24, November 2019

Tips for Driving Safely with Hearing Loss (Part I)

Despite hearing loss, you can still drive safely.

How much do you depend on your hearing when you drive? Possibly more than you realize. Your sense of sight is certainly the most critical when behind the wheel, your sense of hearing assists you in detecting oncoming emergency vehicles, hear the loud horn of an impatient driver or realize that your turn signals are on. While the hearing loss doesn’t drastically impact your ability to drive, it never hurts to be ready and take extra precautions. 

Get treatment for your hearing loss

First, if you aren’t hearing as well as you’re supposed to, find a competent hearing healthcare specialist and get your hearing evaluated. You might just have a bad cold or obstruction in your ear that could be removed. However, if the diagnosis is hearing impairment, follow your specialist’s recommendation for treatment.

The right treatment may be hearing aids, particularly if you’ve developed sensorineural hearing loss, which includes age-related hearing loss. Not only can hearing aids increase the vital sounds you hear on the road, but they can also keep your auditory system healthy, so your brain doesn’t fail to recall how to interpret other sounds in your surroundings.

Driving with hearing loss

Today’s hearing aids are technological miracles, with sensitive microphones crafted to better discriminate between background and speech noises. Even with hearing aids, though, you’ll need to disregard distractions while you’re driving. Here are some tips to reduce the distractions:

Before you go

Preserve your hearing aids. Feedback from hearing aids is a big distraction, regardless of what you’re doing. Visit your hearing care professional frequently, at least twice a year, for cleanings and check-ups. Tell them if you’re getting feedback or other concerns.

Be sure that your hearing aid batteries are fresh and new. Hearing aid wearers should always have a spare set of batteries when leaving the house. If your batteries start to signal that they are low while you’re driving, do not try to change them while the car is in motion. Instead, stop in a safe spot and change them.