Hearing loss is a common challenge for older individuals, but does it require quitting driving? 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 stop driving.
Whether hearing loss poses a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for individuals planning daily commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a hazardous driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a huge impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to simply disregard your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a definite connection between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work extra hard fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other everyday activities. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. A person suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving requires strong observational skills and this includes auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, the majority of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
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 condition. Hearing aids can help eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more aware
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to ensure you’re not missing anything in or around your vehicle.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chit-chat to a minimum.
Learn to look at your dashboard frequently
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. You may not be capable of hearing that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for instance. So routinely check your dashboard because your eyes will need to pick up the slack.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell telling you there is an issue with your engine or another critical component. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. For people with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for someone 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. You may not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should as well. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing is not what it used to be because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. If the thought of this makes you uneasy, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a solution to improve your situation, like using hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by exploring the hearing solutions that will be suited to your distinctive hearing situation.