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 smoke detector is sounding or someone is yelling out your name but you can’t hear them? Car noises can indicate hazards ahead, but if you have neglected hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear them.
Don’t worry about the “what ifs”. If you have untreated hearing loss, getting a hearing exam is the first thing you should do. Here are some tips to help keep people with hearing aids and their loved ones safer whether or not they are wearing their hearing aid.
1. Bring a friend with you when you leave the house
If you can, take somebody with you who isn’t struggling to hear. If that’s not possible, request that people face you when talking to you so they are easier to hear.
2. Avoid distractions when you’re driving
Because you can depend less on your hearing, it’s important to minimize other distractions behind the wheel. 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 an issue with your hearing, call us for an evaluation.
If there are times while you’re driving that you may need to have your passengers quiet down or turn off the radio, there’s no shame. Safety first!
3. Think about getting a service animal
For individuals 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 very helpful. A service dog can be trained to alert you to danger. When somebody is at your door they can inform you.
Not only can they help with these issues, but they also make a great companion.
4. Have a plan
Before an emergency comes about, make a plan. Speak with others in your life about it. For example, be certain your family is aware that you will be in the basement in the case of a tornado. In case of a fire, choose a specified location that you’ll be outside the house.
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 routinely have your hearing aids tuned. Be alert to flashing lights on the road since you might not hear sirens. When kids or pedestrians are nearby, be extra vigilant.
6. Let friends and family know about your limitations
Nobody wants to disclose that they have hearing impairment, but those in your life need to know. You may need to get to safety and those around you will be able to make you aware of something you may have missed. If they’re not aware that you’re unable to hear, they will think that you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
Your car may begin making strange sounds that your hearing loss stops you from hearing. These sounds may point to a mechanical problem with your vehicle. Your car could take significant damage and your safety could be in danger if these sounds aren’t dealt with. It’s a good idea to ask a trustworthy mechanic for their opinion on the condition of your vehicle when you take it in for an oil change or inspection.
8. Treat your hearing loss
This is the most critical 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 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 many situations at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.