If you’ve been wearing hearing aids for a while, you’re
Tips for Driving with Hearing Aids
There’s a lot more to driving than just following the rules of the road. To be a safe driver, you need to be aware of everything that’s happening around you. You’ll need to be quick to react to a red light in front of you, or an emergency siren behind you. If you have hearing loss you may face a few unique driving challenges. Here are some tips for driving with hearing aids.
Wear Your Glasses
Do you have prescription eyewear? One of our most important tips for driving safely with hearing aids is to wear your glasses. When your sense of hearing isn’t as good as it once was, you may rely more on other senses, like vision, to keep you safe on the road.
If you wear eyeglasses, you should get your vision checked every 1 to 2 years. This way, you’ll know the moment your vision changes, and you can easily update your prescription so that you’re seeing clearly. If you have cataracts, your eye doctor can treat the cataracts, so you’ll be able to see in your daily life and behind the wheel.
If you have trouble seeing at night, it’s best to avoid driving after dark. Many people have a hard time seeing the road and driving safely at night, so it’s best to stay off the roads in the evening.
Depending on the time of day, the sun can make it very difficult to see. We recommend investing in prescription sunglasses so that you can cut the glare when you’re in the car. This will help you see clearly at all times of day, and prevent accidents. It’s especially important to wear sunglasses if you have hearing aids, so you can rely on your eyes if you miss something with your ears. Polarized sunglasses can block bright sun rays, and anti-reflective lenses in your glasses can reduce the glare and make it easier to see.
Make Adjustments to Your Vehicle
As you get older, you may notice some new aches and pains in your knees or back. Stiffness can make it harder to switch between the brake pedal and the gas pedal, or make it more difficult to shoulder check safely.
You can make some adjustments to your vehicle to stay safe on the road. We recommend getting larger side mirrors and a bigger rear view mirror so you can see what’s happening around you. Make sure your vehicle is serviced regularly, and that the power steering and power brakes are in good working order.
Think About Reaction Times
Older adults with hearing loss can have slower reaction times. It may take you an extra second to hear and process a sound, and realize you need to step on the brake or change lanes. When you’re driving, think about your reaction times and drive cautiously. Leave a bit more space between you and the car in front of you so that you won’t be too close to react to any changes.
If possible, avoid areas with a lot of traffic so that you will have enough time to react to the traffic around you.
Ask Your Doctor About Your Medications
If you’re driving with hearing aids, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor about your medications. Some medications can make you drowsy or lightheaded. Other medications can make it hard to focus on the road. Ask your doctor if your medications might affect your safety on the road. You may be able to take the medications at a different time of day so they won’t affect your driving safety.
Turn Off the Radio
When you’re driving with hearing aids, avoid listening to music when you’re in the car. Listening to the radio will make it much harder to hear the sounds around you, and you won’t be as quick to notice sounds like a honking car, or emergency sirens up ahead.
Check Your Hearing Annually
If you have hearing aids, you should check your hearing every year. You’ll find out if there have been any changes to your hearing health, and you can get your hearing aids recalibrated to match your hearing needs. Annual hearing tests will keep you and everyone around you safe when you get behind the wheel.