For you and the people you love, coping with hearing loss can take some work to adjust to. In some cases, it can even be unsafe.
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 approaching threat.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you need to stress over. The first thing that someone with neglected hearing loss needs to do is get a hearing exam. For those who wear hearing aids, we have some recommendations 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
Bring someone with healthy hearing out with you if you can. If you have to go out by yourself, request that people come closer and look at you when they talk.
2. Avoid distractions when you’re driving
Because you can depend less on your hearing, it’s important to decrease 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 think you have an issue with your hearing aid, come see us before getting behind the wheel.
If there are circumstances while you’re driving that you may need to have your passengers quiet down or turn off the radio, there’s no shame. Safety first!
3. Consider a service dog
You think of service animals as helpful for those with loss of vision, epilepsy, or other conditions. But they can also be extremely helpful to people with auditory problems. A service dog can be trained to alert you to hazards. When someone is at your door they can let you know.
Not only can they help with these issues, but they also make a terrific companion.
4. Have a plan
Know what you’ll do before an emergency strikes. Discuss it with other people. If you’re planning to move into the basement during a tornado, be certain 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 you will be if something were to happen.
5. Pay extra attention to visual clues while driving
Over time, it’s likely that your hearing loss has gotten worse. If your hearing aids aren’t regularly fine-tuned, you may find yourself depending more on your eyes. You may not hear sirens so be aware of flashing lights. When children or pedestrians are around, stay extra attentive.
6. Let family and friends know about your hearing trouble
It may be hard to admit, but it’s crucial that people in your life know about your hearing loss. You might need to get to safety and people around you will be able to make you aware of something you may have missed. If they’re not aware that you’re unable to hear, they will assume that you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
Your car might begin making strange sounds that your hearing loss stops you from hearing. These can indicate a serious problem. Your car could take significant damage and your safety may be at risk if these noises aren’t addressed. When you take your vehicle in for routine maintenance, ask your mechanic to give your car a general once-over.
8. Get your hearing impairment treated
This is the most imperative thing you can do to remain safe. Get your hearing tested annually to identify when your hearing loss is substantial enough to require an assistive device. Don’t allow pride, money, or time constraints deter you. Hearing aids today are very functional, affordable, and discreet. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in many situations at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.