Lots of older people have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? Driving habits differ amongst different individuals so the response isn’t straightforward.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver has to quit driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is an important consideration for individuals planning regular commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a dangerous driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss probably won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly unsafe.
There is a strong link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work extra hard fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day activities. It has a detrimental impact on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Someone suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be noted that safe driving requires strong observational skills and this includes auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates around 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.
Stop putting off
Visit us, get a hearing test, and think about how hearing aids can help things for you. Hearing aids can help get rid of the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more aware
You will still need to be observant about 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 being distracted. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. For instance, you will no longer hear that clicking noise that tells you that your turn signal is blinking. You will have to rely on your eyes to compensate, so get used to scanning your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Make maintenance a priority
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell telling you there is a problem with your engine or another critical component. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of getting 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 everyone but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. 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 hints 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 normally adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning to go. If the thought of this makes you anxious, though, then it’s time to consult us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Give us a call right away to schedule your hearing exam and explore hearing aid solutions for your unique lifestyle.