Lots of older individuals have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? Driving habits differ amongst different people so the response isn’t straightforward.
While hearing loss is a component to think about when driving a vehicle, a skilled driver is still capable even if they have to adjust the radio volume.
For people who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss presents a threat while driving is an important consideration. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss probably won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly hazardous.
There is a solid connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Battling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. Driving is definitely off the table 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 about 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With a few 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 situation. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
When you drive, be more aware
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 noisy in your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Remember to check your dashboard frequently
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. You may not be capable of hearing that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for instance. You will have to depend on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get in the habit of scanning your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Maybe your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. Get your car serviced regularly so you can prevent this major safety risk. For people with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for someone who doesn’t have 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. 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. Look to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get hints on what you might not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. 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 thought of this makes you nervous, though, then it’s time to consult us and find a solution to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Give us a call right away to schedule your hearing test and investigate hearing aid options for your unique lifestyle.