Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older people, but does it warrant giving up driving? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits vary among individuals.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver needs to quit driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a critical consideration for those planning everyday commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming unsafe because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a significant impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you choose to just ignore your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a distinct connection between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work extra hard struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other everyday tasks. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. An individual suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving demands good 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, most of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.
Quit putting off
Come in to see us for a hearing exam 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 aware
You will still need to be observant about what’s going on around your vehicle even if you use hearing aids.
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 often
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. For instance, you won’t hear that clicking sound that tells you that your turn signal is blinking. So routinely look at your dashboard because your eyes will need to compensate.
Make maintenance a priority
Perhaps your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. Get your car serviced routinely so you can avoid this significant safety risk. That’s a smart plan for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you might be missing something. You might not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should too. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will typically adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is feasible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning to go. If the thought of this makes you anxious, though, then it’s time to consult us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by exploring the hearing solutions that will be suitable for your distinctive hearing situation.