Hearing loss is a common challenge for older individuals, but does it merit giving up driving? Driving habits vary amongst different people so the response isn’t straightforward.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a skilled driver has to stop driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for those planning everyday commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming hazardous because of hearing loss?
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 choose to just dismiss your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a distinct link between hearing and brain health. Battling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. An individual 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 with hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates around 48 million Americans have substantial 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 consider how hearing aids can change things for you. The question of whether you should be driving can be removed by using hearing aids.
Be a more observant driver
Even if you have 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 allow you to focus your listening on driving without being 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 capable of hearing that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for example. You will have to rely 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 anymore or the warning bell telling you there is an issue with your engine or another essential component. Get your car serviced routinely so you can prevent this major safety risk. For individuals with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for somebody without hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you may be missing something. You may not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should too. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. It is possible to be a safe driver even if your hearing isn’t what it once was because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. 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.
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.