Hearing loss is a common challenge for older people, but does it warrant quitting driving? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits vary among individuals.
While hearing loss is a component to consider when operating a vehicle, a skilled driver is still proficient even if they need to adjust the radio volume.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for those planning regular commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a hazardous driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss probably won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly dangerous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a distinct connection between hearing and brain health. Battling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to comprehend what people are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. A person suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
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. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, the majority of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still remain safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Quit putting off
Visit us, have your hearing tested, and consider how hearing aids can help things for you. Hearing aids can help eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more aware
You will still need to be aware of what’s happening around your vehicle even if you use hearing aids.
Don’t let it get too loud in your car
This will help you be less distracted. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Remember to check your dashboard often
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. 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 compensate.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning alarm alerting you to an issue with your engine or another crucial component. That is a significant safety hazard, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. That’s a smart idea for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you might be missing something. You may not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should too. Look to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get hints on what you might not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. Your other senses will usually adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible 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 with hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you better your quality of life by exploring the hearing solutions that will be suitable for your distinctive hearing situation.