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Nothing beats the feeling of driving on an open road with the windows down, listening to your favorite music. That feeling of freedom and adventure is one you can enjoy for many years to come. However, those with hearing loss need to take account of the limitations that might make driving unsafe. Although that feeling of freedom makes it seem like anything is possible, remaining aware of dangers on the road is ever more important as limitations present themselves, including hearing loss. Driving with hearing aids can be a remarkable improvement to your life, restoring the feeling of independence while also making it safer to drive. Even with hearing aids in place, some general pointers can help you maintain a safe environment while you drive.
When your sense of hearing is compromised, it is more important than ever to have clear visibility on the road. Be sure that all your mirrors are functional and in the right position to remain aware of obstructions on the road or oncoming dangers. When the sun is very bright, sunglasses can assist with visibility, and you might even want to keep a pair in the car for those surprise moments when you find yourself driving into a sunset. Night driving can be a challenge for many people, so you might want to consider driving during daylight if “night blindness” is something you experience.
Maintain Physical Mobility
It might seem odd to consider mobility in the car, but it is important to remain able to turn if necessary. Not only for the purpose of checking your blind spot before changing lanes but also to look quickly from side to side, basic mobility is necessary to stay safe on the road. If you are challenged with mobility issues or have a head or neck injury, it is best to put off driving until you are able to do so with ease.
Although it is fun to take a road trip with friends and family, be sure to preserve your physical safety and that of others at all costs. Driving with young children poses a special risk for distractions, particularly for those who are hard of hearing. If they require attention while driving, you might be tempted to put more attention on hearing their needs than driving with focus on the road. Pets can be another level of chaotic in the car, so be sure to keep them in the back seat away from your position in the driver’s seat. Although it is fun to drive with others on board, make sure they understand that safety is the top priority, and you won’t be able to pay complete attention to passengers while you’re on the road.
Be Aware of Your Limitations
If you have found it difficult to drive with hearing aids, make an appointment with your audiologist or hearing health professional for a consultation. With a little guidance, you may find a better way to use hearing aids on the road that will enable you to hear dangers as well as the other things you would like—such as the radio or a conversation with a passenger. Some of the latest hearing aids make it possible to change your hearing profile according to the environment in which you find yourself, including the car. These features are not available on all hearing aid models, but some have found them quite effective to remove audible distractions while driving and also to maintain the ability to hear when you need it. Of course, if you are on any medications, check with your doctor to make sure that they will not impair your ability to safely drive, as well. With these tips in mind, you should be able to enjoy driving and the feeling of independence that comes with the open highway once again. Finally, if you do not yet have hearing aids and find yourself wondering if you have hearing loss, don’t delay to get a hearing test.