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 a difficult adjustment for you and your family members. In some cases, it can even be dangerous.

What’s going to happen if you can’t hear a smoke detector or someone calling your name? Car noises can warn you about hazards ahead, but if you have neglected hearing loss, you won’t be able to hear them.

Don’t worry about the “what ifs”. The first thing that somebody with untreated hearing loss should do is get a hearing exam. Here are several tips to help keep individuals with hearing aids and their loved ones 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 alone, ask people to come closer and look at you when they talk.

2. Avoid distractions when you’re driving

Because you can depend less on your hearing, it’s essential to reduce other distractions when driving. Pull off the road if you need to plot a route and stay away from your phone and GPS. If you think 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. Think about getting a service dog

You think of service dogs as helpful for those with loss of vision, epilepsy, or other disorders. But if you’re dealing with auditory challenges, they can also be really helpful. A service dog can be trained to warn you of danger. They can inform you when someone is at your door.

They can assist you with your hearing issues and they are also great companions.

4. Have a plan

Before an emergency takes place, prepare a plan. Speak with others in your life about it. As an example, be sure your family knows that you will be in the basement if a tornado hits. In case of a fire, choose a delegated place that you’ll be outside the house.

This way, emergency workers, and your family will know where to find if something were to happen.

5. When you’re driving, adjust to visual clues

Over time, it’s likely that your hearing loss has worsened. If your hearing aids aren’t regularly adjusted, you may find yourself depending more on your eyes. You may not hear sirens so look out for flashing lights. When kids or pedestrians are around, stay extra alert.

6. Let family and friends know about your hearing trouble

It might be difficult to admit, but it’s crucial that people in your life know about your hearing issues. They can alert you to something you might not hear so that you can go to safety. If they’re not aware 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 might not be able to hear unusual thumps, clicks, or screeches when you drive. These noises may indicate a mechanical issue with your vehicle. Your car could take significant damage and your safety could be at risk if these sounds aren’t dealt with. It’s a good idea to ask a trustworthy mechanic for their opinion on the condition of your vehicle when you bring it in for an oil change or inspection.

8. Get your hearing impairment treated

If you want to stay safe, getting your hearing loss treated is essential. Get your hearing assessed annually to identify when your hearing loss is extensive enough to require an assistive device. Don’t wait because of time constraints, money, or pride. Hearing aids nowadays 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.