Lots of older people experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s unsafe for them to drive? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits differ among individuals.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a seasoned driver has to quit driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a critical consideration for individuals planning daily commutes or winter road trips. 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’s neglected, driving will become increasingly hazardous.
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 play a role in the onset of dementia. Somebody suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving requires good observational skills including auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, the majority of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and use these tips.
Come in to see us for a hearing test and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
Be a more aware driver
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to make sure 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 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. You may not be capable of hearing that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for instance. You will have to rely on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get used to checking your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Make maintenance a priority
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning alarm alerting you to an issue with your engine or another essential component. That is a major safety hazard, so make a point of getting your car serviced routinely. That’s a smart idea for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Pay attention to other vehicles around you
This is a no-brainer for everybody 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 might have missed the sirens. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal choice. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing isn’t what it once was because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Contact us right away to schedule your hearing test and look into hearing aid options for your unique lifestyle.