Many older individuals experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s unsafe for them to drive? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits vary among individuals.
While hearing loss is a component to consider when driving a vehicle, a skilled driver is still capable even if they need to lower the radio volume.
For individuals who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss presents a threat while driving is a crucial consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a hazardous driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a substantial impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to just disregard your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a distinct link between hearing and brain health. Struggling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what individuals are saying. It has a detrimental impact on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Somebody suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving requires good observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive if you have hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates about 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.
Driving with hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still continue to be safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Come in to see us for a hearing test and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. Hearing aids can help eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
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.
Don’t let it get too loud in your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chit-chat to a minimum.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. You may not be capable of hearing that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for example. So regularly check your dashboard because your eyes will have to compensate.
Make maintenance a priority
Perhaps your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. For individuals with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for someone without hearing loss.
Pay attention to other vehicles around you
Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you might be missing something. If you see other cars pulling to the side of the road, you should do that too because you may have missed the sirens. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a good 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 by using hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you better your quality of life by investigating the hearing options that will be appropriate for your distinctive hearing situation.