Lots of older individuals experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? Driving habits differ amongst different individuals so the response isn’t clear-cut.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver needs to stop driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is an important consideration for people planning everyday commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming unsafe because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a substantial impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you choose to just ignore your decline.
There is a solid link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work extra hard fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other everyday activities. 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 a person with dementia.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving requires robust 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 have hearing loss, most of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still stay safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Quit putting off
Visit us, get a hearing test, and think about how hearing aids can help things for you. 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 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. Turn the radio off or down 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 noise that your turn signal makes, for instance. You will have to rely on your eyes to compensate, so get in the habit of scanning your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Perhaps your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. For people with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for someone without hearing loss.
Pay attention to other vehicles around you
This is a no-brainer for everybody but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. If you see other cars pulling off the road, you should do that as well because you might have missed the sirens. Use the actions 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. Your other senses will typically 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 nervous, though, then it’s time to consult us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by investigating the hearing options that will be appropriate for your distinctive hearing situation.