Lots of older people experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? Driving habits vary amongst different individuals so the response isn’t straightforward.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver has to quit driving.
For individuals who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is an important consideration. 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 goes untreated, 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 is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. Driving is definitely out of the question for a person who has dementia.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving demands robust 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.
Driving with hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still continue to be safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Come in to see us for a hearing exam and find out if hearing aids will help your situation. Hearing aids can help get rid of the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more observant
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to make sure you’re not missing anything in or around your vehicle.
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.
Remember to check your dashboard frequently
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. You might not be capable of hearing that clicking sound 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
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell alerting you to an issue with your engine or another crucial component. Have your car serviced regularly so you can avoid this significant safety risk. That’s a smart idea for most people 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 also because you might have missed the sirens. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing isn’t what it used to be because most likely your other senses will help you make the adjustment. If the idea makes you anxious, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a solution to improve your situation, like using hearing aids.
Contact us today to schedule your hearing exam and explore hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.