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 fire alarm is sounding or somebody is shouting out your name but you can’t hear them? If you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear those car noises that may be signaling an impending threat.
Don’t stress yourself out over the “what ifs”. If you have untreated hearing loss, getting a hearing test is the first thing you should do. For individuals who wear hearing aids, we have a few tips to help you and your loved ones remain safe, even when you aren’t likely to be using your hearing aids.
1. Bring a friend with you when you leave the house
If you can, bring someone with you who is not struggling to hear. If you have to go out by yourself, request that people come closer and look at you when they talk.
2. Stay focused when you drive
Because you can depend less on your hearing, it’s essential to reduce other distractions behind the wheel. Pull over if you need to plot a route and stay away from your phone and GPS. Before you drive, if you are worried that you might have a problem with your hearing, call us for an assessment.
Don’t feel embarrassed if you have to turn off the radio or request that passengers stop talking during more critical moments of your drive. Safety first!
3. Think about getting a service animal
For individuals who have visual impairment, epilepsy, or other issues, a service dog seems obvious. But if you have auditory issues, they can also be very helpful. A service dog can be trained to alert you to danger. When someone is at your door they can inform you.
Not only can they assist you with these challenges, but they also make a great companion.
4. Have a plan
Identify what you’ll do before an emergency strikes. Discuss it with other people. If you’re planning to go into the basement during a tornado, be sure your family knows where they’ll find you. In case of a fire, choose a designated location that you’ll be outside the house.
This way, emergency workers, and your family will know where to find if something were to happen.
5. Adjust yourself to visual cues when driving
Over time, it’s likely that your hearing loss has gotten worse. If your hearing aids aren’t regularly adjusted, you may find yourself depending more on your eyes. You may not hear sirens so look out for flashing lights. Be extra vigilant when pedestrians are around.
6. Share your hearing trouble with family and friends
Nobody wants to disclose that they have hearing impairment, but those in your life 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 can’t hear, they will think that you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
Your car may start making unusual noises that your hearing loss stops you from hearing. These can indicate a serious issue. Your car could take significant damage and your safety could be in danger if these noises aren’t dealt with. It’s a smart 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. Treat your hearing loss
This is the most important thing you can do to remain safe. Get your hearing checked yearly to identify when your hearing loss is significant enough to require an assistive device. Don’t delay because of time constraints, money, or pride. Modern hearing aids are discreet, functional, and very affordable. A hearing aid can help you remain safer in many settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.