Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older individuals, but does it require quitting driving? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits differ among individuals.
While hearing loss is a component to think about when operating a vehicle, a seasoned driver remains capable even if they need to lower the radio volume.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is an important consideration for people planning regular commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss probably won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become increasingly dangerous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a distinct link between hearing and brain health. Struggling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It has a detrimental effect on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Driving is definitely out of the question for somebody with dementia.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving requires 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
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.
Stop putting off
Visit us, get a hearing test, and think about how hearing aids can help things for you. Hearing aids can help get rid of the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
Be a more observant driver
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to ensure you’re not missing anything in or around your vehicle.
Don’t let it get too loud in 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 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. You will have to depend on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get in the habit of scanning your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Perhaps your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. That’s a smart plan 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 may be missing something. If you see other cars pulling to the side of the road, you should do that as well because you may have missed the sirens. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing is not what it used to be because odds are 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 by using hearing aids.
Call us today to schedule your hearing test and look into hearing aid options for your unique lifestyle.