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Hearing Loss and Driving: Five Rules For The Road


Do you find it increasingly hard to drive because of your hearing loss? Follow these guidelines to stay safe when you’re out on the road.

Hearing loss can make activities like social gatherings and music concerts difficult to take part in, but did you know that it could also have an effect on your driving?

The sound cues that we normally rely on to navigate the road safely, including car honking, the whistle of a traffic director and the bell ringing of bike passengers that dart through traffic can become harder to detect or can even go unnoticed. Tips you can follow to make your driving experience safer include:

Keeping Music To A Low Volume

Loud music can not only damage your hearing after extended periods of time, but it can also be a major distraction that makes it impossible to hear sound cues from the external environment.

Vehicles like ambulances or squad cars may be hundreds of feet away, but if you are at the front of a red light it is imperative that you can pick up on their relatively faint noises and move your vehicle accordingly. Your driving experience can be made much safer if you make a habit of wearing your hearing aids when out on the road.

Refraining From Multitasking While Driving

Multitasking can be a great distraction while on the road. Texting and driving can lead to car accidents that result in severe injuries. If necessary, pull up to the side of the road or into a parking lot if you encounter a problem that needs urgent attention.

Assessing The Risks Of Airbag Deployment

The head trauma caused by collision with an inflated airbag can actually cause a multitude of injuries, including hearing loss and tinnitus. The best way to reduce hearing damage from airbag deployment is to not have it deploy in the first place. Be sure to keep a safe distance from vehicles in front of you and behind you, and notice whether a car is tailing you too closely.

Avoiding Exposure To Crowded Highways

Noise pollution is an everyday occurrence that can severely impact hearing loss. Particular areas like construction sites can cause hearing loss over extended periods of time, and the vehicle you operate can affect your hearing.

Navigating large trucks can actually lead to hearing loss, as one Iranian study found that truck drivers experienced increasing degrees of hearing loss correlating to the amount of time they spent driving their vehicles. Motorcycles can also have a negative impact on how well you hear, as they are loud enough to trigger hearing loss with extensive exposure.

Paying Attention To Visual Cues

Keeping your eyes sharp while on the road is a given, but for people with hearing loss, it is especially important to use visual cues to make sense of your external environment. Pay attention to traffic signals and make use of your rearview mirror. Hearing loss makes it harder to pinpoint the relative distance of moving vehicles, so using your eyes is one of the best ways to protect yourself and those around you.

by Aaron Rodriques

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