Many older individuals experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s unsafe for them to drive? Driving habits vary amongst different people so the response isn’t clear-cut.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver needs to quit driving.
For people who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is an important consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a dangerous driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss probably won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become increasingly hazardous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a definite link between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work overtime fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other daily activities. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. Driving is definitely out of the question for somebody with dementia.
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 and this includes auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, the majority of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Tips for driving if you have 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 change things for you. Hearing aids can help eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more aware
You will still need to be aware of what’s going on around your vehicle even if you have hearing aids.
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 chit-chat to a minimum.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. You might not be able to hear that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for example. You will have to rely on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get used to scanning your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning bell telling you there is an issue with your engine or another critical component. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of having your car serviced regularly. That’s a smart 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 look for signs you may be missing something. If you see other cars pulling to the side of the road, you should do that also because you might have missed the sirens. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. 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. But if you’re feeling worried about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Give us a call right away to schedule your hearing exam and look into hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.