Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older people, but does it warrant giving up driving? Driving habits differ amongst different individuals so the response isn’t straightforward.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver has to stop driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for individuals planning regular commutes or winter road trips. 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’s neglected, driving will become increasingly unsafe.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a definite relationship 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 has a negative impact on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Driving is certainly out of the question for somebody who has 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 with hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that around 48 million Americans have substantial 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.
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 aware
You will still need to be aware of 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 or down and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. You might not be capable of hearing that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for example. You will have to depend on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get used to checking your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Make maintenance a priority
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning alarm telling you there is an issue with your engine or another critical component. Get your car serviced regularly 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. watch to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get hints on what you might not be hearing.
Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will normally adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is feasible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. If the idea makes you uneasy, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like using hearing aids.
Call us right away to schedule your hearing exam and look into hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.