Living with hearing loss can be quite an adjustment for you and your loved ones. 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? Car noises can signal dangers ahead, but if you have neglected hearing loss, you won’t hear them.
Don’t worry about the “what ifs”. The first thing that somebody with untreated hearing loss should do is get a hearing assessment. For people with hearing aids, we have some tips to help you and your family stay safe, even when you aren’t likely to be using your hearing aids.
1. Don’t go out alone
If you can, take somebody with you who isn’t dealing with hearing loss. If you have to go out by yourself, ask people to come closer and look at you when they talk.
2. Avoid distractions when you’re driving
It’s important to stay focused when you’re driving because you can’t rely on your hearing as much for cues. Pull off the road if you need to plot a route and avoid your phone and GPS. Before driving, if you are concerned 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 request that passengers stop talking during more critical moments of your drive. Safety first!
3. Consider a service animal
You think of service dogs as helpful for people with loss of vision, epilepsy, or other disorders. But if you have auditory problems, they can also be very helpful. A service dog can be trained to warn you of danger. When somebody is at your door they can let you know.
Not only can they help with these problems, but they also make a wonderful companion.
4. Make a plan
Before an emergency happens, prepare a plan. Speak with others in your life about it. If you’re planning 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 assist you.
5. When you’re driving, adjust 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. You may not hear sirens so watch out for flashing lights. Be extra vigilant when pedestrians are around.
6. Let friends and family know about your limitations
It may be difficult to admit, but it’s crucial that people in your life know about your hearing issues. They can warn you about something you may not hear so that you can get to safety. They probably won’t bother alerting you if they assume you hear it too.
7. Be diligent about the maintenance of your vehicle
As somebody living with hearing loss, you might not be able to hear strange thumps, clicks, or screeches when you’re driving. These noises could indicate a mechanical issue 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. Get your hearing impairment treated
If you want to be safe, having your hearing loss treated is crucial. Get your hearing checked yearly to identify when your hearing loss is substantial enough to require an assistive device. Don’t hesitate 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 all facets of your life.