Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older people, but does it merit giving up driving? 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 is still capable even if they have to lower the radio volume.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is an important consideration for those planning daily commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming hazardous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss probably won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become increasingly dangerous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a definite relationship between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work overtime fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other daily tasks. It has a detrimental effect on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Somebody suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
Should you drive if you have hearing loss?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving demands strong observational skills and this includes auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates around 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Driving with hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and use these 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.
Be a more observant driver
You will still need to be aware of 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. Ask your passengers to chat more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Learn to check your dashboard frequently
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. You might not be capable of hearing that clicking sound 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 scanning your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning bell alerting you to an issue with your engine or another critical component. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. That’s a smart idea 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 look for signs you may be missing something. You might not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should as well. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
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 is not what it once was because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. If the idea makes you uneasy, though, then it’s time to consult us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like using hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by investigating the hearing options that will be suited to your unique hearing situation.