Hearing loss is a common challenge for older people, but does it require quitting driving? Driving habits differ amongst different people so the response isn’t clear-cut.
While hearing loss is a component to consider when operating a vehicle, a seasoned driver is still proficient even if they have to adjust the radio volume.
Whether hearing loss poses a risk while driving is an important consideration for people planning everyday commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a significant impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to just disregard your decline.
There is a strong connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work overtime struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other everyday tasks. It has a detrimental impact on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Driving is definitely out of the question for someone with dementia.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be noted that safe driving demands strong observational skills including auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, most of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still continue to be safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Quit putting off
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.
Be a more observant driver
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to ensure you’re not missing anything in or around your vehicle.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will allow you to focus your listening on driving without being distracted. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chit-chat to a minimum.
Remember to look at your dashboard often
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. You may not be able to hear that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for example. You will have to rely on your eyes to compensate, so get in the habit of scanning your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Maybe your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. Get your car serviced routinely so you can avoid this significant safety risk. For individuals with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for someone without hearing loss.
Pay attention to other vehicles around you
Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you may be missing something. You may not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should as well. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal choice. Your other senses will normally adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. If the idea makes you uneasy, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like using hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by investigating the hearing solutions that will be suited to your distinctive hearing situation.
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