Keep your eyes on the road. Obviously, it’s good advice, but it doesn’t speak to your other senses. Your ears, for instance, are doing a ton of work when you’re driving, helping you monitor other vehicles, calling your attention to info on your dashboard, and keeping you connected with the other individuals in your vehicle.
So the way you drive can change if you’re going through hearing impairment. That’s not to say your driving will come to be excessively dangerous. With regards to safety, inexperience and distracted driving are far bigger liabilities. That said, those with decreased hearing need to take some specific safeguards to remain as safe as possible.
Establishing good driving habits can go a long way to help you remain a safe driver even if hearing impairment may be affecting your situational awareness.
How your driving may be effected by hearing loss
Vision is the main sense used when driving. Even if you have total hearing loss, your driving may change but you will still probably be able to drive. After all, you use your hearing a great deal while you’re driving. Some prevalent examples include:
- Even though many vehicles are engineered to decrease road noise, your sense of hearing can add to your awareness of other vehicles. For instance, you will normally be able to hear a large truck coming your way.
- Other motorists will often use their horns to make you aware of their presence. If you fail to see the light turn to green, for example, or you begin to wander into the other lane, a horn can get your attention before it becomes an issue.
- If has any damage, your sense of hearing can alert you to it. For instance, if you run over an obstruction in the road or a rock hits your windshield.
- Audible alerts will sound when your vehicle is trying to alert you to something, such as an unbuckled seat belt or an open door.
- You can usually hear emergency vehicles before you see them.
All of these audio cues can help develop your total situational awareness. You could start to miss more and more of these audio cues as your hearing loss progresses. But you can take some positive measures to keep your driving as safe as possible.
New safe driving habits to develop
If you’re dealing with hearing loss and you want to keep driving, that’s fine! Stay safe out on the road using these tips:
- Keep your phone out of reach: Well, this is wise advice whether you have hearing loss or not. One of the leading causes of distracted driving, nowadays, is cellphones. And when you have hearing loss that distraction is at least doubled. Keeping your phone stowed can, simply, keep you safer–and save your life.
- Keep an eye on your dash lights.: Typically, when you need to pay attention to your instrument panel, your vehicle will beep or make some other sound. So regularly look down to see if any dash lights are on.
- Minimize in-car noises: Hearing loss is going to make it difficult for your ears to separate sounds. When the wind is howling and your passenger is talking, it might become easy for your ears to get overwhelmed, which can cause fatigue and distraction. So roll up your window, turn down the music, and keep conversations to a minimum while driving.
- Pay extra attention to your mirrors: You may not be able to hear an ambulance pull up behind you–even with all those sirens going. So be vigilant about checking your mirrors. And generally try to keep an elevated awareness for emergency vehicles.
Keeping your hearing aid ready for the road
If you are dealing with hearing loss, driving is one of those scenarios where having a hearing aid can really come in handy. And when you’re driving, utilize these tips to make your hearing aids a real asset:
- Have us program a driving setting for you: We can program a car setting into your hearing aid if you drive a lot. This setting will be adjusted for the interior space and setup of your vehicle (where, normally, your conversation partner is beside and not in front of you), making your drive easier and more pleasant.
- Use your hearing aid every time you drive: It won’t help you if you don’t wear it! So every time you drive, be sure you’re wearing your hearing aids. This will also help your brain acclimate to the sounds your hearing aid sends into your ears.
- Keep your hearing aids clean, updated, and charged: You don’t want your hearing aid batteries to die right in the middle of a drive to the store. That can distract you and may even lead to a dangerous situation. So keep your batteries charged and ensure everything’s working properly.
Lots of individuals with hearing loss continue to drive and hearing aids make the process safer and easier. Developing safer driving habits can help ensure that your drive is enjoyable and that your eyes stay safely on the road.