Hearing loss is a common challenge for older individuals, but does it warrant quitting driving? Driving habits vary amongst different individuals so the response isn’t straightforward.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver has to quit driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is an important consideration for those planning everyday 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 dangerous.
There is a strong link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Struggling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to comprehend what individuals are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. Driving is certainly off the table for a person with dementia.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be noted that safe driving requires strong observational skills and this includes auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates about 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.
Driving with hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still continue to be safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Quit putting off
Visit us, get a hearing test, and think about how hearing aids can change things for you. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
When you drive, be more aware
You will still need to be observant about what’s going on around your vehicle even if you use hearing aids.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will allow you to focus your listening on driving without distractions. Ask your passengers to talk 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 mount up. For instance, you will no longer hear that clicking sound that tells you that your turn signal is blinking. 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
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell telling you there is a problem with your engine or another critical component. Get your car serviced regularly so you can avoid this major safety hazard. That’s a good plan for most people but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Pay attention to other vehicles around you
Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch 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. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a safe driver even if your hearing is not what it used to be because most likely 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 with hearing aids.
Give us a call today to schedule your hearing exam and look into hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.