Many older people have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits differ among individuals.
While hearing loss is a component to consider when driving a vehicle, a competent driver remains capable even if they need to adjust the volume on the radio.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for those planning regular commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a hazardous driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most 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 definite connection between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work overtime fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day tasks. It has a detrimental effect on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Driving is definitely out of the question for someone with dementia.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving demands robust observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive with hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates around 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Driving with hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still stay 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. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
Be a more aware driver
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 let you focus your listening on driving without distractions. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Remember to check 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 need to pick up the slack.
Make maintenance a priority
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning alarm alerting you to an issue with your engine or another critical component. That is a significant safety hazard, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. That’s a good plan for most people but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you may be missing something. If you see other cars pulling off the road, you should do that as well because you might have missed the sirens. watch to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get hints on what you may not be hearing.
Can you drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a safe driver even if your hearing isn’t what it once was because most likely your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling worried about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you better your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Give us a call today to schedule your hearing test and explore hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.