Coping with hearing loss can be a difficult adjustment for you and your family members. It can also come with some hazards.
What happens if a fire alarm is sounding or somebody is yelling out your name but you’re unable to hear them? Car sounds can indicate hazards ahead, but if you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t hear them.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you need to stress over. If you are dealing with neglected hearing loss, getting a hearing assessment is the first thing you should do. For those who wear hearing aids, we have a few recommendations to help you and your family remain safe, even when you aren’t likely to be wearing your hearing aids.
1. Don’t go out alone
If possible, bring somebody with you who isn’t struggling to hear. If that isn’t possible, request that people face you when speaking to you so you will have an easier time hearing them.
2. Avoid distractions while driving
It’s important to stay focused when you’re driving because you can’t rely on your hearing as much for cues. Pull over if you need to plot a route and avoid your phone and GPS. If you suspect you have a problem with your hearing aid, come see us before getting behind the wheel.
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 reason to be embarrassed. It’s better to err on the side of caution!
3. Consider a service dog
You think of service dogs as helpful for people with loss of vision, epilepsy, or other disorders. But if you’re dealing with auditory problems, they can also be really helpful. You can be alerted to danger by a service dog. They can inform you when somebody is at your door.
They can assist you with your hearing problems and they are also excellent companions.
4. Have a plan
Know what you’ll do before an emergency hits. Speak with people in your life about it. If you’re planning to go into the basement during a tornado, be certain your family knows where they’ll find you. Plan a specific location outside your house in the case of a fire.
This way, emergency workers, and your family will know where you will be if something were to go wrong.
5. Adjust yourself to visual cues when driving
Your hearing loss has probably worsened over time. If your hearing aids aren’t regularly fine-tuned, you may find yourself relying more on your eyes. Be aware of flashing lights on the road since you may not hear sirens. Be extra vigilant when pedestrians are nearby.
6. Let family and friends know about your limitations
Nobody wants to disclose that they have hearing impairment, but people close to you need to know. They can alert you to something you may not hear so that you can get to safety. They most likely won’t bother alerting you if they think you hear it too.
7. Be vigilant about the maintenance of your vehicle
As someone living with hearing loss, you may not be able to hear strange thumps, clicks, or screeches when you’re driving. These can signal a serious issue. If dismissed, they can do long-term damage to your vehicle or put you in danger. It’s a good 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. Manage your hearing loss
If you want to be safe, getting your hearing loss treated is vital. Have your hearing assessed annually to determine when your hearing loss is severe enough to require an assistive device. 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 settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.