For you and the people in your life, coping with hearing loss can be difficult to adjust to. It can also come with some perils.
What happens if a fire alarm is going off or someone is shouting out your name but you’re unable to hear them? If you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t hear those car sounds that may be signaling an impending hazard.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you need to worry about. If you are dealing with neglected hearing loss, getting a hearing exam is the first thing you need to do. Here are some recommendations to help keep people with hearing aids and their families safer whether or not they are using their hearing aid.
1. Take a friend with you when you leave the house
If you can, bring somebody with you who is not struggling to hear. If that’s not possible, ask people to face you when speaking to you so that they are easier to hear.
2. Stay focused when you drive
It’s essential to remain focused while driving because you can’t rely on your hearing as much for cues. Don’t use your phone or GPS while driving, just pull over if you need to change your route. If you think you have an issue with your hearing aid, come see us before driving.
If there are times while you’re driving that you might 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. Consider a service animal
For people who have loss of vision, epilepsy, or other problems, a service dog seems obvious. But if you’re dealing with auditory challenges, they can also be really helpful. A service dog can be trained to alert you to danger. They can let you know when somebody is at your door.
They can help you with your hearing issues and they are also excellent companions.
4. Make a plan
Know what you’ll do before an emergency strikes. Talk to others 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. In case of a fire, plan a specified spot that you’ll be outside the house.
This way, if something were to go wrong and you became trapped, family and emergency personnel can act quickly to assist you.
5. When you’re driving, pay attention to visual clues
Your hearing loss has probably gotten worse over time. If your hearing aids aren’t regularly adjusted, you may find yourself depending more on your eyes. Be alert to flashing lights on the road since you may not hear sirens. When children or pedestrians are nearby, stay extra alert.
6. Share your limitations with family and friends
It might be tough to admit, but it’s essential that people in your life are aware of your hearing loss. They can warn you about something you may not hear so that you can go to safety. They probably won’t bother alerting you if they assume you hear it too.
7. Be vigilant about the maintenance of your vehicle
As a person living with hearing loss, you might not be able to hear strange thumps, clicks, or screeches when you drive. These noises may indicate a mechanical problem with your vehicle. If dismissed, they can do long-term damage to your car or put you in danger. When you bring your vehicle in for routine maintenance, ask your mechanic to give your car a general once-over.
8. Treat your hearing loss
This is the most important thing you can do to stay safe. Get your hearing checked annually to determine when your hearing loss is severe enough to require an assistive device. Don’t wait because of time constraints, money, or pride. Hearing aids these days are very functional, affordable, and discreet. A hearing aid can help you remain safer in all facets of your life.