Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older individuals, but does it require giving up driving? Driving habits vary amongst different people so the response isn’t straightforward.
While hearing loss is a factor to consider when driving a vehicle, a seasoned driver remains capable even if they need to lower the volume on the radio.
Whether hearing loss poses a risk while driving is an important consideration for those planning daily commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
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 your brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It has a negative impact on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. A person suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving demands good 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.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still stay safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Visit us, get a hearing test, and consider how hearing aids can help things for you. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
Be a more aware driver
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to make sure you’re not missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Don’t let it get too noisy in your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. For instance, you won’t hear that clicking noise that lets you know that your turn signal is blinking. So routinely look at your dashboard because your eyes will have to pick up the slack.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning alarm telling you there is an issue with your engine or another crucial component. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. That’s a good 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. You may not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should too. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will normally adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. 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 options that will be suitable for your distinctive hearing situation.