Many older people have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s unsafe for them to drive? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits vary among individuals.
While hearing loss is a component to consider when operating a vehicle, a seasoned driver is still capable even if they have to lower the volume on the radio.
For people who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss poses a threat while driving is an important consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become progressively more hazardous.
There is a solid link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Battling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It has a negative impact on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Driving is certainly off the table for someone who has dementia.
Should you drive if you have hearing loss?
Driving requires 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 have hearing loss, the majority of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and use these tips.
Stop putting off
Visit us, get a hearing test, and consider how hearing aids can change 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 aware of what’s going on around your vehicle even if you use hearing aids.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will let you focus your listening on driving without being distracted. Ask your passengers to chat more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Learn to look at your dashboard often
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. You might not be capable of hearing that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for instance. You will have to rely on your eyes to compensate, so get used to checking your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Make maintenance a priority
Perhaps your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. That’s a smart plan for most individuals 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. If you see other cars pulling to the side of the road, you should do that too because you might have missed the sirens. watch to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get clues on what you might not be hearing.
Can you drive when you have hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. Your other senses will normally adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning to go. If the thought of this makes you nervous, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a solution to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Call us today to schedule your hearing test and explore hearing aid solutions for your unique lifestyle.