Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

How to Drive Safely When You Have Hearing Loss

Princeton Otolaryngology Associates: Dr. Scott L. Kay | Hearing Loss Articles

Older man behind the wheel of his car excited to drive since he solved his hearing loss.

Hearing loss is a common challenge for older people, but does it warrant giving up driving? Driving habits vary amongst different people so the response isn’t straightforward.

Even if some adjustments have to be made to the radio volume, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a skilled driver needs to quit driving.

For people who commute on a regular basis the question of whether hearing loss poses a threat while driving is an important consideration. Is your driving becoming hazardous because of hearing loss?

Think beyond driving…

If you are detecting hearing loss, it won’t have a significant impact on your ability to drive…yet. That day is coming, though, if you decide to simply dismiss your decline.

Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a distinct relationship between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work overtime struggling to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other daily tasks. It has a detrimental impact on cognition and can contribute to the onset of dementia. Someone suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.

If you have hearing loss, can you still drive?

Driving demands strong observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive if you have hearing loss. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, most of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.

Driving with hearing loss

You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.

Quit procrastinating

Visit us, get a hearing test, and think about how hearing aids can change things for you. Hearing aids can help remove the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.

When you drive, be more aware

Even if you have hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to ensure you’re not missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.

Don’t let it get too noisy in your car

This will help you be less distracted. Ask your passengers to chat more quietly and keep the radio down or off.

Remember to look at your dashboard often

When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can add up. For example, you will no longer hear that clicking sound that lets you know that your turn signal is on. So routinely look at your dashboard because your eyes will have to pick up the slack.

Make maintenance a priority

You might not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell telling you there is a problem with your engine or another crucial component. That is a significant safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced regularly. That’s a good idea for most individuals but a necessity if you are driving with hearing loss.

Watch the other cars closely

Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to look for signs you may be missing something. If you see other cars pulling to the side of the road, you should do that also because you may have missed the sirens. Use the actions of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.

So is it possible to safely drive with hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will normally adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. But if you’re feeling worried about it, schedule an appointment to come see if we can help you better your situation, possibly with hearing aids.

Contact us right away to schedule your hearing test and investigate hearing aid solutions for your unique lifestyle.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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