Many older people have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits differ among individuals.
While hearing loss is a component to think about when driving a vehicle, a competent driver remains capable even if they need to lower the radio volume.
Whether hearing loss poses a risk while driving is a critical consideration for individuals planning daily commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss likely won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become progressively more hazardous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a distinct connection between hearing and brain health. Battling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to comprehend what people are saying. It has a detrimental impact on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. An individual suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
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 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
With some adjustments, you can still stay safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Visit us, have your hearing tested, and consider how hearing aids can change things for you. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
Be a more aware driver
You will still need to be aware of 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 chat more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can add up. For instance, you won’t hear that clicking sound that tells you that your turn signal is blinking. So routinely look at your dashboard because your eyes will have to compensate.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell telling you there is an issue with your engine or another crucial 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 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 may not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should too. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a safe driver even if your hearing isn’t what it used to be because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Contact us today to schedule your hearing exam and look into hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.