Hearing loss is a common challenge for older people, but does it warrant giving up driving? Driving habits vary amongst different individuals so the response isn’t clear-cut.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver has to stop driving.
For people who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss poses a threat while driving is a crucial consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a significant impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to just dismiss your decline.
There is a strong connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Struggling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to comprehend what individuals are saying. It has a negative effect on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Driving is certainly out of the question for a person with dementia.
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 demands good observational skills including auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, the majority of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.
Come in to see us for a hearing test and find out if hearing aids will help your situation. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
Be a more observant driver
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to make sure you aren’t missing anything in or around your vehicle.
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.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. For instance, you will no longer hear that clicking sound that tells you that your turn signal is on. You will have to rely on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get used to checking your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
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 major safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced regularly. For people with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for somebody without 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 as well 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? It’s really a personal decision. It is possible to be a safe 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 thought of this makes you nervous, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Give us a call right away to schedule your hearing exam and investigate hearing aid options for your unique lifestyle.