Hearing loss is a common challenge for older people, but does it require giving up driving? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits vary among individuals.
While hearing loss is a factor to consider when operating a vehicle, a seasoned driver is still proficient even if they need to lower the volume on the radio.
For people who commute on a regular basis 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 most likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly unsafe.
There is a strong link 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 individuals are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to 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 if you have hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that about 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.
Stop putting off
Visit us, get a hearing test, and think about how hearing aids can help things for you. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
Be a more observant driver
You will still need to be aware of what’s going on around your vehicle even if you have hearing aids.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will help you be less distracted. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Remember to check your dashboard often
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. For instance, you will no longer hear that clicking noise that tells you that your turn signal is on. So routinely check your dashboard because your eyes will need to compensate.
Make maintenance a priority
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell telling you there is a problem with your engine or another critical component. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. For individuals with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for someone who doesn’t have hearing loss.
Pay close 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. You may not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should as well. watch to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get clues on what you might not be hearing.
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 isn’t what it once was because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you better your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you better your quality of life by investigating the hearing solutions that will be suitable for your unique hearing situation.