For you and the people in your life, living with hearing loss can be difficult to adjust to. It can also come with some hazards.
What happens if a fire alarm is going off or somebody is yelling out your name but you can’t hear them? If you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t hear those car sounds that could be signaling an approaching threat.
Don’t worry about the “what ifs”. If you have neglected hearing loss, getting a hearing test is the first thing you need to do. Here are some recommendations to help keep people with hearing aids and their loved ones safer whether or not they are wearing their hearing aid.
1. Take a friend with you when you leave the house
If possible, bring someone with you who isn’t dealing with hearing loss. If you have to go out alone, ask people to come closer and look at you when they talk.
2. Stay focused when you’re driving
Because you can depend less on your hearing, it’s essential to decrease other distractions behind the wheel. Don’t use your phone or GPS while driving, just pull over if you need to change your route. If you think you have a problem with your hearing aid, come see us before getting behind the wheel.
Don’t feel ashamed if you need to turn off the radio or request that passengers stop talking during more critical moments of your drive. It’s better to err on the side of caution!
3. Think about getting a service animal
For individuals who have visual impairment, epilepsy, or other problems, a service animal seems obvious. But if you have auditory issues, they can also be really helpful. A service dog can be trained to alert you to hazards. When somebody is at your door they can let you know.
They can help you with your hearing issues and they are also good companions.
4. Have a plan
Before an emergency occurs, prepare a plan. Talk to people in your life about it. For example, make sure your family knows that you will be in the basement if a tornado hits. 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 help you.
5. When you’re driving, pay attention to visual clues
Over time, it’s likely that your hearing loss has worsened. If your hearing aids aren’t regularly adjusted, you might find yourself relying more on your eyes. You may not hear sirens so watch out for flashing lights. When children or pedestrians are nearby, stay extra attentive.
6. Let family and friends know about your limitations
It might be hard to admit, but it’s important that people in your life know about your hearing problems. They can alert you to something you might not hear so that you can get to safety. They probably won’t bother alerting you if they think you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
Your car might begin making strange noises that your hearing loss stops you from hearing. These can indicate a serious problem. Your car could take significant damage and your safety may be in danger if these noises aren’t dealt with. When you take your vehicle in for routine maintenance, ask your mechanic to give your car a general once-over.
8. Get your hearing loss treated
This is the most imperative thing you can do to stay safe. In order to know if you need to get a hearing aid, get your hearing screened yearly. Don’t let pride, money, or time constraints deter you. Modern hearing aids are discreet, functional, and very affordable. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in many situations at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.