Hearing loss is a common challenge for older individuals, but does it merit quitting driving? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits vary among individuals.
While hearing loss is a factor to consider when operating a vehicle, a competent driver remains proficient even if they need to lower the radio volume.
For individuals who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is an important consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become increasingly unsafe.
There is a strong connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work extra hard struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other daily activities. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. Driving is certainly out of the question for a person with dementia.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving requires strong 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 have hearing loss, the majority of them still drive as reported by 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.
Stop putting off
Come in to see us for a hearing exam and find out if hearing aids will help your situation. Hearing aids can help get rid of the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more observant
You will still need to be observant about what’s happening around your vehicle even if you have hearing aids.
Don’t let it get too noisy in your car
This will let you focus your listening on driving without distractions. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Remember to check your dashboard frequently
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can add up. For example, you won’t hear that clicking sound that lets you know that your turn signal is blinking. So regularly look at your dashboard because your eyes will have to compensate.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning alarm alerting you to a problem with your engine or another critical component. Have your car serviced regularly so you can prevent this major safety risk. For people with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for somebody who doesn’t have 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. If you see other cars pulling to the side of the road, you should do that as well because you might have missed the sirens. watch to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get hints on what you may not be hearing.
Can you drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a good 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 worried about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Give us a call today to schedule your hearing test and investigate hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.