Many older individuals have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits vary among individuals.
While hearing loss is a factor to think about when driving a vehicle, a seasoned driver is still capable even if they need to lower the volume on the radio.
For people who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss poses a threat while driving is a significant consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a dangerous driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly unsafe.
There is a solid connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work overtime fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day tasks. It has a detrimental effect on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Driving is certainly out of the question for a person with dementia.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
Driving demands robust 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 estimates around 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.
Driving with hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.
Come in to see us for a hearing exam and find out if hearing aids will help your situation. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
Be a more observant 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. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Learn to check your dashboard frequently
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can add up. You might not be capable of hearing that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for instance. So routinely check your dashboard because your eyes will have to pick up the slack.
Make maintenance a priority
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell telling you there is a problem with your engine or another crucial component. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced routinely. For people with hearing loss, this is important, 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 may 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 clues 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 feasible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by looking at the hearing options that will be suitable for your unique hearing situation.