Hearing loss is a common challenge for older individuals, but does it require giving up driving? Driving habits vary amongst different individuals so the response isn’t straightforward.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a skilled driver needs to stop driving.
For people who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is an important consideration. Is your driving becoming hazardous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a substantial impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you choose to just dismiss 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 activities. It has a detrimental effect on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. A person suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving requires robust observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive if you have hearing loss. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, the majority of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still stay safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Visit us, have your hearing tested, and think about how hearing aids can help things for you. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
Be a more aware driver
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to make sure you’re not missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Don’t let it get too loud in your car
This will let you focus your listening on driving without being distracted. Ask your passengers to chat more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can add up. For instance, you won’t hear that clicking sound that tells you that your turn signal is blinking. You will have to rely on your eyes to compensate, so get used to checking your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Perhaps your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. 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
Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you might be missing something. If you see other cars pulling to the side of the road, you should do that as well because you may have missed the sirens. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual clues 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. If the idea makes you uneasy, though, then it’s time to consult 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 looking at the hearing options that will be appropriate for your unique hearing situation.