Coping with hearing loss can be a difficult adjustment for you and your loved ones. Sometimes, it can even be dangerous.
What happens if a fire alarm is going off or somebody is shouting out your name but you’re unable to hear them? Car noises can indicate dangers ahead, but if you have neglected hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear them.
Don’t stress yourself out over the “what ifs”. If you have neglected hearing loss, getting a hearing exam is the first thing you need to do. Here are a few recommendations to help keep people with hearing aids and their loved ones safer whether or not they’re using their hearing aid.
1. Don’t go out by yourself
Bring somebody with good hearing out with you if you can. If you need to go out by yourself, ask people to come closer and look at you when they talk.
2. Avoid distractions while driving
Because you can depend less on your hearing, it’s important to reduce other distractions behind the wheel. 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 ashamed if you need to turn off the radio or request that passengers stop talking during more critical 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 disorders. But if you have auditory challenges, they can also be really helpful. A service dog can be trained to warn you of danger. They can inform you when somebody is at your door.
They can assist you with your hearing issues and they are also excellent companions.
4. Make a plan
Before an emergency happens, prepare a plan. Talk to others in your life about it. As an 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 place that you’ll be outside the house.
This way, if something were to go wrong and you became trapped, family and emergency workers can act rapidly to assist you.
5. When you’re driving, adjust to visual clues
Your hearing loss has probably gotten worse over time. You may need to rely on your eyes more if you don’t regularly have your hearing aids tuned. Be aware of flashing lights on the road since you may not hear sirens. When children or pedestrians are nearby, stay extra vigilant.
6. Share your limitations with family and friends
Nobody wants to disclose 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 get to safety. They most likely won’t bother alerting you if they think you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
Your car may start making unusual noises that your hearing loss stops you from detecting. These sounds could suggest a mechanical problem with your vehicle. Your car could take significant damage and your safety may be in danger if these noises aren’t addressed. 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. Get your hearing impairment treated
If you want to be safe, getting your hearing loss treated is essential. Have your hearing assessed yearly to determine when your hearing loss is extensive enough to require an assistive device. Don’t delay 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 settings at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.