Lots of older individuals experience hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits vary among individuals.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a seasoned driver has to stop driving.
For individuals who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss poses a threat while driving is an important consideration. 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 driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to just dismiss your decline.
There is a strong link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Struggling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to comprehend what people are saying. It has a detrimental impact on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. A person suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving demands strong 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 suffer from hearing loss, the majority of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.
Quit putting off
Come in to see us for a hearing test and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. Hearing aids can help get rid of the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more observant
You will still need to be aware of what’s going on around your vehicle even if you have hearing aids.
Don’t let it get too loud in your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chit-chat to a minimum.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. You might not be able to hear that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for example. So regularly look at your dashboard because your eyes will have to compensate.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Perhaps your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a significant safety hazard, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. For individuals with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for somebody without hearing loss.
Pay attention to other vehicles around you
Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you may be missing something. If you see other cars pulling off the road, you should do that as well because you may have missed the sirens. Look to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get hints on what you may not be hearing.
Can you drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. It is possible to be a safe driver even if your hearing is not what it once was because most likely your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you better 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 appropriate for your unique hearing situation.