Those of us with hearing loss already face a great deal of stigma, but the idea that we’re less safe as drivers is one of the most hurtful.
Granted, when it comes to awareness on the road, the noises around us can make a world of difference: an approaching siren; a polite honk from behind; a motorbike in a blind spot.
But there is no reason hearing loss needs to compromise your safety or independence as a driver. These recommendations, courtesy of We’re All Ears, will go a long way in helping you adapt.
1. Make sure you’re following all legal requirements
If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, be sure to check in with your state’s transport authority to find out if you have any legal obligations.
In most cases there shouldn’t be any restrictions, just a friendly list of recommendations. Either way, that simple peace of mind can be an enormous source of comfort moving forward.
2. Buy an extended rear view mirror
This is something that can benefit absolutely any motorist. A wider mirror (widely available for purchase online and from car retailers) will greatly improve your spatial awareness, placing far less burden on your ears to do the hard work.
3. Eliminate unnecessary noise inside
If driving alone, this can be as simple as closing your window and keeping radio volume to a minimum.
If you are driving with passengers, take the time to ensure they’re aware of your concerns and willing to keep unnecessary conversation to a minimum. The worse the hearing loss, the greater the concentration required to listen. As such, even routine chatter can be a very genuine distraction.
4. Be extra vigilant with your indicator
It’s easy to accidentally leave an indicator on at the best of times, but when the gentle clicking is hard to hear, it becomes an enormous safety concern.
All it takes is that little extra awareness. Keep this potential oversight in mind; make the habit of double-checking after completing a turn.
5. Get your car checked up regularly
Sound is often the first clue that something might be wrong with a car. When these subtle warning signs become harder to hear, it’s all the more important to get your car on a regular maintenance routine.
6. Keep your hearing aid switched on
Finally, and most importantly: if you are selective about when you use a hearing aid, make a habit of switching it on every time you enter the car. In time, this should become just as ordinary as fastening your seatbelt – and just as important.
Not sure if a hearing aid is the right choice for you? The following independent guide is the perfect starting point. Click here to order your free copy.
This post is sponsored by Connect Hearing. It was written as we feel it delivers valuable insights into a subject important to the Starts at 60 community. To explore the full range of hearing health options available to you, please visit the Connect Hearing website.
This article was originally published as How to drive safely with hearing loss.