Hearing loss is a common challenge for older people, but does it warrant quitting driving? Driving habits vary amongst different people so the response isn’t straightforward.
While hearing loss is a factor to think about when driving a vehicle, a seasoned driver is still proficient even if they have to lower the radio volume.
For people who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss presents 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 decide to just ignore your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a distinct link between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work overtime fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day activities. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. Someone suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be noted that safe driving demands good observational skills including auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that about 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good number 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.
Stop putting off
Visit us, have your hearing tested, and consider how hearing aids can help things for you. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
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.
Don’t let it get too loud in your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off and ask your passengers to keep the chit-chat 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 noise that tells you that your turn signal is on. You will have to depend on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get in the habit of checking your dashboard to see what your car is attempting to tell you.
Make maintenance a priority
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning alarm telling you there is a problem with your engine or another crucial component. Have your car serviced routinely so you can prevent this major safety hazard. That’s a smart plan for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Pay close attention to other vehicles around you
This is a no-brainer for everyone but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. If you see other cars pulling off the road, you should do that as well because you may have missed the sirens. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
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 is not what it used to be 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 better your quality of life by exploring the hearing options that will be suited to your distinctive hearing situation.