Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older people, but does it require giving up driving? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits differ among individuals.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver has to stop driving.
For people who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss poses a threat while driving is a significant consideration. Is your driving becoming unsafe because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a huge impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you choose to simply dismiss your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a definite link between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work overtime fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day tasks. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. Somebody suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
Should you drive if you have hearing loss?
Driving demands robust 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 have hearing loss, the majority of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still stay safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Come in to see us for a hearing test and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. Hearing aids can help eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more aware
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to ensure you aren’t missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Don’t let it get too noisy in your car
This will allow you to focus your listening on driving without distractions. Ask your passengers to chat more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. For instance, you will no longer hear that clicking sound that tells you that your turn signal is on. You will have to depend on your eyes to compensate, so get in the habit of checking your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell alerting you to a problem with your engine or another critical component. That is a significant safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. That’s a good idea for most individuals 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. You might not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should too. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. Your other senses will typically 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 worried about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Contact us today to schedule your hearing exam and explore hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.