Hearing loss is a common challenge for older people, but does it merit quitting driving? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits differ among individuals.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a seasoned driver has to quit driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for those planning everyday commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming hazardous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a substantial impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you choose to simply dismiss your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a distinct connection between hearing and brain health. Struggling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to comprehend what individuals are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. Driving is definitely off the table for somebody with dementia.
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 including auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, most of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.
Stop putting off
Come in to see us for a hearing test and find out if hearing aids will help your situation. Hearing aids can help get rid of the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
Be a more observant driver
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to make sure you’re not missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
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.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can add up. You may not be able to hear that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for example. You will have to depend on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get in the habit of checking your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning alarm alerting you to a problem with your engine or another crucial component. Have your car serviced routinely so you can prevent this significant safety hazard. For individuals with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for somebody without hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you may be missing something. You might not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should as well. Look to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get clues on what you may not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will usually 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, make an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by investigating the hearing solutions that will be suitable for your unique hearing situation.