Lots of older individuals experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s unsafe for them to drive? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits vary among individuals.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver has to stop driving.
For individuals who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is a significant consideration. Is your driving becoming hazardous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly dangerous.
There is a solid connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work overtime struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day tasks. It has a detrimental effect on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Driving is certainly out of the question for somebody who has dementia.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
Driving demands strong observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive if you have hearing loss. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, most of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With a few 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. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
When you drive, be more aware
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to ensure you aren’t missing anything in or around your vehicle.
Don’t let it get too loud in your car
This will allow you to focus your listening on driving without being distracted. Turn the radio off and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can add up. 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 pick up the slack, so get in the habit of scanning your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Make maintenance a priority
Maybe your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. 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.
Watch the other cars closely
This is a no-brainer for everybody but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. If you see other cars pulling to the side of the road, you should do that also because you may have missed the sirens. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing is not what it used to be because most likely your other senses will help you make the adjustment. 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 using hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by investigating the hearing solutions that will be appropriate for your unique hearing situation.