Lots of 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.
While hearing loss is a component to think about when driving a vehicle, a seasoned driver remains capable even if they have to adjust the volume on the radio.
For people who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is a crucial consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a hazardous driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss probably won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become progressively more dangerous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a definite connection between hearing and brain health. 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 results in dementia. Driving is certainly off the table for a person with dementia.
If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?
You can still drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving requires good observational skills including auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that around 48 million Americans have significant hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.
Driving with hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still remain safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Stop putting off
Come in to see us for a hearing exam and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
Be a more observant driver
You will still need to be observant about what’s going on around your vehicle even if you have hearing aids.
Keep the noise down inside 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.
Learn to look at 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 lets you know that your turn signal is on. So routinely check your dashboard because your eyes will need to compensate.
Make maintenance a priority
Perhaps your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a major safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. For people with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for somebody who doesn’t have hearing loss.
Pay close attention to other vehicles around you
Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you might be missing something. You might not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should as well. watch to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get clues on what you may not be hearing.
So is it possible to safely drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will typically adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. But if you’re feeling concerned about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Call us right away to schedule your hearing test and look into hearing aid options for your distinctive lifestyle.