Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older individuals, but does it require giving up driving? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits vary among individuals.
While hearing loss is a factor to think about when operating a vehicle, a seasoned driver is still proficient even if they have to adjust the volume on the radio.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for those planning daily commutes or winter road trips. 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 just disregard your decline.
There is a solid connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work overtime struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other everyday tasks. It has a negative effect on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Driving is certainly out of the question for someone who has dementia.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
Driving demands strong observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive with hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates around 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and use these tips.
Come in to see us for a hearing exam and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
Be a more observant driver
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to ensure you aren’t missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Don’t let it get too noisy in your car
This will let you focus your listening on driving without being distracted. Ask your passengers to chat more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Learn to check your dashboard often
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can add up. For example, you won’t hear that clicking sound that lets you know that your turn signal is on. So regularly check your dashboard because your eyes will have to compensate.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell alerting you to a problem with your engine or another essential component. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced routinely. For individuals with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for someone without 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. If you see other cars pulling off the road, you should do that also because you may have missed the sirens. watch to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get clues on what you might not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. Your other senses will usually adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is feasible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning to go. But if you’re feeling worried about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Contact us right away to schedule your hearing exam and look into hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.