Lots of older people experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? Driving habits vary amongst different people so the response isn’t clear-cut.
While hearing loss is a component to consider when operating a vehicle, a skilled driver is still capable even if they need to adjust the radio volume.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a critical consideration for individuals planning daily commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss probably won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become increasingly hazardous.
There is a strong link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work extra hard struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day tasks. It has a detrimental effect on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Driving is certainly out of the question for someone who has dementia.
Should you drive if you have hearing loss?
Driving demands good observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive if you have hearing loss. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, most of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still continue to be safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Visit us, get a hearing test, and consider how hearing aids can help things for you. Hearing aids can help remove the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
Be a more observant driver
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 allow you to focus your listening on driving without distractions. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
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 example. So routinely look at your dashboard because your eyes will need to compensate.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Perhaps your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a significant safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. That’s a smart idea for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
This is a no-brainer for everyone 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 also because you might have missed the sirens. watch to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get clues on what you may not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. It is possible to be a safe driver even if your hearing is not what it used to be because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Give us a call right away to schedule your hearing test and investigate hearing aid solutions for your unique lifestyle.