Living with hearing loss can be a difficult adjustment for you and your family members. It can also come with some dangers.
What happens if a smoke detector is sounding or someone is yelling out your name but you’re unable to hear them? Car sounds can warn you about hazards ahead, but if you have neglected hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear them.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you should stress over. The first thing that somebody with neglected hearing loss should do is get a hearing exam. For people who use 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 by yourself
If you can, bring somebody with you who is not struggling to hear. If you have to go out alone, ask people to come closer and look at you when they talk.
2. Stay focused when you’re driving
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 think you have an issue with your hearing aid, come see us before driving.
Don’t feel ashamed if you have to turn off the radio or ask passengers to stop talking during more critical moments of your drive. It’s better to err on the side of caution!
3. Consider a service animal
You think of service animals as helpful for those with visual impairment, epilepsy, or other conditions. But if you have auditory problems, they can also be very helpful. A service dog can be trained to alert you to danger. When someone is at your door they can let you know.
They can help you with your hearing problems and they are also great companions.
4. Make a plan
Determine what you’ll do before an emergency happens. Discuss it with others. For instance, be sure your family is aware 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, emergency personnel, and your family will know where you will be if something were to go wrong.
5. When you’re driving, pay attention to visual cues
Over time, it’s likely that your hearing loss has gotten worse. You might need to rely on your eyes more if you don’t regularly have 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 family and friends
It may be difficult to admit, but it’s crucial that people in your life know about your hearing loss. 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. Be vigilant about the maintenance of your vehicle
As someone living with hearing loss, you might not be able to hear unusual thumps, clicks, or screeches when you’re driving. These can signal a serious problem. If neglected, they can do long-term damage to your car or put you at risk. When you bring your vehicle in for routine maintenance, ask your mechanic to give your car an overall once-over.
8. Get your hearing impairment treated
This is the most imperative thing you can do to remain safe. In order to identify if you require a hearing aid, have your hearing tested yearly. Don’t let pride, money, or time constraints stop you. Modern hearing aids are discreet, functional, and very affordable. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in all aspects of your life.