Many older people 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 quit driving.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a crucial consideration for people planning daily commutes or winter road trips. Is your driving becoming dangerous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a huge impact on your driving ability…yet. That day is coming, though, if you choose to just disregard your decline.
Johns Hopkins Medicine has found there is a distinct connection between hearing and brain health. Struggling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what individuals are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which results in dementia. A person suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
Driving requires good observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive with hearing loss. The Center for Hearing and Communication estimates around 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good number of them still drive.
Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss
You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.
Come in to see us for a hearing exam and find out if hearing aids will help your situation. Hearing aids can help eliminate the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.
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 loud in your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off and ask your passengers to keep the chit-chat to a minimum.
Remember to check your dashboard frequently
When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. 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 compensate.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning alarm telling you there is a problem with your engine or another critical component. Have your car serviced regularly so you can prevent this significant safety hazard. That’s a smart idea for most people but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Watch the other cars closely
Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you might be missing something. You may not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling over to the side, you should too. Look to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get hints on what you might not be hearing.
Can you drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will usually adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning to go. But if you’re feeling worried about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Contact us right away to schedule your hearing exam and look into hearing aid solutions for your distinctive lifestyle.