There is a lot more to driving safely than memorizing traffic signs and the laws of the road. Many people may think that sight is the most important sense while driving and fail to realize just how important healthy hearing is, too. Our sense of hearing alerts us to and informs us of that which is seen and unseen: vehicles and pedestrians out of our line of sight, environments, emergencies, and more.
If you wear a hearing aid, it is important to have regular checkups with our team at Clear Hearing and Audiology to ensure it is in proper working order for safe driving. While on the road, our hearing is central in many safety cues. Whether it is a horn from another vehicle or a person on a bicycle trying to get your attention, the hearing aid must be fitted properly and maintained over the years.
Schedule a Hearing Exam
Schedule an appointment with our team at Clear Hearing and Audiology to have your hearing tested. Let us know what kind of driving you do (city, highway, etc.) and how often. Do you have a daily commute by car or do you just enjoy a leisurely drive every now and then? This information will give us an indication of how to fit your hearing aid. We are familiar with the kinds of sounds you will encounter while on the road and fit the device for your optimum safety. You should then follow up with hearing aid maintenance, usually every six months to a year.
Mind Your Reaction Time and Focus
Reaction time slows as you age and adjustments need to be made accordingly. Breaking early whenever you need to make a stop can be dangerous for drivers behind and around you. Work to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you—about a car’s distance away—and drive in the right-hand lane whenever the road is too congested, like during rush hour. If another driver is in a hurry, do not feel pressured into driving faster than you think is safe; they can simply pass you. Their rush is not your rush.
A good way to focus your attention and hearing is to turn down the radio while driving, or turn it off altogether if it is too distracting. Loud music or news/talk radio is just more sound that your hearing aid has to filter through. Keeping it on a low volume allows you to hear what is really important on the road.
Make Necessary Adjustments
If you are wearing a hearing aid while driving, pay attention to how it’s serving you over time. The fit for your hearing aid is a constant conversation with your hearing healthcare professional. If your needs change while on the road or your hearing aid begins to fail you, let us know; you are not stuck with it. Try to meet with us as soon as possible to address the issue and provide us with as much information as possible. You should never be cavalier with your safety while driving. Driving with a hearing impairment is something that requires attention to detail and, often, utilization of other devices as well, including panels with different emergency indicators and sensors that can detect various sounds.
Tech is On Your Side
Conversations in the car are inevitable and enjoyable. If the driver relies on lip-reading during conversation, however, it could plunge the car into awkward silence. A safe, innovative fix is the lip-reading mirror. It sits on the dash and can be used by the driver to lip-read short phrases from the passenger while keeping eyes on the road.
For cars with more than one passenger, a solution may be the Phonak Roger Pen. Though it can be quite an investment (upwards of $600), one of the uses of the device is that passengers can speak into a wireless microphone and it streams directly into hearing aids via a Bluetooth connection. You can also connect cell phones so that you keep your hands on the wheel while taking an important phone call.
Clear Hearing and Audiology
There are many contributing factors to driving safely with hearings aids. It requires focused attention on the road and taking advantage of technological accommodations when available. Consult with us at Clear Hearing and Audiology regularly to ensure your hearing aid is always performing optimally. At the first sign that something may be wrong, do not risk your safety while driving. Make an appointment with us at Clear Hearing and Audiology today!