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 if you can’t hear a fire alarm or someone calling your name? If you have neglected hearing loss, you won’t hear those car noises that could be signaling an approaching hazard.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you need to stress over. If you have neglected hearing loss, getting a hearing assessment is the first thing you should do. For people who wear hearing aids, we have some recommendations to help you and your family remain safe, even when you’re not likely to be using your hearing aids.
1. Bring a friend with you when you leave the house
Bring somebody with healthy hearing out with you if possible. If that isn’t possible, request that people face you when talking to you so you will have an easier time hearing them.
2. Stay focused when you drive
Because you can rely less on your hearing, it’s important to minimize other distractions behind the wheel. Pull over if you need to plot a route and avoid your GPS and phone. If you suspect you have an issue with your hearing aid, come see us before driving.
Don’t feel embarrassed if you have to turn off the radio or request that passengers stop talking during more decisive moments of your drive. Safety first!
3. Consider a service dog
You think of service animals as helpful for people with visual impairment, epilepsy, or other disorders. But they can also be extremely helpful to those who have auditory problems. A service dog can be trained to warn you of hazards. They can inform you when somebody is at your door.
They can help you with your hearing issues and they are also great companions.
4. Have a plan
Know what you’ll do before an emergency hits. Talk to others in your life about it. For example, be certain your family is aware that you will be in the basement if a tornado hits. In case of a fire, plan a specified location that you’ll be outside the house.
This way, emergency personnel, and your family will know where you will be if something were to happen.
5. When you’re driving, adjust to visual cues
Over time, it’s likely that your hearing loss has worsened. You may need to rely on your eyes more if you don’t regularly have your hearing aids tuned. Be alert to flashing lights on the road since you may not hear sirens. When children or pedestrians are around, be extra alert.
6. Let friends and family know about your limitations
It might be difficult to admit, but it’s important that people in your life know about your hearing issues. 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 assume you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
Your car might begin making strange sounds that your hearing loss stops you from detecting. These can indicate a serious problem. If ignored, they can do long-term damage to your vehicle or put you at risk. It’s a smart idea to ask a trustworthy mechanic for their opinion on the condition of your vehicle when you bring it in for an oil change or inspection.
8. Treat your hearing loss
If you want to stay safe, having your hearing loss treated is vital. Have your hearing checked yearly to determine when your hearing loss is substantial enough to require an assistive device. Don’t delay because of time constraints, money, or pride. Modern hearing aids are discreet, functional, and surprisingly affordable. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in all aspects of your life.