Many older people have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? Driving habits vary amongst different individuals so the response isn’t straightforward.
While hearing loss is a factor to consider when driving a vehicle, a skilled driver remains proficient even if they have to lower the radio volume.
For individuals who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss poses a threat while driving is an important consideration. Is your driving becoming hazardous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become increasingly unsafe.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a distinct connection between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work overtime fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other everyday tasks. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. Someone suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving demands good observational skills including auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that around 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Guidelines for driving if you have 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 change things for you. Hearing aids can help remove the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
Be a more observant driver
You will still need to be aware of what’s happening around your vehicle even if you have hearing aids.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will allow you to focus your listening on driving without distractions. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chit-chat 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. You may not be able to hear that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for instance. So regularly look at your dashboard because your eyes will need to pick up the slack.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Maybe your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced routinely. For individuals with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for someone without hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you might be missing something. If you see other cars pulling off the road, you should do that as well because you may have missed the sirens. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual clues 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 feasible 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 solution to improve your situation, like using hearing aids.
Contact us today to schedule your hearing exam and look into hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.