For you and the people in your life, living with hearing loss can take some work to adjust to. It can also come with some hazards.
What happens if a smoke detector is going off or someone is shouting out your name but you can’t hear them? Car noises can warn you about hazards ahead, but if you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t hear them.
Don’t stress yourself out over the “what ifs”. The first thing that a person with untreated hearing loss should do is get a hearing exam. For those with hearing aids, we have some recommendations to help you and your family remain safe, even when you aren’t likely to be wearing your hearing aids.
1. Take a friend with you when you leave the house
Bring somebody 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. Avoid distractions while driving
Because you can depend less on your hearing, it’s essential to reduce other distractions behind the wheel. 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.
Don’t feel embarrassed if you have to turn off the radio or ask passengers to stop talking during more decisive moments of your drive. Safety first!
3. Consider a service animal
For individuals who have loss of vision, epilepsy, or other problems, a service animal seems obvious. But they can also be really helpful to individuals with auditory challenges. You can be warned about danger by a service dog. They can inform you when somebody is at your door.
Not only can they help with these challenges, but they also make a great companion.
4. Make a plan
Identify what you’ll do before an emergency happens. Talk to people in your life about it. If you’re planning 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, emergency personnel, and your family will know where to find if something were to happen.
5. When you’re driving, adjust to visual clues
Over time, it’s likely that your hearing loss has gotten worse. You might need to depend on your eyes more if you don’t regularly have your hearing aids calibrated. You might not hear sirens so be aware of flashing lights. When children or pedestrians are nearby, stay extra vigilant.
6. Share your hearing trouble with friends and family
No one wants to admit that they have hearing impairment, but people close to you need to know. You might need to get to safety and those around you will be able to make you aware of something you may have missed. If they don’t know that you can’t hear, they will think that you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
As somebody living with hearing loss, you might not be able to hear unusual thumps, clicks, or screeches when you’re driving. These can signal a serious problem. Your car could take significant damage and your safety may be at risk if these sounds aren’t dealt with. It’s a smart 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. Address your hearing loss
This is the most critical thing you can do to stay safe. Get your hearing tested annually to determine when your hearing loss is substantial enough to require an assistive device. Don’t allow pride, money, or time constraints deter you. Hearing aids these days are very functional, affordable, and discreet. A hearing aid can help you remain safer in many settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.