t struggling to hear. If that’s not possible, request that people face you when talking to you so they are easier to hear.
2. Avoid distractions when you’re driving
Because you can depend less on your hearing, it’s essential to minimize other distractions when driving. Don’t use your phone or GPS while driving, just pull over if you need to change your route. If you suspect you have a problem with your hearing aid, come see us before driving.
Don’t feel ashamed if you need 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. Think about getting a service dog
You think of service dogs as helpful for people with visual impairment, epilepsy, or other conditions. But if you have auditory challenges, they can also be really helpful. You can be warned about danger by a service dog. When someone is at your door they can inform you.
They can help you with your hearing problems and they are also wonderful companions.
4. Make a plan
Determine what you’ll do before an emergency hits. Speak with people in your life about it. For example, be sure your family is aware that you will be in the basement in the case of a tornado. Plan a specific location outside your house in the case of a fire.
This way, if something were to happen and you became trapped, family and emergency workers can act rapidly to assist you.
5. When you’re driving, pay attention to visual clues
Your hearing loss has most likely worsened over time. You may need to depend on your eyes more if you don’t regularly get your hearing aids tuned. Be alert to flashing lights on the road since you might not hear sirens. Be extra vigilant when pedestrians are around.
6. Let family and friends know about your hearing trouble
Nobody wants to disclose that they have hearing impairment, but people in your life need to know. They can alert you to 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. Be vigilant about the maintenance of your vehicle
As somebody living with hearing loss, you may not be able to hear strange thumps, clicks, or screeches when you drive. These sounds could suggest a mechanical problem with your vehicle. Your car could take serious damage and your safety could be in danger if these sounds aren’t dealt with. 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
If you want to stay safe, having your hearing loss treated is essential. Get your hearing assessed yearly to identify when your hearing loss is severe enough to require an assistive device. Don’t allow pride, money, or time constraints stop you. Hearing aids nowadays are very functional, affordable, and discreet. A hearing aid can help you remain safer in all facets of your life.