Latest posts by Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)
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As you get older, there are certain challenges you have to face. Its harder to turn your head and your body, your reaction time might be a little longer and your perceptions might be a bit off. But if you are aware of your limitations and you follow the rules of the road, you shouldn’t have issues driving with hearing devices. Remember, always make sure you get a yearly hearing evaluation at Professional Hearing Services. Let’s go over a few tips to make sure you are driving safely on the road.
Make sure you can see
Get your vision checked regularly. A number of vision issues, like cataracts, can arise and you might need treatment. Since you can’t hear as well as you used to, keeping your vision sharp will keep you safe on the road. Make sure you have updated prescriptions for your contact lens and glasses. Polarized sunglasses and anti-reflective lenses can be used to reduce the glare.
Adjust your seat to make sure you are sitting completely upright with your back supported. This will make sure you have the correct posture so you can visualize at least 10 feet in front of you. If you have trouble with your eyes adjusting in the dark as you age, stop driving at night, and always be on the lookout for emergency vehicles or flashing lights if you have difficulty hearing sirens.
Pay attention to your reaction time
You’ve slowed down a little as you aged, there’s no getting around that. Your reaction time and attention span have likely slowed down a little, too. But don’t over compensate and cause traffic problems. Studies show seniors with slower reaction times tend to brake too early and that can cause a collision. Be mindful of the distance between you and the stop line or between you and the car in front of you, and react accordingly.
That used to be second nature, but now you need to train your mind to pay more attention to distances. Avoid high traffic times if they make you nervous or find routes with less traffic. Be extra vigilant in scanning the road ahead to anticipate possible problems.
Adjust for your physical limitations
Changes in your body can get in the way of safe driving. If stiffness and pain are troubling you and getting in the way of you driving, consult a doctor. Drive a car with large mirrors and have them positioned correctly so you can see clearly, and won’t need to shoulder check as often. There is also some assistive equipment for steering and for foot pedals if you need them. If you want to stay on top of your physical limitations, exercise regularly, and let this physical activity keep your reflexes sharp.
Check your medication warnings
Carefully read the labels and the direction inserts in your medications to see if there are any warnings about driving. If it says don’t drive while taking the medication, then don’t. Avoid driving if there are certain times of the day that you feel sleepy because of your medications, and don’t risk driving if you are unsure about the effects of any medicine you are taking.
Get your hearing checked
Healthy hearing is part of safe driving. Create an environment that will help you hear, and keep your radio turned off if the sound distracts you while driving. If you are using GPS, make sure you have the address punched in and the sound turned up so you don’t have to do any of that while driving. Driving with passengers? Ask them to keep conversations to a minimum so you can focus on driving safely.
By following these tips, you can drive safely with hearing aids. Don’t risk having your driver’s license suspended because you couldn’t hear something, but visit us at Professional Hearing Services to service your devices, and learn about all the amazing features you can use to help you hear behind the wheel. Hearing devices are marvels of technology and they can make a world of difference if you are struggling to hear. Catch every warning siren, car honk, or rattle under the hood, with a quality pair of hearing aids from Professional Hearing Services.