Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older people, but does it merit quitting driving? Driving habits differ amongst different people so the response isn’t straightforward.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a skilled driver needs to quit driving.
For people who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss poses a threat while driving is a significant consideration. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss probably won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become progressively more unsafe.
There is a solid connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work extra hard fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day tasks. It has a negative effect on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Someone suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving requires good observational skills and this includes auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, the majority of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still continue to be safe on the road. Here are some 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 aware driver
You will still need to be aware of what’s going on 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 look at your dashboard frequently
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. For example, you will no longer 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.
Make maintenance a priority
Perhaps your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. That’s a good idea for most people but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
This is a no-brainer for everybody but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. You might 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 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 possible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you better 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 appropriate for your unique hearing situation.