In a world where texting, traffic, and GPS distractions have become the norm, road safety is increasingly important for all of us. However, those diagnosed with hearing loss may need to take extra precautions as pedestrians and behind the wheel. As such, we’ve compiled a quick list of dos and don’ts to help ensure your safety and the safety of others.
Don’t make assumptions for sounds
It’s often assumed an ambulance will blare sirens, a train will whistle and flash lights, or trucks will go heavy on their horns. However, oftentimes those sounds are muted, especially in residential areas or after certain hours. For people with hearing loss, even if noise is blaring, it may be difficult to distinguish where it’s coming from and what direction to move. The simplest solution? Rely on resources other than your ears.
Do turn your head
Assuming you’ve passed your state-mandated vision test to obtain a driver’s licence, your eyes should be your biggest asset behind the wheel. But sometimes when our vision is strong, we can get lazy with actually checking what’s around us. It’s important not to rely on peripherals and to make sure our necks are doing the work. Same goes for walking – you may not hear cars coming, and you can’t assume they see you or stop signs. Your mum’s age-old advice holds true – “look both ways before crossing the street.”
Do mute music at crossing
On the note of crossing, it’s important not to be distracted by radios or earphones at intersections. We suggest hitting pause when approaching areas of potential oncoming traffic so you can better listen for horns and whistles.
Do hit ‘ignore’
Another obvious one, but keeping device distractions to a minimum is essential nowadays. While the government has put a major emphasis on texting, for drivers and walkers with hearing loss, calls can actually be more distracting and detrimental. We strongly recommend making the ignore button your friend, or picking up only to tell the person you’ll call them back later. Even speaking technologies like Siri aren’t a good solution, as they shift our focus onto what she’s saying and not what’s happening outside our windows.
Do wear your hearing aids
Perhaps the most obvious of all, but a friendly reminder to keep your hearing aids in, even for a quick trip to the store. They’ll pick up sounds you won’t, so you can focus on the road and the radio, because no one should be robbed of that right!