Lots of older individuals have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? The response isn’t clear-cut, as driving habits differ among individuals.
Even if some adjustments need to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver needs to stop driving.
For individuals who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss poses a threat while driving is a crucial consideration. Is your driving becoming hazardous because of hearing loss?
Think beyond driving…
If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a substantial impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to simply dismiss your decline.
There is a strong link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. The brain has to work overtime struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other daily tasks. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. A person suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
Should you drive if you have hearing loss?
Driving requires robust observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive if you have hearing loss. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who have hearing loss, most of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with 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 condition. 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 make sure you aren’t missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.
Don’t let it get too noisy in your car
This will help you be less distracted. Turn the radio off and ask your passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum.
Remember to check your dashboard frequently
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. For example, you won’t hear that clicking noise that tells you that your turn signal is blinking. 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.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Perhaps your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a significant safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. For people with hearing loss, this is important, 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 everyone 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 off to the side, you should as well. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive with hearing loss? It’s really a personal decision. Your other senses will usually adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is feasible 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 better your situation, possibly with hearing aids.
Give us a call today to schedule your hearing test and investigate hearing aid options for your unique lifestyle.