Coping with hearing loss can be quite an adjustment for you and your loved ones. In some cases, it can even be dangerous.
What happens if a fire alarm is going off or somebody is yelling out your name but you can’t hear them? If you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear those car noises that could be signaling an impending hazard.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you should worry about. The first thing that somebody with untreated hearing loss needs to do is get a hearing exam. Here are several tips to help keep individuals with hearing aids and their families safer whether or not they’re wearing their hearing aid.
1. Don’t go out by yourself
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’re driving
It’s essential 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. Before you drive, if you are concerned that you might have a problem with your hearing, call us for an assessment.
Don’t feel ashamed if you need to turn off the radio or ask passengers to 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 dog
For individuals who have loss of vision, epilepsy, or other problems, a service animal seems obvious. But they can also be really helpful to people who have auditory problems. You can be warned about danger by a service dog. When someone is at your door they can inform you.
They can help you with your hearing problems and they are also wonderful companions.
4. Make a plan
Before an emergency comes about, make a plan. Talk it over it with other people. For instance, be sure your family knows that you will be in the basement if a tornado hits. Plan a specific location outside your house in the case of a fire.
This way, if something were to go wrong and you became trapped, family and emergency personnel can act rapidly to help you.
5. Adjust yourself to visual clues when driving
Your hearing loss has probably worsened over time. You may need to depend on your eyes more if you don’t regularly get your hearing aids calibrated. You might not hear sirens so watch out for flashing lights. Be extra vigilant when pedestrians are nearby.
6. Share your hearing trouble with friends and family
It might be difficult to admit, but it’s important that people in your life are aware of your hearing problems. They can warn you about something you might not hear so that you can get to safety. If they don’t know that you can’t hear, they will assume that you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
As somebody living with hearing loss, you may not be able to hear strange thumps, clicks, or screeches when you drive. These can indicate a serious problem. Your car could take serious damage and your safety may be in danger if these sounds aren’t dealt with. It’s a smart idea to ask a trusted 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
This is the most important thing you can do to stay safe. Get your hearing assessed yearly to identify when your hearing loss is extensive enough to require an assistive device. Don’t let pride, money, or time constraints deter you. Modern hearing aids are discreet, functional, and surprisingly affordable. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in all aspects of your life.