When you’re diagnosed with hearing loss in Exton, you’ll face many challenges to your normal routine. Some of them are obvious – talking on the telephone, watching TV – while others you might not even think about. Driving is an excellent example.
Safe Driving Tips for the Hearing-Impaired
Your ears play a crucial role in driving. Obviously visual cues are most important when getting behind the wheel, but good hearing is important in keeping you safe.
You’ll need to be able to detect emergency vehicle sirens, horns to warn you of danger and the clicking of turn signals that have not been properly disengaged. Hearing loss won’t affect your physical ability to drive but it can impact getting from Point A to Point B safely.
Strategies When Driving With Hearing Loss
To ensure safe travels, practice the following strategies when driving with hearing loss:
- Get treatment for your hearing impairment. First and foremost, don’t neglect to seek treatment for your hearing loss! Find an audiologist in Exton and have your hearing tested. Treatment solutions such as hearing aids can make a dramatic difference in your life, not just on the freeway but everywhere you go.
- Eliminate distractions. Regardless of whether you are wearing hearing aids, you’ll want to eliminate distractions while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration blames distracted driving on 3,500 deaths in 2016 and 390,000 injuries in the preceding year. The following tips will limit distractions and allow you to maintain your focus where it belongs: on the road ahead.
- Turn down the radio. Cruisin’ down the highway with your favorite tunes blaring from the speakers is exhilarating, but also dangerous. Keep the volume down not only to preserve your remaining hearing, but to help you concentrate on other sounds around you.
- Keep conversations to a minimum. Backseat drivers – even those riding shotgun – might have the best of intentions, but conversations divert your attention from the road. Find a diplomatic way to let your passengers know your hearing impairment demands your full attention when driving.
- Close the windows and sunroof. Fresh air and sunshine are great, but when you’re tooling down the highway at 75 mph with the windows or sunroof open, you’ll encounter a lot of road noise. Keep them closed and turn on the A/C or fan if you are too warm.
- Put your phone away. Cellphones are a major cause of accidents while driving, prompting most states to ban their use while behind the wheel. Resist the urge to make a call while driving unless your hearing aids come with a hands-free Bluetooth® option. And never, ever text while driving!
- Don’t neglect your eyesight. You’re already diligent about your ears, but don’t overlook your eyesight – good vision is more important than ever when you have a hearing impairment. Schedule annual vision exams and if you have prescription lenses, be sure to wear them when driving. Other tips to help with visual cues while driving include:
- Buy a full-view rearview mirror. Some states require hearing-impaired drivers to use a full-view rearview mirror. These larger accessories are fairly inexpensive and, while they won’t eliminate blind spots, they will prevent you from needing to look over your shoulder as frequently.
- Watch for flashing lights on approaching vehicles and at railroad crossings. Check your rearview and side mirrors often. Here’s a great little tip: building windows and other reflective surfaces can warn you of emergency vehicles that you might not otherwise notice.
- Don’t “cop” an attitude. If you are pulled over by law enforcement while driving, let the police officer know you are wearing hearing aids. This doesn’t mean you’ll get off with just a warning, but it will improve communication and ensure there are no misunderstandings.
For more tips on driving with hearing loss, contact your Exton audiologist.