Many older people have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? Driving habits differ amongst different individuals so the response isn’t straightforward.
While hearing loss is a factor to consider when operating a vehicle, a competent driver remains capable even if they have to lower the volume on the radio.
For individuals who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is a crucial consideration. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become increasingly dangerous.
There is a strong connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work overtime fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other everyday tasks. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. Driving is definitely off the table for a person with dementia.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
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. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that around 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Driving with hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.
Stop putting off
Come in to see us for a hearing exam and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
Be a more aware 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 help you be less distracted. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Learn to check your dashboard frequently
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. 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 pick up the slack.
Make maintenance a priority
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning alarm alerting you to an issue with your engine or another critical component. Get your car serviced regularly so you can avoid this significant safety risk. That’s a smart idea for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Pay close attention to other vehicles around you
This is a no-brainer for everybody but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. You may not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should too. watch to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get clues on what you may not be hearing.
Can you drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. 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. But if you’re feeling worried about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Contact us right away to schedule your hearing exam and explore hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.