Hearing loss comes with a number of unexpected and unpleasant side effects. People who are newly diagnosed may be surprised to learn that hearing loss can impact their ability to drive safely.
Driving primarily relies on sight, but most drivers use their hearing to pick up important cues from their environment. Emergency vehicle sirens are an obvious example.
Additionally, hearing loss can be disorienting, especially in the beginning. You may find it more difficult to judge your distance from other vehicles.
But can you keep driving when you have hearing loss? Absolutely! Most people with hearing loss will choose not to give up driving. Instead, they will learn to adapt to their new circumstances.
A Few Tips for Safe Driving When You Have Hearing Loss
• Make absolutely sure your vision is as sharp as possible. If you wear glasses, check your prescription.
• Start paying more attention to your rear-view mirror, as it is your main source of information. You might even want to invest in a larger mirror. It’s an affordable addition to your car, and can be a huge help.
• Keep distractions to a minimum. For many people, hearing loss can mean becoming unable to filter noise out. Driving will probably be easier if you keep your radio off. It is perfectly acceptable to ask your passengers not to speak too loudly, or to ask them to avoid the conversation altogether. Road noise can be particularly distracting, so it’s a good idea to keep your windows up.
Although hearing loss brings a number of lifestyle changes, you probably won’t have to give up on driving. You should take every measure to stay focused on the road, and pick up every visual signal. Driving when you have hearing loss means relying solely on your vision.
Some people find it a good idea to practice on lower-traffic roads before they can go back to their usual routes. You should take all the time you need and be patient with yourself. Once you have readjusted, driving will become as easy as it once was.
[expand title = “References”]
Tips for driving safely with hearing loss. URL link. Accessed 11th November 2017.