For you and the people you love, coping with hearing loss can be difficult to adjust to. In some cases, it can even be dangerous.
What’s going to happen if you can’t hear a fire alarm or somebody yelling your name? If you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t hear those car sounds that could be signaling an approaching threat.
But the “what ifs” aren’t something you need to stress over. The first thing that someone with neglected hearing loss should do is get a hearing assessment. Here are some recommendations to help keep individuals with hearing aids and their families safer whether or not they’re using their hearing aid.
1. Don’t go out alone
If possible, take someone with you who is not dealing with hearing loss. If you need to go out by yourself, request that people 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 minimize other distractions behind the wheel. Don’t use your phone or GPS while driving, just pull over if you need to reroute. If you think you have an issue with your hearing aid, come see us before getting behind the wheel.
If there are moments while you’re driving that you may need to have your passengers quiet down or turn off the radio, there’s no reason to be embarrassed. It’s better to err on the side of caution!
3. Consider a service dog
For people who have loss of vision, epilepsy, or other problems, a service animal seems obvious. But if you have auditory problems, they can also be very helpful. A service dog can be trained to alert you to 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
Determine what you’ll do before an emergency strikes. Speak with people in your life about it. If you plan to go into the basement during a tornado, be sure your family knows where they’ll find you. Plan a specific location outside your house in the case of a fire.
This way, if something were to happen and you became trapped, family and emergency workers can act quickly to help you.
5. Adjust yourself to visual cues while driving
Your hearing loss has most likely gotten worse over time. You might need to rely on your eyes more if you don’t regularly have your hearing aids tuned. You might not hear sirens so watch out for flashing lights. When kids or pedestrians are around, stay extra alert.
6. Let family and friends know about your hearing trouble
It may be hard to admit, but it’s essential that people in your life know about your hearing issues. They can warn you about something you may not hear so that you can go to safety. They most likely won’t bother alerting you if they think you hear it too.
7. Keep your car well-maintained
As a person living with hearing loss, you might not be able to hear strange thumps, clicks, or screeches when you’re driving. These can indicate a serious issue. If dismissed, they can do long-term damage to your car or put you at risk. 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. Have your hearing impairment treated
This is the most imperative 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 wait 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 all facets of your life.