Lots of older individuals have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits differ 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 critical consideration for those planning regular commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a dangerous driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become progressively more hazardous.
There is a strong link 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 has a negative effect on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Driving is definitely off the table for somebody with dementia.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving requires good 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, the majority of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and use these tips.
Visit us, get a hearing test, and think about how hearing aids can help things for you. Hearing aids can help eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more observant
Even if you have hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to make sure you aren’t missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Keep the noise down inside 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
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. For instance, you won’t hear that clicking noise that tells you that your turn signal is blinking. So regularly check your dashboard because your eyes will need to compensate.
Make maintenance a priority
Maybe your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a major safety hazard, so make a point of getting your car serviced routinely. That’s a good plan for most people but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you might be missing something. You may not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should as well. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. Your other senses will usually 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 uneasy, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a solution to improve your situation, like using hearing aids.
Give us a call today to schedule your hearing exam and investigate hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.