Lots of older people have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s unsafe 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 skilled driver needs to stop driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for people planning daily commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming unsafe because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly dangerous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a definite relationship between hearing and brain health. Battling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what individuals are saying. It has a negative impact on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Someone suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving demands 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 around 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still remain safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Come in to see us for a hearing test and find out if hearing aids will help your situation. Hearing aids can help remove 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 use hearing aids.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will let you 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
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. So routinely check 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 anymore or the warning alarm telling you there is an issue with your engine or another essential component. That is a major 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.
Pay attention to other vehicles around you
This is a no-brainer for everybody but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. If you see other cars pulling to the side of 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 possible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning to go. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you better your quality of life by investigating the hearing solutions that will be suited to your distinctive hearing situation.