Hearing loss is a common challenge for older people, but does it require giving up driving? The response isn’t straightforward, as driving habits vary among individuals.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver needs to quit driving.
For individuals who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is a significant consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a dangerous driver?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a substantial impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to simply ignore your decline.
There is a solid link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work overtime fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other daily activities. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. Driving is definitely off the table for somebody with dementia.
Should you drive with hearing loss?
Driving requires good observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive if you have hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that about 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Driving with hearing loss
With a few adjustments, you can still remain safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Visit us, have your hearing tested, and consider how hearing aids can help things for you. Hearing aids can help remove the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
When you drive, be more observant
Even if you have hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to ensure you aren’t missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
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
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. So regularly look at your dashboard because your eyes will need to pick up the slack.
Make maintenance a priority
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning alarm telling you there is an issue with your engine or another essential component. Have your car serviced regularly so you can prevent this significant safety risk. For people with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for someone without 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. You might not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should as well. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will typically adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is feasible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. 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.
Give us a call right away to schedule your hearing exam and look into hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.