Staying Safe with Hearing Loss
For those of us with hearing loss, hearing aids bring many benefits to our lives: improving our speech recognition and communication, decreasing the risk of dementia, helping us stay focused on the job, and of course, keeping us safe.
Our sense of hearing is an invisible one that is always on, ensuring that we are connected to our environment. When we experience hearing loss, the prescription of hearing aids helps to amplify and restore the richness of sounds in our lives. This also improves safety and security in our lives, giving us confidence whether we go out into the world or enjoy a night in. Check out our tips for staying safe with hearing loss.
Decrease the Risk of Falls and Hospitalizations
There have been links between untreated hearing loss and the rate of falls and hospitalizations. Dr. Frank Link, a researcher with Johns Hopkins University, along with Luigi Ferrucci from the National Institute on Aging, found from data analysis that “people with 25-decibel hearing loss (classified as mild) were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. Each additional 10-decibels of hearing loss increased the chances of falling by 1.4-fold. A further 20-decibel hearing loss over the ‘mild’ classification would push up the risk by threefold again.”
On the upside, Dr. Link believes that the use of hearing aids improves our balance by reducing the strain we put on our cognitive abilities when we struggle to hear. By treating hearing loss, we effectively ensure that we’re on a more solid footing.
Smoke Alarms at Home
During waking hours, it may be difficult to hear all of the alarms and electronics around the house. Without the use of hearing aids, we may miss alarms going off in other rooms, such as the oven timer. It’s even possible to miss fire alarms, as loud as they are, depending on the severity of one’s hearing loss. The use of hearing aids during the day ensures that we don’t miss these important alarms.
At night, it’s a different story. Most deadly home fires are reported in the late hours of night or the early hours of morning. During this time, most of us are asleep – and those of us who wear hearing aids usually take them out before bed. How do we ensure safety during these wee hours if we experience hearing loss? There are some technologies that connect to “bed-shakers” and strobe lights to wake you up with your other senses.
Smoke alarms come in different decibel and frequency levels. Depending on your degree of hearing loss, you may be able to find alarms that go off at levels that you are able to hear. Talk to us at Fidelity about the configuration of your hearing loss.
Emergency Services and Hearing Accessible Telephones
There are many services available for people who experience hearing loss, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you use a landline, you may qualify for assistive telephones, which include captions, voice-activation, or voice-dial for emergency services. Be sure to keep the phone numbers of your emergency services on speed-dial so you can call them in an instant.
For people who use smartphones exclusively, there are a number of technologies that are compatible with your hearing aids. If you have a wireless smartphone with Bluetooth capability (if you’re not sure, ask us at Fidelity Hearing!), you may stream phone calls directly to your hearing aids. This makes communication over the phone much easier. If you want to make sure you don’t miss any calls in the night, consider getting a vibrating wristband, which is connected to your smartphone and notifies you when you receive a call while you’re sleeping.
Get Your Hearing Tested Regularly
Whether you’ve got hearing aids or you’ve just begun to notice changes in your hearing, it is important to schedule an annual hearing test – especially if you are age 50 or older. Hearing tests provide you detailed information about your hearing abilities. If a hearing loss is present, we can work with you immediately to treat it. Treating hearing loss with the use of hearing aids is perhaps one of the best ways to maintain your personal safety. Contact us at Fidelity Hearing Center today!