Understanding traffic laws and road signs is just the beginning of driving safety. As we grow older, we often realize that certain aspects of drive safely become increasingly challenging. One of the largest threats of operating a motor vehicle safely is driving with hearing loss.
If you do notice a change in your hearing, it can have a significant impact on your driving safety. If you experience hearing loss and choose to ignore it, you may experience cognitive problems down the road, and safety hazards when behind the wheel.Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is an undeniable connection between hearing health and brain health. A constant struggle to hear forces the brain to dedicate much of its valuable resources in an effort to understand what people are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia, and a person suffering from dementia certainly can’t drive.Driving requires effective observational skills, which relates to your auditory ability. The Center for Hearing and Communication states that about 48 million people in the U.S. have hearing loss, and a many of them continue to operate motor vehicles without treating their hearing loss.One study found that individuals driving a car with hearing loss are generally more visually aware of what’s going on and, typically, more careful than some hearing drivers. They drive at a slower pace when on the road and make use of their mirrors more to compensate for what they can’t hear. However, they still have higher rates of accidents when behind the wheel.
In order to stay safe on the road as you get older, you’ll need to make some adjustments so that you can account for hearing loss. Follow a few simple steps and you can stay safe on the road despite your hearing loss. Here are some tips to help you drive safely and responsibly with hearing aids.For anyone with hearing loss, any extra noises can be extremely distracting, and reduce road safety. Keep chaos inside the car down to a minimum. Keep it quiet and calm inside your car so you can focus on hearing important traffic noise without distractions. Shut the radio off completely and ask anyone riding with you to keep conversation to a minimum as well.
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. For example, if you have hearing loss you won’t hear the clicking of the turn signal that you forgot to turn off after changing lanes. You will have to rely on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get in the habit of checking your dashboard regularly to see what your car is trying to tell you.
You’re not going to hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore, or the warning bell telling you there is a problem with your engine or another critical component. That is a major safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced routinely. That’s a good idea for most people but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.
Of course you would do this anyway, but make sure you look for signs you may be missing something. You may not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if you notice cars pulling over to the side, you should follow suit. Look to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get clues on what you might not be hearing, and always stay alert.
Can you drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing is not what it used to be because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment, but to keep everyone safe, don’t get behind the wheel without your hearing aids.The best way to increase your road safety is to check your hearing. Visit us at Glendora Hearing, and we’ll make things safer for you, and for everyone else on the road. Being a driver behind the wheel means you have to be responsible for your health, and this includes your hearing health.