Lots of older people experience 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.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a seasoned driver needs to quit driving.
For people who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss presents a threat while driving is a crucial consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a substantial impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you choose to simply disregard your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a definite relationship between hearing and brain health. Struggling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to understand what individuals are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. Someone suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
Driving requires good observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive with hearing loss. 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.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.
Quit putting off
Visit us, have your hearing tested, and consider how hearing aids can help things for you. Hearing aids can help remove the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
Be a more observant driver
You will still need to be observant about what’s happening around your vehicle even if you use hearing aids.
Don’t let it get too noisy in your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Learn to check your dashboard often
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. You may not be capable of hearing that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for instance. So regularly 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. 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 somebody who doesn’t have 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 might not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should too. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will typically adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning to go. If the thought of this makes you uneasy, though, then it’s time to consult us and find a solution to improve your situation, like using hearing aids.
Give us a call right away to schedule your hearing test and investigate hearing aid solutions for your unique lifestyle.