For you and the people in your life, coping with hearing loss can take some work to adjust to. It can also come with some dangers.
What happens if a smoke detector is going off or someone is yelling out your name but you’re unable to hear them? If you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear those car sounds that could be signaling an approaching threat.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you need to worry about. The first thing that a person with neglected hearing loss needs to do is get a hearing test. For people who use hearing aids, we have some tips to help you and your family stay safe, even when you’re not likely to be wearing your hearing aids.
1. Bring a friend with you when you go out
If possible, take somebody with you who isn’t struggling to hear. 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 when you’re driving
Because you can rely on your hearing less, it’s essential to reduce other distractions behind the wheel. Pull over 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 circumstances while you’re driving that you might need to have your passengers quiet down or turn off the radio, there’s no shame. It’s better to err on the side of caution!
3. Consider a service dog
For individuals who have visual impairment, epilepsy, or other problems, a service dog seems obvious. But they can also be really helpful to those who have auditory issues. A service dog can be trained to warn you of hazards. They can inform you when someone is at your door.
They can help you with your hearing issues and they are also great companions.
4. Have a plan
Before an emergency occurs, prepare a plan. Talk it over it with others. If you plan to go into the basement during a tornado, make sure your family knows where they’ll find you. 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 help you.
5. When you’re driving, adjust to visual cues
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. Be alert to flashing lights on the road since you may not hear sirens. When children or pedestrians are around, be extra attentive.
6. Share your hearing trouble with friends and family
Nobody wants to disclose that they have hearing impairment, but people close to you need to know. They can warn you about something you may not hear so that you can get to safety. If they’re not aware that you’re unable to hear, they will think that you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
Your car might start making strange noises that your hearing loss stops you from detecting. These can indicate a serious problem. Your car could take significant damage and your safety might be in danger if these sounds aren’t dealt with. It’s a good idea to ask a trusted mechanic for their opinion on the condition of your vehicle when you take it in for an oil change or inspection.
8. Have your hearing impairment treated
This is the most imperative thing you can do to remain safe. Get your hearing tested yearly to identify when your hearing loss is significant enough to require an assistive device. Don’t hesitate 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 many settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.