Many older people have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits differ among individuals.
While hearing loss is a factor to think about when operating a vehicle, a competent driver is still capable even if they have to adjust the radio volume.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a critical consideration for individuals planning regular commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a dangerous driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a huge impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to just dismiss your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a distinct connection between hearing and brain health. 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 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 good observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive with hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that around 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good number 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 test and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. 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.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will allow you to focus your listening on driving without being distracted. Turn the radio off and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can add up. For example, you will no longer hear that clicking noise that tells you that your turn signal is blinking. So routinely look at your dashboard because your eyes will need to pick up the slack.
Make maintenance a priority
Perhaps your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. For people with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for someone without 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. You may not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should too. watch to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get clues on what you might not be hearing.
Can you drive when you have 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. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by looking at the hearing options that will be suitable for your unique hearing situation.