Many older people have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? Driving habits vary amongst different individuals so the response isn’t clear-cut.
While hearing loss is a factor to consider when operating a vehicle, a skilled driver is still capable even if they need to lower the radio volume.
For individuals who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is a significant consideration. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly hazardous.
There is a strong connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work overtime struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other everyday activities. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. Driving is definitely out of the question for somebody with dementia.
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. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates around 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.
Driving with hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still continue to be 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 situation. Hearing aids can help eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
Be a more aware driver
Even if you have hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to make sure you aren’t missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will let you focus your listening on driving without being 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 mount up when you drive with hearing loss. You may not be able to hear that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for example. So regularly check your dashboard because your eyes will need to compensate.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Perhaps your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. Have your car serviced routinely so you can avoid this major safety risk. That’s a good plan for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Pay attention to other vehicles around you
Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you might be missing something. If you see other cars pulling to the side of the road, you should do that also because you may have missed the sirens. watch to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get hints on what you might not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing is not what it once was because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by investigating the hearing solutions that will be suited to your distinctive hearing situation.