Hearing loss is a common challenge for older individuals, but does it merit giving up driving? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits differ among individuals.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a seasoned driver has to quit driving.
For people who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is a crucial 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 disregard your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a distinct relationship between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work extra hard fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other everyday activities. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. An individual suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
Driving demands robust observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive with hearing loss. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, the majority of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still continue to be safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Come in to see us for a hearing exam and find out if hearing aids will help your situation. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
When you drive, be more aware
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to ensure you’re not missing anything in or around your vehicle.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will let you focus your listening on driving without distractions. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chit-chat to a minimum.
Learn to check your dashboard frequently
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can add up. For example, you will no longer hear that clicking noise that tells you that your turn signal is blinking. You will have to rely on your eyes to compensate, so get in the habit of scanning your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Maybe your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. Get your car serviced routinely so you can avoid 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. You might not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should as well. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal choice. Your other senses will typically adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. But if you’re feeling worried about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Call us right away to schedule your hearing test and explore hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.