Many older individuals have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits differ among individuals.
While hearing loss is a factor to consider when driving a vehicle, a seasoned driver remains capable even if they need to lower the volume on the radio.
For people who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss presents a threat while driving is a significant consideration. Is your driving becoming unsafe 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 increasingly dangerous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a distinct link between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work overtime struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day activities. It has a negative impact on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Driving is certainly out of the question for someone with dementia.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving demands good observational skills including auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, most 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.
Come in to see us for a hearing test and find out if hearing aids will help your situation. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated 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 ensure you aren’t missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Don’t let it get too noisy 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 frequently
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. For instance, you will no longer hear that clicking noise that tells you that your turn signal is on. You will have to depend on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get used to scanning your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Make maintenance a priority
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning alarm alerting you to a problem with your engine or another critical component. Get your car serviced routinely so you can avoid this major safety hazard. That’s a smart plan for most people but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Pay close attention to other vehicles around you
Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you may be missing something. If you see other cars pulling off the road, you should do that also because you might have missed the sirens. 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 choice. Your other senses will normally adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is feasible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning 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 by using hearing aids.
Contact us today to schedule your hearing exam and look into hearing aid solutions for your unique lifestyle.