Lots of older individuals have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? Driving habits differ amongst different individuals so the response isn’t straightforward.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a seasoned driver has to quit driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is an important consideration for individuals planning everyday commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a hazardous driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a huge impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to just disregard your decline.
There is a strong connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Struggling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. Driving is certainly out of the question for someone who has dementia.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
Driving requires robust observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive with hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that about 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.
Driving with hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and use these tips.
Quit putting off
Visit us, have your hearing tested, and consider how hearing aids can change things for you. Hearing aids can help eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
Be a more observant driver
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to make sure you aren’t missing anything in or around your vehicle.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will help you be less distracted. Ask your passengers to chat more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Remember to look at your dashboard often
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. For example, you will no longer hear that clicking noise that tells you that your turn signal is on. You will have to rely on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get used to scanning your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Maybe your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of having your car serviced regularly. For people with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for someone who doesn’t have hearing loss.
Pay attention to other vehicles around you
This is a no-brainer for everyone 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. Look to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get clues on what you may not be hearing.
Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will usually adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning to go. If the idea 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 look into hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.