Living with hearing loss can be quite an adjustment for you and your loved ones. It can also come with some dangers.
What happens if a smoke detector is sounding or someone is yelling out your name but you’re unable to hear them? Car sounds can signal hazards ahead, but if you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t hear them.
Don’t stress yourself out over the “what ifs”. The first thing that someone with neglected hearing loss should do is get a hearing test. Here are some tips to help keep people with hearing aids and their loved ones safer whether or not they’re wearing their hearing aid.
1. Take a friend with you when you leave the house
Bring someone with good hearing out with you if possible. If you have to go out by yourself, ask people to come closer and look at you when they talk.
2. Avoid distractions while driving
Because you can rely less on your hearing, it’s essential to reduce other distractions when driving. Don’t use your phone or GPS when you’re driving, just pull over if you need to reroute. Before driving, if you are worried that you might have a problem with your hearing, call us for an assessment.
Don’t feel ashamed if you need to turn off the radio or ask passengers to stop talking during more critical moments of your drive. Safety first!
3. Think about getting a service animal
You think of service animals as helpful for individuals with visual impairment, epilepsy, or other disorders. But they can also be very helpful to people who have auditory issues. A service dog can be trained to warn you of hazards. When somebody is at your door they can let you know.
They can help you with your hearing issues and they are also excellent companions.
4. Make a plan
Before an emergency comes about, prepare a plan. Discuss it with others. For instance, make sure your family knows that you will be in the basement in the case of a tornado. In case of a fire, choose a designated place that you’ll be outside the house.
This way, if something were to go wrong and you became trapped, family and emergency workers can act quickly to assist you.
5. Adjust yourself to visual clues while driving
Over time, it’s likely that your hearing loss has gotten worse. You may need to depend on your eyes more if you don’t routinely get your hearing aids tuned. You may not hear sirens so look out for flashing lights. Be extra diligent when pedestrians are nearby.
6. Let family and friends know about your hearing trouble
It might be hard to admit, but it’s essential that people in your life are aware of your hearing issues. They can alert you to something you might not hear so that you can go to safety. If they don’t know that you can’t hear, they will think that you hear it too.
7. Be vigilant about the maintenance of your vehicle
As someone living with hearing loss, you might not be able to hear unusual thumps, clicks, or screeches when you drive. These can signal a serious problem. If disregarded, they can do long-term damage to your vehicle 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. Address your hearing loss
If you want to stay safe, getting your hearing loss treated is crucial. Have your hearing assessed annually to determine when your hearing loss is significant enough to require an assistive device. Don’t allow pride, money, or time constraints deter you. Hearing aids nowadays are very functional, affordable, and discreet. A hearing aid can help you remain safer in many settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.