Hearing loss is a common challenge for older individuals, but does it warrant quitting driving? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits differ among individuals.
Even if some adjustments have to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a seasoned driver needs to stop driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is an important consideration for individuals planning daily commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss likely won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly unsafe.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a distinct link between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work overtime struggling 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 someone who has 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 with hearing loss. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, the majority of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
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 think about how hearing aids can help things for you. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
When you drive, be more aware
Even with hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant driver to ensure you aren’t missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off or down and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Remember to check your dashboard frequently
It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. For instance, you will no longer hear that clicking sound that tells you that your turn signal is on. You will have to depend on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get used to scanning your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Make maintenance a priority
Perhaps your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. Have your car serviced regularly so you can prevent this significant safety risk. For people with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for someone who doesn’t have hearing loss.
Pay attention to other vehicles around you
This is a no-brainer for everybody but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. If you see other cars pulling to the side of the road, you should do that too because you might have missed the sirens. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. 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 improve your situation, possibly by using 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 unique hearing situation.