Yes. However, you’ll need to take certain steps to ensure you’re driving safely with hearing loss.
How Hearing Loss Can Impact Driving
You could miss important sounds if you drive with hearing loss, such as emergency sirens, car horns, warning signals and mechanical sounds. Your hearing gives you a sense of your surroundings, so hearing loss makes it difficult to notice the little sounds that make a big difference.
For example, you may hear an ambulance siren before you see the vehicle, allowing you to pull over quickly. But hearing loss could impact your reaction time, so you might not move over to accommodate an emergency vehicle in time.
Hearing loss can also contribute to an increased sense of mental fatigue and impair your ability to focus on the road.
Other Factors That May Affect Your Driving
- Vision loss
- Cognitive decline
- A lack of mobility or flexibility
- Certain medications
- Health issues
- Mechanical issues
Tips for Safe Driving with Hearing Loss
Wear your hearing aids: It’s important to wear your hearing aids daily, especially when you’re in your car. Your hearing devices filter distracting background noises so you can focus on the sounds you need to hear. If you have Bluetooth hearing aids and have a compatible vehicle, connect your devices for hands-free calling.
Get your hearing tested: Schedule an annual hearing test to accommodate any changes and ensure safe driving.
Have your hearing aids adjusted: Ask your audiologist to create driving-specific settings. That could include calibrating directional microphones to pick up sounds behind you, including car horns, sirens and passengers.
Adjust your mirrors: Check your rear and side-view mirrors before you start driving so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road. Try a wide rearview mirror to provide a greater field of vision.
Keep it quiet: Roll up your windows and turn the radio down to manage background noise. Ask your passengers to speak quietly or keep the chatter to a minimum.
Eliminate distractions: Avoid multi-tasking while you’re on the road, including using your phone, eating or changing the radio station. Wait until you’re stopped or pull over to complete those tasks.
Check your surroundings often: That’s especially important when you’re driving through intersections. Watch for flashing lights and look both ways even if you have the right-of-way. Check your dashboard frequently to monitor your speed and spot warning signals.
Clean your windows: Smudges and streaks can create glares on your windows and windshield and impede your line of sight.
Consider safety features: Vehicles come with a wide variety of enhanced safety features such as rear cameras and warning systems to help you stay aware of your surroundings, even.
Get Your Hearing Aids Adjusted at Hearing Associates
Our expert team of audiologists and hearing instrument specialists are committed to helping you optimize your hearing health, especially when you’re driving. Whether you’re new to wearing hearing aids or looking for an upgrade, we will support you as you continue your journey toward better hearing.