When it comes to driving safety, we all want to do our part to make sure we arrive at our destination safe and sound. If you struggle to hear, and are wearing hearing aids to help you hear clearly, driving safety is about more than just following traffic laws or reading road signs. You may need to make a few adjustments to how you’re driving to ensure that you and everyone else on the road stay safe and avoid accidents. Here are a few tips for driving with hearing aids.
Are You Seeing Clearly?
If you have hearing loss and wear hearing aids, its important that you make the extra effort to keep the rest of your senses in tip top shape. If you struggle to hear, you may rely more heavily on your sight to keep you safe, so be sure you visit your optometrist regularly to check for any changes in prescription, as well as to watch for signs of any other vision problems such as cataracts. A cataract operation is a relatively simple procedure, and can make all the difference between seeing clearly or looking at the world with blurry vision. Always wear your glasses behind the wheel, and wear sunglasses if the sun is glaring in your eyes. Braking on time or noticing the car in your blind spot could all come down to your vision, so don’t get behind the wheel unless you’re sure you can see clearly.
Be sure to watch for flashing lights, as these might be easier to notice than a siren. Observe other drivers reactions. If everyone else on the road is pulling over, you should too. Maybe they’ve heard something you didn’t, so take the cue from them, and let your vision make up for whatever you didn’t hear.
When you drive with hearing aids, try to remove all distractions from the inside of your car. You want to be alert and aware of any sounds outside the vehicle, so turn the radio off, and keep it quiet inside the car. If you’re driving with passengers, ask them to save the story till you arrive at your destination, and focus on driving safety. There will be lots of time to talk once you’re off the road, and you can give them your full attention.
Give Yourself More Time
As we age, reaction times get a bit slower, and you will need an extra second or two. Maintain more space between you and the car in front so you won’t have to break early every time you need to slow down. Avoid going to high-traffic areas, or driving during rush hour. If you can pick a quieter route, stay off the busiest streets. Learn to anticipate problems on the road, and scan the road carefully to be alert to the first sign of any problems on the road in front of you. Have you been feeling stiff lately, or moving a bit slower than usual? If you have difficulty shoulder checking, check your mirrors more often to eliminate your blind spot, and be aware of what’s happening behind you without needing to turn your neck so often.
Performing regular vehicle maintenance is a must, whether or not you have hearing loss. But if you struggle to hear, you might miss a rattling under the hood, or a warning beep from the dashboard. Visit your mechanic often, make sure your power brakes and power steering are working well, and install larger mirrors so your eyes can help you fill in any gaps in your hearing.
Annual Hearing Tests
Even if you wear hearing aids, it’s important to get regular hearing tests to ensure your devices are helping you hear. Your hearing will continue to change as you age, and you may need to make some adjustments to your hearing aids to make sure you’re still hearing clearly.
At Able Hearing, we’ll help you find the perfect hearing device that will give you clear hearing in any listening situation, including in the car. You can drive safely knowing you’re hearing all the sounds around you. Call us today to schedule a hearing test, and make sure your hearing aids are keeping you safe.