Lots of older individuals have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? The response isn’t straightforward, 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 competent driver has to quit driving.
For individuals who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss poses a threat while driving is an important consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a hazardous driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become progressively more unsafe.
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 has a detrimental effect on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. A person suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
Driving requires strong observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive if you have hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that around 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.
Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and use these tips.
Stop putting off
Come in to see us for a hearing test and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. Hearing aids can help eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
Be a more aware driver
You will still need to be observant about what’s happening around your vehicle even if you have hearing aids.
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
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. For example, you won’t hear that clicking sound that tells you that your turn signal is on. You will have to rely on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get in the habit of checking your dashboard to see what your car is trying 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 an issue with your engine or another crucial component. Get your car serviced routinely so you can avoid this major safety risk. For individuals with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for someone without hearing loss.
Pay close attention to other vehicles around you
Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you might be missing something. If you see other cars pulling to the side of the road, you should do that also because you may have missed the sirens. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive when you have hearing loss? It’s really a personal choice. It is possible to be a safe driver even if your hearing isn’t what it used to be because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. If the thought of this makes you uneasy, though, then it’s time to consult us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Give us a call right away to schedule your hearing exam and investigate hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.