Many older individuals have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? Driving habits differ amongst different individuals so the response isn’t clear-cut.
While hearing loss is a component to think about when driving a vehicle, a seasoned driver is still capable even if they need to adjust the volume on the radio.
For people who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss presents a threat while driving is an important consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a hazardous driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become progressively more hazardous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a definite link between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work overtime struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other daily activities. It has a detrimental impact on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Driving is certainly off the table for someone who has dementia.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be noted that safe driving requires strong observational skills and this includes auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, most of them still drive as reported by 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, have your hearing tested, and consider how hearing aids can help things for you. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
When you drive, be more observant
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to make sure you’re not missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will allow you to focus your listening on driving without distractions. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Remember to look at your dashboard often
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can add up. You might not be capable of hearing that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for instance. So regularly check your dashboard because your eyes will need to compensate.
Make maintenance a priority
Perhaps your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. For individuals with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for someone 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. If you see other cars pulling off the road, you should do that as well because you might have missed the sirens. Look to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get clues on what you might not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will normally adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is feasible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. If the idea makes you uneasy, though, then it’s time to consult us and find a solution to improve your situation, like wearing 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.