Many older people experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits vary among individuals.
While hearing loss is a component to consider when operating a vehicle, a skilled driver remains proficient even if they need to lower the volume on the radio.
For people who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss presents a threat while driving is a significant consideration. Is your driving becoming hazardous because of hearing loss?
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 choose to just disregard your decline.
There is a strong connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Battling to hear forces your 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.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving requires strong observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive if you have hearing loss. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, most of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still remain safe on the road. Here are some tips.
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 removed by using hearing aids.
When you drive, be more observant
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 let you focus your listening on driving without distractions. Ask your passengers to chat more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Learn to look at your dashboard often
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. You may not be capable of hearing that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for example. So routinely check your dashboard because your eyes will have to pick up the slack.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Perhaps your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. That is a major safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced regularly. That’s a smart plan 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 too because you may have missed the sirens. Look to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get clues on what you might not be hearing.
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 is not what it once was because most likely your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you better your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you better your quality of life by exploring the hearing solutions that will be suitable for your unique hearing situation.