For you and the people you love, living with hearing loss can take some work to adjust to. Sometimes, it can even be unsafe.
What happens if a smoke detector is sounding or someone is shouting 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 noises that could be signaling an approaching hazard.
Don’t stress yourself out over the “what ifs”. If you are dealing with neglected hearing loss, getting a hearing assessment is the first thing you need to do. For people who use hearing aids, we have a few tips to help you and your family stay safe, even when you aren’t likely to be wearing your hearing aids.
1. Take a friend with you when you go out
Bring somebody with good hearing out with you if you can. If that’s not possible, ask people to face you when talking to you so they are easier to hear.
2. Avoid distractions while driving
Because you can depend on your hearing less, 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. If you suspect 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 may 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. Think about getting a service dog
You think of service dogs as helpful for those 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 hazards. They can inform you when somebody is at your door.
They can help you with your hearing issues and they are also wonderful companions.
4. Have a plan
Before an emergency takes place, prepare a plan. Speak with others in your life about it. If you plan to move into the basement during a tornado, be 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 go wrong and you became trapped, family and emergency workers can act rapidly to help you.
5. Pay extra attention 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 have your hearing aids calibrated. You may not hear sirens so watch out for flashing lights. Be extra attentive when pedestrians are nearby.
6. Share your hearing trouble with family and friends
No one wants to disclose that they have hearing impairment, but people close to you need to know. You might need to get to safety and people around you will be able to warn you about something you may 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 someone living with hearing loss, you may not be able to hear strange thumps, clicks, or screeches when you’re driving. These noises may indicate a mechanical problem with your vehicle. If dismissed, they can do long-term damage to your car or put you at risk. When you take your vehicle in for routine maintenance, ask your mechanic to give your car an overall once-over.
8. Have your hearing loss treated
This is the most critical thing you can do to remain safe. In order to identify if you require a hearing aid, get your hearing tested yearly. Don’t delay because of time constraints, money, or pride. Hearing aids these days are very functional, affordable, and discreet. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in many settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.