For you and the people in your life, living with hearing loss can take some work to adjust to. Sometimes, it can even be unsafe.
What’s going to happen if you can’t hear a fire alarm or someone yelling your name? Car noises can warn you about hazards ahead, but if you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear them.
Don’t worry about the “what ifs”. If you have untreated hearing loss, getting a hearing test is the first thing you need to do. For people who use hearing aids, we have a few recommendations to help you and your loved ones remain safe, even when you aren’t likely to be using your hearing aids.
1. Don’t go out by yourself
If you can, take someone with you who is not struggling to hear. If that’s not possible, ask people to face you when talking to you so that you will have an easier time hearing them.
2. Stay focused when you drive
It’s important to stay focused when you’re driving because you can’t depend on your hearing as much for cues. 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 have to turn off the radio or ask passengers to stop talking during more decisive moments of your drive. Safety first!
3. Consider a service dog
For people who have visual impairment, epilepsy, or other issues, a service dog seems obvious. But if you have auditory challenges, they can also be really helpful. You can be warned about danger by a service dog. They can inform you when someone is at your door.
They can help you with your hearing issues and they are also great companions.
4. Have a plan
Identify what you’ll do before an emergency strikes. Speak with people in your life about it. For example, be sure your family is aware that you will be in the basement in the case of a tornado. In case of a fire, plan a delegated place that you’ll be outside the house.
This way, emergency personnel, and your family will know where you will be if something were to go wrong.
5. Adjust yourself to visual clues while driving
Over time, it’s likely that your hearing loss has worsened. If your hearing aids aren’t regularly adjusted, you may find yourself relying more on your eyes. Be aware of flashing lights on the road since you might not hear sirens. When kids or pedestrians are around, stay extra attentive.
6. Share your hearing trouble with family and friends
Nobody wants to admit that they have hearing impairment, but people close to you 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. If they’re not aware that you’re unable to hear, they will think that you hear it too.
7. Be vigilant about the maintenance of your vehicle
Your car might begin making peculiar sounds that your hearing loss stops you from detecting. These sounds could suggest a mechanical problem with your vehicle. Your car could take serious damage and your safety might be at risk if these sounds aren’t dealt with. It’s a smart idea to ask a trustworthy mechanic for their opinion on the condition of your vehicle when you take it in for an oil change or inspection.
8. Have your hearing impairment treated
This is the most important thing you can do to stay safe. Have your hearing tested annually to determine when your hearing loss is substantial 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.