For you and the people you love, living with hearing loss can be difficult to adjust to. Sometimes, it can even be dangerous.
What happens if a smoke detector is sounding or someone is yelling out your name but you’re unable to hear them? Car noises can signal dangers ahead, but if you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear them.
Don’t stress yourself out over the “what ifs”. The first thing that somebody with untreated hearing loss should do is get a hearing test. For people with hearing aids, we have a few tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe, even when you aren’t likely to be using your hearing aids.
1. Don’t go out by yourself
Bring somebody with healthy hearing out with you if you can. 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
It’s essential to remain focused while driving because you can’t depend on your hearing as much for cues. Pull over if you need to plot a route and avoid your phone and GPS. If you think you have a problem with your hearing aid, come see us before driving.
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 shame. Safety first!
3. Consider a service dog
You think of service animals as helpful for those with loss of vision, epilepsy, or other disorders. But if you’re dealing with auditory problems, they can also be very helpful. A service dog can be trained to warn you of hazards. They can inform you when somebody is at your door.
They can assist you with your hearing problems and they are also wonderful companions.
4. Make a plan
Before an emergency comes about, prepare a plan. Discuss it with others. For instance, be sure your family knows that you will be in the basement if a tornado hits. In case of a fire, choose a designated location that you’ll be outside the house.
This way, emergency personnel, and your family will know where you will be if something were to happen.
5. When you’re driving, pay attention to visual cues
Your hearing loss has most likely gotten worse over time. If your hearing aids aren’t regularly adjusted, you might find yourself relying more on your eyes. You may not hear sirens so watch out for flashing lights. When kids or pedestrians are around, stay extra alert.
6. Let friends and family know about your limitations
It might be hard to admit, but it’s essential that people in your life are aware of your hearing issues. They can warn you about something you may not hear so that you can get to safety. They probably won’t bother alerting you if they think you hear it too.
7. Be vigilant about the maintenance of your vehicle
Your car may start making peculiar sounds that your hearing loss stops you from hearing. These can indicate a serious issue. If dismissed, they can do long-term damage to your car or put you in danger. It’s a good idea to ask a trustworthy mechanic for their opinion on the condition of your vehicle when you take it in for an oil change or inspection.
8. Get your hearing impairment treated
This is the most critical thing you can do to remain safe. Have your hearing tested annually to identify when your hearing loss is extensive enough to require an assistive device. Don’t delay because of time constraints, money, or pride. Hearing aids these days are very functional, affordable, and unobtrusive. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in many settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.