For you and the people you love, living with hearing loss can be difficult to adjust to. Sometimes, it can even be hazardous.
What happens if a smoke detector is going off or somebody is shouting out your name but you’re unable to hear them? If you have neglected hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear those car sounds that could be signaling an approaching hazard.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you need to worry about. If you have untreated hearing loss, getting a hearing exam is the first thing you should do. For individuals who use hearing aids, we have some recommendations to help you and your loved ones remain safe, even when you’re not likely to be wearing your hearing aids.
1. Bring 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 alone, request that people come closer and look at you when they talk.
2. Stay focused when you drive
Because you can rely 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 reroute. Before you drive, if you are concerned that you might have a problem with your hearing, call us for an assessment.
If there are moments while you’re driving that you might need to have your passengers quiet down or turn off the radio, there’s no reason to be embarrassed. Safety first!
3. Think about getting a service animal
You think of service animals as helpful for individuals with visual impairment, epilepsy, or other conditions. But if you have auditory problems, they can also be very helpful. A service dog can be trained to warn you of hazards. When someone is at your door they can let you know.
Not only can they help with these problems, but they also make a wonderful companion.
4. Have a plan
Know what you’ll do before an emergency hits. Talk it over it with other people. As an example, make sure your family is aware that you will be in the basement if a tornado hits. 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 cues
Your hearing loss has most likely worsened over time. If your hearing aids aren’t regularly adjusted, you might find yourself depending more on your eyes. Be aware of flashing lights on the road since you may not hear sirens. Be extra attentive when pedestrians are around.
6. Let family and friends know about your hearing trouble
No one wants to admit that they have hearing impairment, but those close to you need to be aware of it. You might need to get to safety and people around you will be able to make you aware of something you might have missed. They probably won’t bother alerting you if they assume you hear it too.
7. Be diligent about the maintenance of your vehicle
As somebody living with hearing loss, you might not be able to hear strange thumps, clicks, or screeches when you’re driving. These can signal a serious problem. Your car could take significant damage and your safety could be in danger if these sounds 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 important thing you can do to stay safe. In order to know if you need to get a hearing aid, get your hearing screened annually. Don’t wait because of time constraints, money, or pride. Modern hearing aids are discreet, functional, and surprisingly affordable. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in all facets of your life.