Many older individuals experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? Driving habits vary amongst different individuals so the response isn’t clear-cut.
While hearing loss is a component to consider when driving a vehicle, a competent driver remains proficient even if they need to adjust the radio volume.
Whether hearing loss poses a risk while driving is a critical consideration for those planning regular commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a substantial impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you choose to just ignore your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a definite relationship between hearing and brain health. Struggling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what individuals are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. Driving is certainly out of the question for somebody who has dementia.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be noted that safe driving requires strong observational skills including auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, the majority of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still stay safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Stop putting off
Come in to see us for a hearing test 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
You will still need to be observant about what’s going on 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. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
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 will no longer hear that clicking sound that tells you that your turn signal is on. So routinely look at your dashboard because your eyes will have to pick up the slack.
Make maintenance a priority
Perhaps your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced routinely. For people with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for somebody who doesn’t have hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you might be missing something. You might not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should too. 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 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 feasible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. If the thought of this makes you uneasy, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like using hearing aids.
Contact us right away to schedule your hearing test and explore hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.