How to Drive Safely When You Have Hearing Loss

Older man behind the wheel of his car excited to drive since he solved his hearing loss.

Many older individuals have hearing loss, but does that mean it’s dangerous for them to drive? Driving habits vary amongst different people so the response isn’t clear-cut.

While hearing loss is a component to think about when operating a vehicle, a seasoned driver is still capable even if they need to adjust the radio volume.

Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is a critical consideration for those planning everyday commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?

Think beyond driving…

Early stage hearing loss probably won’t negatively effect your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly dangerous.

Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a definite link between hearing and brain health. The brain has to work extra hard fighting to hear, which causes it to have fewer resources for other day-to-day tasks. It has a detrimental effect on cognition and can play a role in the onset of dementia. Driving is definitely off the table for someone who has dementia.

Should you drive if you have hearing loss?

You can continue to drive with hearing loss, but it should be mentioned that safe driving requires strong observational skills including auditory awareness. The Center for Hearing and Communication reports that about 48 million Americans have substantial hearing loss, and a good portion of them still drive.

Driving with hearing loss

With some adjustments, you can still remain safe on the road. Here are some tips.

Quit procrastinating

Come in to see us for a hearing exam and find out if hearing aids will help your condition. Hearing aids can help get rid of the “should I be driving with hearing loss” question.

When you drive, be more observant

Even if you have hearing aids, you will still need to be a more aware driver to make sure you aren’t missing anything in or surrounding your vehicle.

Keep the noise down inside your car

This will help you be less distracted. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.

Remember to look at your dashboard frequently

It’s the little things that will mount up when you drive with hearing loss. You may not be capable of hearing that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for example. So regularly check your dashboard because your eyes will need to pick up the slack.

Make maintenance a priority

Perhaps your car is making a weird noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a major safety hazard, so make a point of having your car serviced regularly. For people with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for somebody without hearing loss.

Watch the other cars closely

Of course, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you might be missing something. You might not hear emergency sirens, for example, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should as well. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual clues about traffic patterns around you.

Can you drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. It is possible to be a good driver even if your hearing isn’t what it used to be because odds are your other senses will help you make the adjustment. But if you’re feeling worried about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you improve your situation, possibly with hearing aids.

Come in and let us help you better your quality of life by investigating the hearing solutions that will be suitable for your distinctive hearing situation.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.