Coping with hearing loss can be a difficult adjustment for you and your family. Sometimes, it can even be unsafe.
What happens if a smoke detector is going off or somebody is shouting out your name but you can’t hear them? Car noises can indicate dangers ahead, but if you have neglected hearing loss, you won’t hear them.
Don’t stress yourself out over the “what ifs”. If you have untreated hearing loss, getting a hearing assessment is the first thing you need to do. Here are a few tips to help keep individuals with hearing aids and their families safer whether or not they are using their hearing aid.
1. Bring a friend with you when you go out
Bring someone with good hearing out with you if you can. If you have to go out by yourself, ask people to come closer and look at you when they talk.
2. Stay focused when you drive
It’s essential to remain focused while driving because you can’t depend on your hearing as much for cues. 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. Think about getting a service dog
You think of service animals as helpful for those with visual impairment, epilepsy, or other conditions. But they can also be very helpful to people who have auditory issues. A service dog can be trained to warn you of hazards. They can inform you when someone is at your door.
Not only can they help with these issues, but they also make a terrific companion.
4. Have a plan
Know what you’ll do before an emergency happens. Talk it over it with others. If you’re planning to move into the basement during a tornado, make sure your family knows where they’ll find you. In case of a fire, plan a designated place that you’ll be outside the house.
This way, if something were to go wrong and you became trapped, family and emergency personnel can act quickly to help you.
5. When you’re driving, pay attention to visual cues
Your hearing loss has likely worsened over time. You might need to rely on your eyes more if you don’t routinely get your hearing aids tuned. You might not hear sirens so look out for flashing lights. Be extra attentive when pedestrians are around.
6. Share your hearing trouble with family and friends
Nobody wants to disclose that they have hearing impairment, but people in your life need to be aware of it. You might need to get to safety and people around you will be able to warn you about something you might have missed. They probably won’t bother alerting you if they think you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
As somebody living with hearing loss, you may not be able to hear unusual thumps, clicks, or screeches when you’re driving. These sounds could indicate a mechanical issue with your vehicle. If disregarded, they can do long-term damage to your vehicle or put you at risk. When you take your vehicle in for routine maintenance, ask your mechanic to give your car a general once-over.
8. Have your hearing impairment treated
This is the most critical thing you can do to remain safe. Have your hearing assessed annually to determine when your hearing loss is extensive enough to require an assistive device. Don’t let pride, money, or time constraints stop you. Hearing aids nowadays are very functional, affordable, and discreet. A hearing aid can help you remain safer in many situations at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.