Driving With Hearing Loss
Date posted: March 2, 2017
Driving with hearing loss is not illegal, folks who are deaf or hard of hearing can get a drivers license at 16 just like anyone else. However, like many other activities for people with hearing loss some extra precautions should be taken.
Driving is mainly done with your eyes, but your hearing can be a big help too especially in alerting you to danger before you can see it. The inability to hear high-pitched tones, like sirens from emergency vehicles, or railroad signs or horns of other vehicles can put you and others on the road at risk.
It takes the full range of our hearing to be able to identify the sound of a siren and decide where it is coming from so we can take appropriate action. It is in your best interest to wear your hearing aid while driving with hearing loss in order to help you detect approaching emergency vehicles. One nice thing about emergency vehicles is that they are required by law to have their lights on whenever their siren is going, so you may be able to see them coming before you hear them.
Other experiences in the car do not come with bright flashing warning lights. For example, you are backing out of parking spot and another car honks to let you know they are coming. You don’t hear the honk and you can’t see them coming. This is a good recipe for an accident. Unfortunately for those with hearing loss it is usually our hearing that alerts us to danger in the car before we can see it.
Another aspect of driving that can cause the hard of hearing problems is warning sounds inside your car. The ding of the seatbelt warning, or an improperly closed door, or you’ve left the keys in the ignition. These are not always the most dangerous situations, but they will definitely cause a headache when you realize your keys are locked in your car.
The best option for keeping yourself and others on the road safe is to wear your hearing aids in the car. Even if the noise of the moving car can be annoying it is really the only way for you to hear danger before you see it. Beyond that you must also train yourself to keep your eyes peeled more so than you already should.