Staying Safe with Hearing Loss

Do you struggle to hear in everyday conversations? It can be difficult to acknowledge the reality of hearing loss, especially when faced with the fact that it isn’t going anywhere. Hearing loss is a permanent condition and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Not only is it a communication issue, but it can be harder to stay safe with hearing loss. You may not notice how much you use your hearing when navigating the world every day, but once you start to think about it, it’s surprising how essential it is! 

The Safety Risks of Hearing Loss

Our hearing is a vital sense which helps us not only communicate with one another but helps us navigate the world. We are constantly receiving sounds which clue us into our environment and keep us safe. We have two ears for a reason—to help us localize sound. When sound comes from the right, our right ear picks it up first and communicates this to our brain, and the same goes for the left side. When hearing is compromised even to a mild degree in one or both ears, it can be disorienting. According to Dr. Frank Lin of Johns Hopkins University, those with 25-decibel hearing loss (defined as mild) were approximately three times more likely to have a history of falling. Each 10-decibel increase in hearing loss raised the risk of falling 1.4 times. A 20-decibel increase in hearing loss over the ‘mild’ grade would triple the risk.

The Physical Risks of Hearing Loss

Not being able to hear sounds in our everyday world can quickly become a hazard to you and those around you. In fact, those who struggle to hear are more likely to suffer falls or accidents, which may lead to hospitalization. In a working environment, you may be less likely to respond to a warning sound in a timely manner. For emergencies, how fast we react can make all the difference and when that is compromised due to hearing loss, accidents occur. Behind the wheel, while driving, you never know what may happen and it’s important to be poised for anything. Driving without addressing a hearing loss can become a hazard out of the blue for everyone on the road. Other instances where hearing loss may impact your safety include:

  • You may miss important alarms for your safety 
  • You may fail to identify emergency sirens or other warning sounds in public places in a timely manner
  • You are less aware of people approaching from behind in the unfortunate case of an assault.
  • You may miss doorbells or even warning signs of an intruder in your home.

Hearing Aids Can Prevent Falls

These devices can help prevent falls by improving a person’s auditory awareness of their surroundings. Hearing loss is known to be associated with an increased risk of falls, especially in older adults. When someone experiences hearing loss, they may have difficulty detecting important environmental sounds, such as footsteps, approaching vehicles, or warning signals. This lack of auditory awareness can lead to accidents and falls.

Hearing Aids Can Help

Hearing loss is a permanent condition, but the good news is that it can be treated effectively when committing to using hearing aids every day, from the time you wake up to the time you rest. This may seem like a lot of time, but it means you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way. These amazing electronic devices can be programmed based on your latest hearing exam to amplify the sounds you need to struggle with while leaving the other sounds to your existing hearing. This not only helps you follow conversations and respond with confidence but also gives you more awareness of the richness of sounds around us, bringing us into our environment. 

Learn more about the benefits of hearing aid usage

Tips for Staying Safe with Hearing Loss

Even with hearing aids, there may be instances where you need a little help. For instance, you can’t wear your hearing aids in the shower or while sleeping. It is wise to invest in some added safety measures at home or at work to make sure you’ll be alerted of an emergency with ample time to protect yourself and others. Some tips include investing in alarms with lights and vibrations. You may not hear it, but you will see it and feel it. Set your phone alerts to vibrate and flash. For smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, make sure they have visual cues as well. Many people find it helps them to feel more secure by setting up bed shakers to wake them in the event of an emergency.

Testing Regularly

Don’t let your hearing get so bad that it poses a safety risk to you before you can treat it. Regular hearing exams can detect hearing loss before it becomes a more dangerous issue. Schedule with American Hearing + Audiology today.