Many older individuals experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s unsafe for them to drive? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits differ among individuals.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a skilled driver needs to quit driving.
For individuals who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is a crucial consideration. Is your driving becoming unsafe because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a significant impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to just ignore your decline.
There is a strong connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work extra hard struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other daily activities. It has a detrimental effect on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. A person suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving demands good observational skills and this includes auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that around 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.
Driving with hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still stay safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Come in to see us for a hearing test and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
Be a more aware driver
Even if you have hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to make sure you’re not missing anything in or around your vehicle.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will help you be less distracted. Ask your passengers to chat more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Learn to look at your dashboard frequently
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can add up. For example, you will no longer hear that clicking noise that lets you know that your turn signal is on. You will have to depend on your eyes to compensate, so get used to checking your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning bell telling you there is a problem with your engine or another critical component. That is a major safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. That’s a smart idea for most people but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you might be missing something. You might not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should too. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
Can you 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 is beginning to go. If the idea makes you anxious, though, then it’s time to consult us and find a solution to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Contact us today to schedule your hearing test and look into hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.