Senior man with hearing loss getting ready to go out with his best friend, a Standard Poodle service dog.

Coping with hearing loss can be quite an adjustment for you and your family members. It can also come with some hazards.

What if you can’t hear a fire alarm or somebody calling your name? If you have untreated hearing loss, you won’t hear those car sounds that could be signaling an impending hazard.

But the “what ifs” aren’t something you need to worry about. If you have neglected hearing loss, getting a hearing exam is the first thing you should do. For those with hearing aids, we have some tips to help you and your family stay safe, even when you aren’t likely to be using your hearing aids.

1. Don’t go out by yourself

If possible, bring somebody with you who is not dealing with hearing loss. If that isn’t possible, request that people face you when talking to you so you will have an easier time hearing them.

2. Avoid distractions when you’re driving

It’s important to remain focused when you’re driving because you can’t depend on your hearing as much for cues. Pull off the road if you need to plot a route and avoid your GPS and phone. 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 have to turn off the radio or request that passengers stop talking during more decisive moments of your drive. It’s better to err on the side of caution!

3. Consider a service animal

You think of service dogs as helpful for individuals with loss of vision, epilepsy, or other conditions. But they can also be really helpful to those with auditory challenges. A service dog can be trained to alert you to danger. They can let you know when someone is at your door.

Not only can they assist you with these issues, but they also make a terrific companion.

4. Have a plan

Identify what you’ll do before an emergency happens. Talk to others 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. 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 workers can act rapidly to help you.

5. When you’re driving, pay attention to visual cues

Your hearing loss has probably worsened over time. If your hearing aids aren’t regularly adjusted, you may find yourself depending more on your eyes. Be alert to flashing lights on the road since you might not hear sirens. When children or pedestrians are nearby, stay extra alert.

6. Let friends and family know about your limitations

It might 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. If they’re not aware that you’re unable to hear, they will think that you hear it too.

7. Keep your car well-maintained

Your car may start making peculiar sounds that your hearing loss stops you from hearing. These sounds may point to a mechanical issue with your vehicle. If dismissed, they can do long-term damage to your vehicle or put you in danger. When you bring your vehicle in for routine maintenance, ask your mechanic to give your car a general once-over.

8. Address your hearing loss

This is the most imperative thing you can do to remain safe. Have your hearing assessed yearly to identify when your hearing loss is significant enough to require an assistive device. Don’t allow pride, money, or time constraints deter you. Hearing aids these days are very functional, affordable, and unobtrusive. A hearing aid can help you stay safer in many situations at home, work, park, shopping, and driving.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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