Older man behind the wheel of his car excited to drive since he solved his hearing loss.

Many older people have 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 skilled driver has to quit driving.

Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is an important consideration for individuals planning daily commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a dangerous driver?

Think beyond driving…

Early stage hearing loss likely won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly dangerous.

Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a distinct relationship between hearing and brain health. Struggling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to understand what people are saying. It has a negative effect on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Driving is certainly off the table for a person who has dementia.

Should you drive with hearing loss?

Driving demands 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, the majority of them still drive according to the Center for Hearing Communication.

Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss

You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.

Stop procrastinating

Come in to see us for a hearing test and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. Hearing aids can help get rid of the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.

Be a more observant driver

Even if you have hearing aids, you will still need to be a more observant 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 let you focus your listening on driving without distractions. Turn the radio off and ask your passengers to keep the chit-chat to a minimum.

Remember to look at your dashboard frequently

It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. You might not be able to hear that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for instance. You will have to depend on your eyes to compensate, so get used to checking your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.

Keep your vehicle well maintained

Maybe your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you are unable to hear it. Have your car serviced regularly so you can avoid this significant safety hazard. That’s a smart plan for most people but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.

Pay close 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 also because you might have missed the sirens. Look to see how other drivers are reacting to their surroundings to get clues on what you might not be hearing.

So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will normally 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 worried about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly with hearing aids.

Come in and let us help you better your quality of life by investigating the hearing solutions that will be appropriate for your distinctive hearing situation.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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