Lots of older individuals have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits differ among individuals.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a skilled driver needs to stop driving.
For people who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is a crucial consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe 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 dangerous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a definite link between hearing and brain health. Battling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to comprehend what people are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. Someone suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be noted that safe driving demands good observational skills and this includes auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, the majority of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still stay safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Quit putting off
Come in to see us for a hearing exam and find out if hearing aids will help your situation. Hearing aids can help remove the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
Be a more observant driver
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to make sure you’re not missing anything in or around your vehicle.
Don’t let it get too noisy in your car
This will help you be less distracted. 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 mount up when you drive with hearing loss. You may not be able to hear that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for instance. You will have to rely on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get in the habit of checking your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Make maintenance a priority
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning alarm alerting you to an issue with your engine or another essential component. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of having your car serviced regularly. That’s a smart plan for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with 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 off the road, you should do that also because you might have missed the sirens. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing is not what it once was because most likely your other senses will help you make the adjustment. If the thought of this makes you anxious, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a solution to improve your situation, like using hearing aids.
Give us a call right away to schedule your hearing test and explore hearing aid options for your unique lifestyle.