Lots of older individuals have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s unsafe 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 quit driving.
For people who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss poses a threat while driving is a crucial consideration. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss probably won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become increasingly dangerous.
There is a strong link 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 everyday activities. It has a detrimental effect on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Driving is definitely off the table for a person 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 strong observational skills including auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates around 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Driving with 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 condition. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
When you drive, be more aware
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant 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 help you be less 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 mount up. You may not be able to hear that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for example. You will have to depend on your eyes to compensate, so get in the habit of checking your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning alarm alerting you to a problem with your engine or another essential component. Have your car serviced routinely so you can avoid this significant safety risk. That’s a smart idea for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
This is a no-brainer for everyone but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. You might not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should too. Look 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? It’s really a personal choice. It is possible to be a safe driver even if your hearing isn’t what it used to be because most likely your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you better your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Contact us right away to schedule your hearing exam and explore hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.