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Hearing Loss and Driving

While sight is the most important sense to have behind the wheel, you also rely more than you realize on your hearing while you drive. Your hearing can keep you alert to an approaching emergency vehicle or another driver’s horn. It can even let you know that you’ve had your turn signal going for the last 10 minutes. While it’s possible to drive safely with hearing loss, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Tips for Driving with Hearing Loss

Driving can be more challenging with hearing loss, but there are things you can do to make it easier.

Reduce the noise

  •  Lower the volume on the car radio. Not only will this help you retain your remaining sense of hearing, but you will also be able to concentrate on other noises that surround you.
  • Ask passengers to keep the conversation to a minimum. Conversing with friends in the car can be a fun way to pass the time, but it can also distract you from the other noises that surround you.
  • Keep the windows closed. Minimizing the road noise will help you focus on more important noises that are competing for your attention.

Minimize distractions

  • Focus on your driving. Try not to text, eat, apply makeup, or engage in any other form of distraction while you drive. Any distraction that takes away your focus can be an even greater risk when you have hearing loss.
  • Put the phone away entirely. Try to avoid speaking on the phone while you are driving. The distraction of focusing on the conversation instead of the road as well as the competition of noise from the speaker can make driving more challenging for people impacted by hearing loss.

Check vision

  • Consider investing in a larger rearview mirror. These won’t completely get rid of blind spots, but they will reduce the need to look over your shoulder.
  • Watch for flashing lights on approaching vehicles and at railroad crossings. If you are driving in a city, you can use building windows or other reflective surfaces to warn you of approaching emergency vehicles. Checking your rearview mirror often will alert you to vehicles approaching.

Work with an audiologist

  • Seeing an audiologist about hearing aids or other hearing issues can help you be a safer driver and keep your auditory system as sharp as possible. Hearing aids can greatly improve your ability to hear, and the hearing aids of today are very advanced. They have sensitive microphones that can determine between speech and background noise. Some hearing aids even come with Bluetooth settings, which can keep your hands free in case you do need to take a call while you drive.
  • If you already have hearing aids, maintain them with the help of an audiologist. Visiting your audiologist regularly can help you keep your hearing aids clean and functioning. Feedback from hearing aids can be a major distraction. Let your audiologist know if you are experiencing feedback or other concerns.

Driving is a big responsibility and can be more challenging for those with hearing loss, but it can be easily managed by taking a few extra precautions. If you feel that you are struggling to hear while you drive or are interested in talking about if hearing aids are the right option for you, schedule an appointment at Sonora Hearing Care today.