Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older people, but does it require quitting driving? Driving habits vary amongst different individuals so the response isn’t straightforward.
While hearing loss is a factor to think about when driving a vehicle, a seasoned driver is still capable even if they have to lower the radio volume.
For individuals who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss presents a threat while driving is a crucial consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a significant impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to just dismiss your decline.
There is a strong connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Battling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It has a detrimental impact on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Someone suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving demands good 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.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still remain safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Visit us, have your hearing tested, and consider how hearing aids can change things for you. Hearing aids can help remove 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 going on around your vehicle even if you use 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 chit-chat to a minimum.
Learn to check your dashboard often
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. For instance, you won’t hear that clicking noise that lets you know that your turn signal is blinking. You will have to rely 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.
Make maintenance a priority
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning bell telling you there is an issue with your engine or another crucial component. That is a major safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced regularly. That’s a good plan 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 look for signs you may be missing something. 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.
Can you drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing isn’t what it used to be because most likely your other senses will help you make the adjustment. 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.
Call us right away to schedule your hearing exam and investigate hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.