Many older individuals 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 clear-cut.
While hearing loss is a factor to consider when driving a vehicle, a seasoned driver is still capable even if they have to adjust the radio volume.
For people who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is a significant consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss probably won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become progressively more hazardous.
There is a solid connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work overtime fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other daily activities. It has a negative impact on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. An individual suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
Driving requires strong observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive if you have hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates about 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, have your hearing tested, and think about how hearing aids can change things for you. Hearing aids can help get rid of 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 aware driver to ensure you aren’t missing anything in or around your vehicle.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will allow you to focus your listening on driving without distractions. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Remember to look at your dashboard frequently
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. You might not be able to hear that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for instance. You will have to rely on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get in the habit of scanning your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning bell alerting you to a problem with your engine or another critical component. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of having your car serviced regularly. For individuals with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for somebody who doesn’t have hearing loss.
Pay close attention to other vehicles around you
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 example, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should too. 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. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing is not what it once was because most likely your other senses will help you make the adjustment. If the idea 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 exploring the hearing solutions that will be suited to your unique hearing situation.