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Do you have hearing loss? You may not even realize it, which can become a real hazard not only for us but everyone else on the road. Hearing loss becomes increasingly more common as we age. One in three people over the age of 65 will have hearing loss and by the time we reach 75, hearing loss will affect around half of us. If you are approaching this demographic we know that your car keys also may feel like the key to your autonomy. We all just want to make sure you and everyone else is safe!
Hearing aids can enhance your ability to hear approaching sounds and may bridge the gap in hearing impairments—increasing your reaction time to oncoming sounds and your general alertness when out and about as well as behind the wheel. It may be helpful to think of hearing loss as a team sport, that everyone on the road is playing in order to keep us all safe. Play your part by making sure you wear your hearing aids every time you get behind the wheel. Still, even with hearing aids it may take extra focus to ensure optimal safety. Here are some tips to help you keep you and everyone else safe when you drive.
Wear Your Glasses
All your senses come into play when driving- your vision being one of the most essential. Do you need glasses? Most people do as we age. In fact, 93% of people between the ages of 65 and 75 wear corrective lenses. Along with your hearing aids, make sure you wear your glasses to give you more time to see things such as obstacles, road signs and more and give you plenty of time to react.
Give Yourself Extra Time
We all have experienced the perils of being in a rush. We often don’t take as much time to focus on the task at hand and end up having to do a task all over again. Unfortunately for drivers we don’t always have a chance to redo an accident. Forbes Advisor calculated one fatal car accident occurs every 15 minutes in the United States in 20. This resulted in a total of 38,824 deaths! Give yourself plenty of time when you get behind the wheel. Getting somewhere on time is not worth the risks to your health.
Hearing aids are programmed individually for you based on your last hearing exam so only the sounds you struggle with are amplified. They are incredibly helpful in improving connection and sense of environment in your everyday life. Still, even with these functions it will take extra focus in order to be your safest behind the wheel. Make sure that you minimize distractions when you can.
Keep the car radio turned off or low so you can hear any sound that may be on your route. It is also a good idea to avoid speaking on the phone, even hands free as studies show that people are less focused on the road. Along this vein if you have other riders in the car ask them to keep conversation to a minimum so you can focus and use AC instead of open windows on hot days to keep the ambient sound as minimal as possible.
It may be helpful when an option to stream GPS directions directly from your smartphone to your hearing aids via Bluetooth. This can eliminate the need to glance at your phone while driving and receiving directions. When Bluetooth is not an option, make sure your phone is securely mounted on the dash so you don’t have to hold it.
Wear Your Hearing Aids
This may seem like a no brainer, but all too often people with hearing loss make the choice or simply forget to wear their hearing aids behind the wheel. Hearing aids work best when you wear them every day, from the moment you wake till the time you go to sleep, only to be removed when bathing or swimming. When you don’t wear your hearing aids you won’t be prepared for unexpected events and of course being prepared is the most essential key for safely operating a motor vehicle.
Without hearing aids it increases the likelihood that you’ll miss important sounds such as a warning honk from a car in your blind spot, or the emergency sirens coming towards the intersection.
Schedule a Hearing Exam
It’s important that you get your hearing checked annually to make sure your hearing aids are doing the most possible to keep you and everyone else on the road safe. Call today to schedule your next appointment!