Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older people, but does it merit quitting driving? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits vary 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 radio volume.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for individuals planning everyday commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming unsafe because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become progressively more dangerous.
There is a strong link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work extra hard struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other everyday activities. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. Driving is certainly off the table for somebody who has dementia.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving demands good observational skills including auditory awareness. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, the majority of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still stay 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 eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
Be a more observant driver
You will still need to be observant about what’s going on around your vehicle even if you use hearing aids.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will let you focus your listening on driving without distractions. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Keep an eye on your dash lights
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. For instance, you won’t hear that clicking noise that lets you know that your turn signal is on. So regularly check your dashboard because your eyes will need to pick up the slack.
Make maintenance a priority
You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood now or the warning bell alerting you to an issue with your engine or another critical component. Have your car serviced regularly so you can avoid this major safety risk. For individuals with hearing loss, this is important, 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 too because you might have missed the sirens. watch to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get hints on what you may not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? It’s really a personal choice. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing is not what it once was because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling worried about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by exploring the hearing options that will be suitable for your unique hearing situation.