Lots of older individuals have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? Driving habits differ amongst different individuals so the response isn’t clear-cut.
While hearing loss is a component to consider when driving a vehicle, a competent 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 probably won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become progressively more hazardous.
There is a strong connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work extra hard struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other daily activities. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. Driving is certainly off the table for someone with dementia.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be noted that safe driving demands good observational skills and this includes auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, the majority of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.
Visit us, get a hearing test, and consider how hearing aids can change things for you. Hearing aids can help remove the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more aware
Even if you have hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to ensure you’re not 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. Turn the radio off and ask your passengers to keep the chit-chat to a minimum.
Remember to look at your dashboard frequently
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. For instance, you won’t hear that clicking noise that tells you that your turn signal is blinking. 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. That is a major safety hazard, 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.
Pay attention to other vehicles around you
Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you may be missing something. You may not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should too. Look to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get hints on what you may not be hearing.
Can you drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. Your other senses will normally adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is feasible to drive safely even if your hearing has started 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.
Contact us today to schedule your hearing test and look into hearing aid solutions for your unique lifestyle.