Lots of older people experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? Driving habits differ amongst different people so the response isn’t clear-cut.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver needs to quit driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a critical consideration for individuals planning everyday 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 effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become progressively more hazardous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a distinct relationship between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work extra hard fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day tasks. It has a detrimental effect on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. A person suffering from dementia certainly 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 with hearing loss. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, the majority of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
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
Come in to see us for a hearing exam and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
Be a more aware 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 let you focus your listening on driving without distractions. 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 add up. You may not be capable of hearing that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for example. So routinely check your dashboard because your eyes will need to compensate.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Perhaps your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of having your car serviced regularly. That’s a smart plan for most individuals 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. You may not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should too. watch to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get hints on what you might not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? It’s really a personal choice. Your other senses will usually 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 nervous, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a solution to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Call us today to schedule your hearing exam and investigate hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.