Hearing loss is a common challenge for older individuals, but does it warrant quitting driving? 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 crucial consideration for individuals planning daily commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss likely won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly unsafe.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a distinct link between hearing and brain health. Battling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what individuals are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. An individual suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
Should you drive if you have hearing loss?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be noted 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.
Quit putting off
Come in to see us for a hearing test 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 observant about what’s happening around your vehicle even if you have hearing aids.
Don’t let it get too loud in your car
This will help you be less distracted. Ask your passengers to chat 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. For example, you will no longer hear that clicking sound that lets you know that your turn signal is on. You will have to rely on your eyes to compensate, so get used to scanning your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
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 routinely. For individuals with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for someone without hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
This is a no-brainer for everybody but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. You might 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 responding to their surroundings to get hints on what you may not be hearing.
Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will typically adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is feasible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. If the idea makes you nervous, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you better your quality of life by investigating the hearing options that will be suited to your distinctive hearing situation.