Many older people have 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 need to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a seasoned driver needs to stop driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for individuals planning daily commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a substantial impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to just disregard your decline.
There is a solid link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Battling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what individuals are saying. It has a negative effect on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Driving is certainly off the table for a person with dementia.
Should you drive if you have hearing loss?
Driving demands 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 estimates around 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still continue to be 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 situation. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
When you drive, be more observant
You will still need to be observant about what’s happening 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 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 add up. You may not be able to hear that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for instance. So routinely check your dashboard because your eyes will need to compensate.
Make maintenance a priority
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning alarm alerting you to an issue with your engine or another critical component. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. For people with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for somebody without hearing loss.
Pay close attention to other vehicles around you
This is a no-brainer for everybody but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. You might not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should too. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual hints 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 good driver even if your hearing is not what it once was because most likely your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling worried about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you better your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Give us a call right away to schedule your hearing exam and explore hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.