How to Drive Safely When You’re Dealing With Hearing Loss

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

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

Even if some adjustments need to be made to the volume of the radio, hearing loss shouldn’t mean a competent driver needs to quit driving.

For people who commute frequently the question of whether hearing loss creates a threat while driving is a significant consideration. Is your hearing loss making you a unsafe driver?

Think beyond driving…

Early stage hearing loss likely won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it goes untreated, driving will become increasingly unsafe.

There is a strong link between hearing health and brain health, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Struggling to hear forces the brain to use valuable resources just to comprehend what individuals are saying. It has a negative impact 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 with hearing loss?

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

Guidelines for driving if you have hearing loss

You can still be a safe driver if you make some adjustments and follow these guidelines.

Quit procrastinating

Visit us, have your hearing tested, and consider how hearing aids can change things for you. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.

When you drive, be more observant

You will still need to be aware of what’s going on around your vehicle even if you have hearing aids.

Don’t let it get too noisy in your car

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

Learn to look at your dashboard frequently

When you drive with hearing loss, the little things can mount up. You may not be capable of hearing that clicking noise that your turn signal makes, for example. So routinely look at your dashboard because your eyes will need to compensate.

Keep your vehicle well maintained

You may not hear that rattling noise under the hood anymore or the warning bell telling you there is a problem with your engine or another critical component. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced routinely. For individuals with hearing loss, this is crucial, even more so than it would be for someone without hearing loss.

Watch the other cars closely

This is a no-brainer for everybody but if you have hearing loss it’s even more poignant. You might not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should as well. Look to see how other drivers are responding to their surroundings to get hints on what you might not be hearing.

Can you drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will typically adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is possible to drive safely even if your hearing is beginning to go. If the thought of this makes you anxious, though, then it’s time to consult us and find a solution to improve your situation, like wearing hearing aids.

Come in and let us help you better your quality of life by exploring 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.