For you and the people you love, coping with hearing loss can take some work to adjust to. It can also come with some hazards.
What if you can’t hear a smoke detector or somebody calling your name? If you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t hear those car sounds that may be signaling an approaching hazard.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you need to worry about. The first thing that a person with untreated hearing loss needs to do is get a hearing assessment. For those who use hearing aids, we have a few recommendations to help you and your family remain safe, even when you aren’t likely to be using your hearing aids.
1. Don’t go out alone
If you can, bring somebody with you who isn’t dealing with hearing loss. If that’s not possible, request that people face you when talking to you so they are easier to hear.
2. Stay focused when you drive
It’s important to remain focused while driving because you can’t depend on your hearing as much for cues. Don’t use your phone or GPS when you’re driving, just pull over if you need to reroute. Before you drive, if you are worried that you may have a problem with your hearing, call us for an assessment.
Don’t feel embarrassed if you need to turn off the radio or ask passengers to stop talking during more decisive moments of your drive. 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 visual impairment, epilepsy, or other disorders. But if you’re dealing with auditory issues, they can also be very helpful. You can be alerted to danger by a service dog. When somebody is at your door they can let you know.
They can assist you with your hearing problems and they are also great companions.
4. Make a plan
Before an emergency occurs, make a plan. Speak with others in your life about it. For example, make sure your family is aware that you will be in the basement in the case of a tornado. Plan a specific location outside your house in the case of a fire.
This way, emergency personnel, and your family will know where you will be if something were to go wrong.
5. When you’re driving, pay attention to visual clues
Your hearing loss has likely worsened over time. You may need to rely on your eyes more if you don’t regularly get your hearing aids calibrated. Be aware of flashing lights on the road since you may not hear sirens. Be extra vigilant when pedestrians are around.
6. Let family and friends know about your limitations
It may be tough to admit, but it’s crucial that people in your life are aware of your hearing issues. You might need to get to safety and people around you will be able to warn you about something you may have missed. They most likely won’t bother alerting you if they assume 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 issue. If disregarded, they can do long-term damage to your car or put you at risk. It’s a good idea to ask a trusted mechanic for their opinion on the condition of your vehicle when you bring it in for an oil change or inspection.
8. Have your hearing loss treated
This is the most imperative thing you can do to stay safe. Have your hearing assessed yearly 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 nowadays are very functional, affordable, and unobtrusive. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in many settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.