Hearing loss is a common challenge for older people, but does it warrant giving up driving? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits differ among individuals.
Even if some adjustments have 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 creates a threat while driving is an important consideration. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become increasingly hazardous.
There is a strong connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work overtime fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other daily tasks. It has a detrimental effect 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?
Driving demands 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 as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Tips for driving if you have hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still remain safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Stop putting off
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 eliminated by using hearing aids.
Be a more aware driver
You will still need to be observant about what’s going on around your vehicle even if you use hearing aids.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. For example, you won’t hear that clicking sound that lets you know that your turn signal is blinking. So routinely check your dashboard because your eyes will need to compensate.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Perhaps your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. Get your car serviced regularly so you can prevent this significant safety hazard. That’s a good plan for most people but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
This is a no-brainer for everybody 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 off to the side, you should too. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. 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 worried about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you better your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Contact us right away to schedule your hearing test and investigate hearing aid solutions for your unique lifestyle.