Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older individuals, but does it warrant giving up driving? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits differ among individuals.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a seasoned driver needs to stop driving.
Whether hearing loss poses a risk while driving is a critical consideration for those planning everyday commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a huge impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to simply dismiss your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a definite link between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work extra hard struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day tasks. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. A person suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving demands strong observational skills and this includes auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, most of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still continue to be 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.
When you drive, be more observant
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to ensure you’re not missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Don’t let it get too noisy in 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 frequently
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. You may not be capable of hearing that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for instance. 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 are unable to hear it. Get your car serviced regularly so you can avoid this significant safety hazard. For people with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for someone without hearing loss.
Pay attention to other vehicles around you
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 may have missed the sirens. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will normally adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning to go. If the idea makes you anxious, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a solution to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you better your quality of life by investigating the hearing options that will be appropriate for your unique hearing situation.