Every time you get behind the wheel, it’s your responsibility to drive carefully so pedestrians, passengers, other drivers, and of course you yourself all stay safe. Hearing loss can affect your ability to notice safety cues like sirens, honks, or shouts, and will affect how safe you are on the road. Being able to hear the traffic sounds around you is crucial for safety on the road, from braking on time to avoid the ball that’s rolled in front of you, or pulling over safely to let a police vehicle pass.
If your hearing is not as sharp as it used to be, you’ll need to make some changes to how you drive to keep yourself and everyone around you safe. Here are 5 tips to help you drive with hearing loss.
Tip 1: Check your Vision
As important has hearing is, vision is arguably one of the most important senses you use when you are driving. It’s recommended that you check your vision once every year or two. For those of you who wear glasses, keep your prescription up to date. If you have any underlying vision problems that will affect your driving, such as cataracts, seek treatment from a doctor. Whether or not you have a prescription, consider investing in a pair of polarized sunglasses or antiglare lenses in your regular glasses to cut down on the glare while driving and help you see clearly.
Avoid driving at night if you have difficulty seeing the road in the dark, and only drive if you can see a minimum of 10 feet ahead. Be alert, and look out for flashing lights on emergency vehicles since you might not hear the siren from far away.
If your driver’s license is due to expire soon, check your state regulations. Some states require a vision test to renew. This is to insure your safety, and the safety of everyone else on the road.
Tip 2: Schedule Regular Hearing Tests
Hearing properly is critical to safe driving. We recommend you test your hearing every year to guarantee you’re hearing the traffic noises, horns, children playing, and warning sirens that happen on the road around you. Hearing specialists recommend that people over 50 take an annual hearing test to ensure that their hearing abilities are sound.
Hearing tests are quick and easy, and will show your hearing range in quiet and in noise. We will advise you on your hearing health, and help you choose the hearing aid that will work best for you. If you have hearing aids, always wear them when driving. If you experience changes, visit us at Preferred Hearing Centers to make adjustments to your aids.
Tip 3: Keep it Quiet Inside the Vehicle
Those with hearing loss know all too well that it’s much harder to hear in noise than in quiet. To keep you safe on the road, make sure the inside of your car is a quiet as possible. Turn the radio off and never use your cellphone. Your tunes are fun to listen to, but they may block important traffic sounds, and slow your reaction time to things happening on the road. Don’t take that risk, but keep your attention focused outside the vehicle.
If you’re driving with passengers, limit conversations as much as possible, and ask them not to talk to unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s hard to multitask while driving, and too much of your focus will be on the conversation and not on noticing the sounds outside the vehicle.
Tip 4: Preform Regular Vehicle Maintenance
With hearing loss, you might miss the soft rattling sound that’s the warning sign of something gone wrong, and keep driving long past the time it should be fixed. To avoid this problem, get your vehicle checked often to ensure its in good working order. To keep you aware on the road, make sure your car has big side mirrors, and get an extended rear view mirror. This gives you better visibility of all the things happening around you.
Tip 5: Check your Signal Lights
Get into the habit of checking your signal indicators from time to time. With hearing loss it’s easy to miss the faint beating of the indicator buried under the sound of traffic or the engine noise, but it can be extremely unsafe to drive with the indicators on since other drivers won’t know where you’re going.