Many older people experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s unsafe for them to drive? Driving habits differ amongst different people so the response isn’t clear-cut.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver needs to stop driving.
For individuals who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss presents a threat while driving is a crucial consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a hazardous driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become progressively more hazardous.
There is a strong link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Struggling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. A person suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving requires robust observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive if you have hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates about 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still remain safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Visit us, get a hearing test, and consider how hearing aids can change things for you. Hearing aids can help get rid of the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more aware
You will still need to be observant about what’s happening around your vehicle even if you use hearing aids.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Remember to check your dashboard often
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. For instance, you won’t hear that clicking sound that lets you know that your turn signal is on. You will have to depend on your eyes to compensate, so get used to scanning your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Maybe your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. That is a major safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced regularly. That’s a good plan for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Pay close attention to other vehicles around you
This is a no-brainer for everyone but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. If you see other cars pulling off the road, you should do that also because you may have missed the sirens. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual clues 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 normally adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is feasible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. If the idea makes you anxious, though, then it’s time to consult us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Contact us today to schedule your hearing test and investigate hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.