Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older people, but does it merit giving up driving? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits differ among individuals.
While hearing loss is a factor to think about when operating a vehicle, a competent driver remains proficient even if they need to lower the volume on the radio.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for people planning everyday commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss most likely won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly dangerous.
There is a strong connection between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Battling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It has a detrimental effect on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Driving is definitely out of the question for somebody with dementia.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving demands strong observational skills including auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that around 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, have your hearing tested, and consider how hearing aids can help 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 observant about what’s happening around your vehicle even if you have hearing aids.
Don’t let it get too noisy in 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.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. For instance, you won’t hear that clicking noise that tells you that your turn signal is blinking. You will have to depend on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get used to checking your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Make maintenance a priority
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning bell telling you there is an issue with your engine or another critical component. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. 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 everybody but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. You may not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should too. watch to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get hints on what you may not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing isn’t what it used to be 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 better your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Give us a call right away to schedule your hearing test and look into hearing aid options for your unique lifestyle.