For you and the people in your life, living with hearing loss can take some work to adjust to. It can also come with some dangers.
What’s going to happen if you can’t hear a smoke detector or someone calling your name? Car noises can warn you about dangers ahead, but if you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear them.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you should worry about. The first thing that a person with neglected hearing loss should do is get a hearing test. For people with hearing aids, we have some recommendations to help you and your family stay safe, even when you aren’t likely to be wearing your hearing aids.
1. Don’t go out alone
If you can, take someone with you who isn’t dealing with hearing loss. If you need to go out alone, request that people come closer and look at you when they talk.
2. Avoid distractions while driving
Because you can rely less on your hearing, it’s important to reduce other distractions when driving. Don’t use your phone or GPS while driving, just pull over if you need to change your route. If you suspect you have a problem with your hearing aid, come see us before getting behind the wheel.
Don’t feel embarrassed if you need to turn off the radio or request that passengers stop talking during more decisive moments of your drive. It’s better to err on the side of caution!
3. Think about getting a service animal
You think of service dogs as helpful for those with loss of vision, epilepsy, or other disorders. But they can also be very helpful to individuals who have auditory problems. A service dog can be trained to warn you of danger. They can let you know when someone is at your door.
Not only can they assist you with these problems, but they also make a terrific companion.
4. Have a plan
Before an emergency occurs, make a plan. Discuss it with other people. If you plan to move into the basement during a tornado, be sure 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. Pay extra attention to visual cues when driving
Your hearing loss has most likely gotten worse over time. You might need to depend on your eyes more if you don’t routinely have your hearing aids tuned. You might not hear sirens so be aware of flashing lights. When kids or pedestrians are around, stay extra attentive.
6. Share your limitations with friends and family
Nobody wants to admit that they have hearing impairment, but those close to you need to know. They can warn you about something you might not hear so that you can go to safety. They most likely won’t bother alerting you if they assume you hear it too.
7. Be vigilant about the maintenance of your vehicle
Your car may begin making strange sounds that your hearing loss stops you from hearing. These can indicate a serious problem. If ignored, they can do long-term damage to your vehicle or put you at risk. When you bring your vehicle in for routine maintenance, ask your mechanic to give your car a general once-over.
8. Get your hearing impairment treated
This is the most imperative thing you can do to remain safe. 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. Hearing aids today are very functional, affordable, and unobtrusive. A hearing aid can help you remain safer in many settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.