Today it is difficult to imagine an American without a car. Cars allow us to shop quickly and comfortably, travel, visit relatives, go to work or study. Modern cars have a high level of comfort so that drivers do not get tired while driving for many hours. On the other hand, Americans often forget that a car is a source of increased danger.
Reduced attention while driving is the main cause of most accidents. People do not notice the danger in time and do not have time to react in time to avoid an accident. Audiology Island’s experience shows that people with hearing loss often lose concentration and attention even in simple life situations. Hence, a natural question arises. Can I drive with hearing loss?
Why is it important?
Americans often forget about the dangers on the road while driving. They relax during the trip and lose focus. Meanwhile, today in the United States there are rather sad statistics on the number of accidents and injured citizens due to distracted driving. Drivers, instead of focusing on driving are eating, or drinking, talking to passengers, putting on make-up, using a smartphone, and even changing clothes! Of course, such behavior cannot lead to anything good. According to statistics, more than 3,000 Americans died due to distracted driving in 2019! And the figure continues to grow every year.
What about hearing loss and driving? Everything is simple. A driver, even with mild hearing loss, loses attention faster than a person with normal hearing. And here is another important fact. Many Americans have age-related hearing loss.
Decreased hearing sensitivity is a major symptom of the problem. Moreover, a person may not even notice this, because the hearing loss in older adults develops gradually with age. The first signs of the disorder may appear by the age of 40.
A person gradually loses hearing, but continues to drive the car. The gradual development of the problem affects the physical and psychological state of a person and increases the likelihood of a possible accident.
What difficulties do drivers with hearing loss face?
Many people think that only healthy eyesight is necessary for safe driving. This is not true. Of course, driving a car, a person primarily relies on visual information. However, hearing supplements this information, allowing you to make the right decision in an emergency.
Hearing problems in the driver cause the following difficulties:
You won’t hear the siren of an approaching ambulance, police, etc.
You lose concentration and attention faster because the brain spends more resources to recognize and analyze the sounds of the external environment
You get tired faster while driving because you are constantly under stress
Recent studies show that many drivers have work-related hearing loss. Now imagine, you are additionally distracted by a smartphone or communication with passengers while driving. The risk of getting into an accident increases many times over!
Tips to improve Driver behavior and Safety
Does hearing loss affect driving? As you might have guessed, it certainly does. But it does not mean that you do not have the right to use the car. Americans with sensorineural hearing loss can easily drive without endangering themselves or others. However, achieving this wll require more than just obeying the rules of the road.
Start treatment. Don’t waste time if you or your loved ones notice symptoms of hearing loss. Contact hearing care professionals. They’ll conduct a complete diagnosis and prescribe the correct treatment, which will greatly simplify wearing hearing aids. These useful devices will restore your hearing and increase your safety while driving. Audiology Island has extensive experience in hearing care. We use state-of-the-art equipment and proven methods to restore lost hearing. Audiology Island has already helped thousands of Americans, and we are not stopping there!
Concentrate all attention on the road. Food, coffee, makeup, and chatting with your loved one can wait. If you have an urgent matter, stop by the side of the road and get it done. Only then, continue your ride
Close all windows. It’ll save your ears from road noise. The advice is especially relevant when driving in a large city or a busy highway with hundreds of cars
Avoid excessive noise. Ask passengers to keep conversations quiet or keep them to a minimum. Do not forget about the volume level of the music in the car. Loud music will interfere with concentration and strain the nervous system. Adjust the volume of the music before starting the trip or turn it off completely
Keep your hearing aids in good condition. Your devices are indispensable assistants while on the move. Therefore, they should always work and be in excellent condition. Keep an eye on their technical condition, especially hearing aid batteries. Clean your devices regularly and change consumables on time. If necessary, seek help from specialists. Do not use defective hearing aids while driving!
Don’t hide your hearing loss. Tell the passengers or the officer if he stops you about your hearing problem. This will help to avoid misunderstandings and unpleasant situations
Get your eyesight and hearing checked annually. Remember, the sooner you recognize a problem, the easier it’ll be to treat. Therefore, do not forget to check your health, even if you are sure that everything is in order
Follow our recommendations and you’ll feel confident on the road even with hearing loss. Keep in mind that even deafness and driving are not exclusive things. Deaf people also have the right to drive a car. Moreover, many deaf people drive a car with ease, although this is often perplexing for many healthy people.
Remember, hearing loss is not a death sentence. You can easily get a driver’s license if you want. Virtually nothing restricts you from driving safely. Most importantly, be careful and follow additional security measures!
About Dr Zhanneta Shapiro
Dr Zhanneta Shapiro received her Masters of Science from Brooklyn College in 2005 and completed her Doctorate of Audiology from Florida University in May 2008. Her graduate training was in various hospitals in the tri-state area and a residency period completed at Ear Nose and Throat Associates of New York. [ Learn More ]