Lots of older individuals experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s hazardous for them to drive? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits differ among individuals.
While hearing loss is a component to consider when driving a vehicle, a seasoned driver is still capable even if they need to lower the volume on the radio.
Whether hearing loss poses a risk while driving is an important consideration for those planning regular commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming hazardous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become progressively more dangerous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a distinct link between hearing and brain health. Struggling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It has a negative effect on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Driving is definitely off the table for a person who has dementia.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be noted that safe driving requires good observational skills including auditory awareness. 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
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.
Visit us, get a hearing test, and think about how hearing aids can change things for you. Hearing aids can help eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more observant
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to make sure you aren’t missing anything in or around your vehicle.
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.
Remember to check your dashboard often
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. You may not be able to hear that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for example. So regularly check your dashboard because your eyes will have to compensate.
Make maintenance a priority
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning alarm telling you there is an issue with your engine or another crucial component. That is a significant safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. That’s a good idea for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you may be missing something. 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 reacting to their surroundings to get hints on what you may not be hearing.
Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a safe driver even if your hearing isn’t what it once was because most likely your other senses will help you make the adjustment. If the idea makes you uneasy, though, then it’s time to come see us and find a treatment to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.
Contact us right away to schedule your hearing exam and look into hearing aid options for your unique lifestyle.