Many older people have 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 have to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver needs to stop driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for those planning regular commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a significant impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you choose to simply dismiss your decline.
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 comprehend what individuals are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. Someone suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving demands good observational skills including auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that around 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still continue to be 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 situation. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
When you drive, be more observant
Even if you have hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to make sure you aren’t missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Don’t let it get too noisy in your car
This will allow you to focus your listening on driving without being distracted. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Remember to look at your dashboard often
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. You might not be capable of hearing that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for instance. You will have to depend on your eyes to compensate, so get used to checking your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Make maintenance a priority
Maybe your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. Get your car serviced regularly so you can avoid this major safety risk. 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
Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you might be missing something. You might not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should as well. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
Can you 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. If the thought of this makes you anxious, though, then it’s time to consult us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you better your quality of life by investigating the hearing solutions that will be suitable for your unique hearing situation.