Many older people have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? Driving habits vary amongst different people so the response isn’t straightforward.
While hearing loss is a component to think about when driving a vehicle, a competent driver remains proficient even if they have to adjust the volume on the radio.
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 driving becoming hazardous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a significant impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to just disregard your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a definite link between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work extra hard struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other daily activities. It has a detrimental impact on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. A person suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
Should you drive if you have hearing loss?
Driving requires strong observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive with hearing loss. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, the majority of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still stay safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Quit putting off
Come in to see us for a hearing exam and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. Hearing aids can help remove the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more observant
Even if you have hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to ensure you’re not missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will allow you to focus your listening on driving without being distracted. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chit-chat to a minimum.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. For example, you won’t hear that clicking sound that lets you know that your turn signal is on. So routinely look at your dashboard because your eyes will need to pick up the slack.
Make maintenance a priority
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 routinely. That’s a smart idea for most people 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. You might not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should as well. Look to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get clues on what you may not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal choice. Your other senses will normally adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is feasible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning to go. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you better your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Call us right away to schedule your hearing test and investigate hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.