Safety First: The Top Tips for Driving Safely With Hearing LossPublished On: May 22, 2019
It’s upsetting but inevitable: hearing loss is incredibly common among people over 60. The odds of your hearing going in your later years is fairly high, and it’s important to accept this instead of fight it.
Hearing loss can affect our lives in many different ways, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating. With some adjustments to the way we do daily tasks, we can still live fulfilling and exciting lives despite some loss in hearing.
Driving is one such task that might require some adjustment. It’s important to be safe on the road, and hearing loss can create some less-than-ideal driving conditions. It’s important to make some adjustments so that you can ensure the safety of yourself and others in the vehicle.
Read on, and we’ll walk you through how to drive safely with hearing loss.
The Connection Between Hearing And Driving
Sure, driving is a mostly visual exercise. But until you lose your hearing, you might be surprised at how much sound and hearing contributed to your driving ability.
First and foremost, it affects your ability to communicate with other cars on the road. All modern carns use horns to alert other drivers of problems. In many time, hearing a sharp honk can prevent two cars from making an impact.
In less dire situations, horns are still used to alert drivers of open doors, headlight issues, or a variety of potential problems.
In a similar way, emergency vehicles like cop cars or ambulances use sirens and audio-based tools to navigate traffic and communicate with drivers. If a cop is trying to pull you over and you can’t hear the siren, you’ll probably be in a lot more trouble later.
We also use our ears to constantly the performance of ours. Unnatural whirring, squeaking brakes, moaning tires: sounds are often the first warning sign of trouble with our vehicles. Without these auditorial signs, it can be hard to know if there’s trouble with our cars.
And though it’s less important than the above examples, a lack of hearing can lead you to leave a turn signal or hazards on without realizing. The tick tick sound is an important reminder of the signal we’re giving to other drivers.
So if you have experienced hearing loss, how do you act as a safe driver?
Increase Reliance On Your Visual Cues
With your hearing gone, you’ll need to have your other senses help compensate for the loss. You already rely on your eyes heavily when driving, but you can take a few steps to increase that reliance even further.
Consider investing in a larger review mirror. Many stores sell extended length rearview mirrors that give you a larger and wider view of the area behind your car. This can help you ascertain the situation around your car without the need to hear horns or sirens.
Since you won’t be able to hear, you need to ensure your vision will never be compromised. Always make sure that your windows and windshield is clean and clear. Consider getting stick-on mirrors for your side mirrors that help illuminate blind spots.
Remove All Distractions
If you’re driving with hearing loss, you need to make sure you’re focused entirely on the road. There are common distractions on the road that all drivers should avoid, but especially those that are already impaired.
These include cell phone use, eating, drinking, and messing with different dashboard settings. All of these activities take your eyes off the road, where they will be desperately needed.
Avoid other distractions within the car. Having a conversation with others with others can take great concentration, something you probably shouldn’t be struggling to do when you’re driving. Avoid speaking on the phone or attempting to listen to the radio at loud levels.
When you’re in the car, give your full attention to the road and nothing else. That’s the best way to ensure maximum safety. You don’t want to end up as one of the millions injured across highways each year.
Consider Investing In Hearing Help
It can be hard to adjust to a new world once you’re hearing goes. And it can be frustrating that once simple tasks like driving are now much more difficult.
Investing in a quality hearing aid or other ear-assistant devices can help to make these tasks easy again. Having a hearing aid on will make it much simpler to discern horns, sirens, and the sounds of your own automobile.
If you do take your hearing aid driving, you should always make sure to pack an extra set of batteries for the road in case it dies in transit. Once you get used to driving with a hearing aid, it can be dangerous to go immediately back to driving without.
If you do start wearing a hearing aid while driving, give your brain some time to adjust. Many people find the increased background sounds they hear with a hearing aid distracting, but with time your brain will learn to filter out these extra sounds.
Learning To Drive Safely With Hearing Loss
We rely on our ability to hear more than we realize. As hearing goes when we age, it becomes more frustrating or even dangerous to perform tasks that at one time were quite simple.
The above tips can help those with hearing loss be safe citizens of the road. Anyone with hearing loss should ensure they can drive safely before taking their car out of the garage.
Want more advice or information on hearing loss? Check out our blog for more.