Many older people experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? Driving habits differ amongst different people so the response isn’t straightforward.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a skilled driver has to quit driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is an important consideration for individuals planning regular commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly unsafe.
There is a strong link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work extra hard struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day tasks. It has a negative impact on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Driving is definitely out of the question for someone who has dementia.
Should you drive if you have hearing loss?
Driving demands good 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 reports that about 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.
Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still stay safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Visit us, have your hearing tested, and think about how hearing aids can change things for you. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
When you drive, be more observant
You will still need to be observant about what’s happening around your vehicle even if you have hearing aids.
Don’t let it get too loud in your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
It’s the little things that will add 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 checking your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Maybe your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. For people with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for somebody without hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
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 as well because you may have missed the sirens. Look to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get clues on what you might not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will usually adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning 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 with hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by looking at the hearing options that will be suited to your unique hearing situation.