For you and the people you love, living with hearing loss can be difficult to adjust to. In some cases, it can even be hazardous.
What happens if a fire alarm is going off or someone is shouting out your name but you can’t hear them? Car noises can signal dangers ahead, but if you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear them.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you need to worry about. The first thing that someone with neglected hearing loss should do is get a hearing exam. Here are some tips to help keep individuals with hearing aids and their families safer whether or not they are wearing their hearing aid.
1. Bring a friend with you when you go out
If possible, take someone with you who is not dealing with hearing loss. If that’s not possible, ask people to face you when speaking to you so that you will have an easier time hearing them.
2. Avoid distractions while driving
Because you can rely on your hearing less, it’s important to decrease other distractions when driving. Pull off the road if you need to plot a route and avoid your GPS and phone. If you think you have an issue with your hearing aid, come see us before getting behind the wheel.
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. Safety first!
3. Think about getting a service animal
You think of service animals as helpful for individuals with loss of vision, epilepsy, or other disorders. But if you have auditory challenges, they can also be really helpful. A service dog can be trained to alert you to danger. They can let you know when somebody is at your door.
They can assist you with your hearing issues and they are also excellent companions.
4. Make a plan
Identify what you’ll do before an emergency strikes. Talk to people in your life about it. For instance, be certain your family knows 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 go wrong and you became trapped, family and emergency workers can act quickly to help you.
5. Adjust yourself to visual clues when driving
Over time, it’s likely that your hearing loss has worsened. If your hearing aids aren’t regularly adjusted, you might find yourself relying more on your eyes. You may not hear sirens so look out for flashing lights. When children or pedestrians are nearby, be extra attentive.
6. Share your hearing trouble with family and friends
Nobody wants to disclose that they have hearing loss, but people in your life need to know. They can warn you about something you may not hear so that you can go to safety. If they’re not aware that you can’t hear, they will assume that you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
Your car may begin making unusual noises that your hearing loss stops you from detecting. These can signal a serious problem. If disregarded, they can do long-term damage to your vehicle 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. Address your hearing loss
If you want to be safe, getting your hearing loss treated is crucial. Have your hearing checked yearly to determine when your hearing loss is extensive enough to require an assistive device. Don’t let pride, money, or time constraints stop you. Hearing aids these days are very functional, affordable, and discreet. A hearing aid can help you remain safer in all aspects of your life.