Many older people have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits differ among individuals.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver has to quit driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for those planning everyday commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a dangerous driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a significant impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you choose to simply ignore your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a definite connection between hearing and brain health. Battling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. Somebody suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving requires good observational skills and this includes auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, most of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still remain safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Come in to see us for a hearing test and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
Be a more aware driver
You will still need to be observant about what’s going on around your vehicle even if you use hearing aids.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will let you focus your listening on driving without distractions. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. You may not be able to hear that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for instance. You will have to rely on your eyes to compensate, so get in the habit of checking your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Make maintenance a priority
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning bell telling you there is a problem with your engine or another critical component. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. That’s a smart idea for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
This is a no-brainer for everybody but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. You may not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should as well. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will typically adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. But if you’re feeling worried about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you better your quality of life by exploring the hearing solutions that will be suited to your unique hearing situation.