Many older individuals experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? Driving habits differ amongst different individuals so the response isn’t straightforward.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver has to stop driving.
For people who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss poses a threat while driving is an important consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a dangerous driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are noticing hearing loss, it won’t have a huge impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you choose to just dismiss your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a definite relationship between hearing and brain health. Battling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to comprehend what people are saying. It has a negative impact on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Driving is certainly off the table for somebody who has dementia.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving demands good observational skills including auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that around 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.
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 test and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. Hearing aids can help get rid of the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more aware
Even if you have hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to ensure you’re not missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will let you focus your listening on driving without distractions. Ask your passengers to chat more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Remember to look at your dashboard often
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. For example, you won’t hear that clicking noise that lets you know that your turn signal is on. So routinely look at your dashboard because your eyes will have to pick up the slack.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning bell alerting you to a problem with your engine or another crucial component. 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 watch for signs you may 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 behavior of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a safe driver even if your hearing isn’t what it once was because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you better your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by looking at the hearing options that will be suitable for your unique hearing situation.