Many older individuals experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? Driving habits vary amongst different individuals so the response isn’t clear-cut.
While hearing loss is a component to think about when operating a vehicle, a seasoned driver is still capable even if they need to lower 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 hazardous driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a huge impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to simply disregard your decline.
There is a strong link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Struggling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to understand what individuals are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. Driving is certainly off the table for someone with dementia.
Should you drive if you have hearing loss?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving demands strong observational skills including auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates about 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.
Driving with hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still remain safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Quit putting off
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 aware driver
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to ensure you aren’t missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
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 chit-chat to a minimum.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. For instance, you won’t hear that clicking sound that lets you know that your turn signal is blinking. So regularly look at your dashboard because your eyes will have to pick up the slack.
Make maintenance a priority
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning alarm telling you there is a problem with your engine or another critical component. That is a significant safety hazard, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. That’s a good plan for most people 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 look for signs you might be missing something. You may not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should as well. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing isn’t what it once was because most likely your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling worried 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 exploring the hearing options that will be suited to your distinctive hearing situation.