Elderly Individuals who Drive with a Hearing Impairment
With changes in modern technology, elderly Americans have various methods of maintaining an active life despite having hearing loss. One in three Americans over 65 years of age have some form of hearing loss, while half of the Americans aged above 75 years have hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third most common condition in America, listed after cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
It is recommended that all people aged 50 and above should periodically get their hearing tested so that early signs of hearing loss can be detected and adequately addressed. Modern technology has led to a rise in digital hearing aids that can help you stay connected to electronic devices via Bluetooth. While changes in modern technology have improved the chances of having better hearing, it is highly recommended to use caution on the road while driving with hearing loss.
Hearing is an important sense when it comes to driving, and if you have rectified your hearing impairment through hearing aid use, ensure that your other major senses are equally active, primarily, your vision. With age, the eyesight becomes foggier due to cataracts. Make sure that your glasses or contact lenses are up to date and that you get your eyesight checked once every year or every two years.
If you have sensitivity to bright lights, you may choose to use polarized lenses on your sunglasses. Avoid driving at night or stick to well-lie streets and ensure that you are able to clearly see at least 10 feet in front of you at all times.
Maintain the remainder of your hearing by periodically checking your hearing so that you are able to hear emergency vehicles when on the road. If you have hearing aids to rectify your hearing loss, make sure that you always wear them while driving. In the car, ask the passengers to maintain their conversations at a low volume and refrain from playing music at loud volumes to avoid distractions.
Make sure you pay close attention to your attention span on the road and your reaction time to changes along the road. You can ask your car dealership to install a wider rearview mirror, power brakes and power steering to help ease your driving experience. Give yourself plenty of time to rest by taking frequent breaks on the road so that you can stretch your sore muscles and joints.
Do not drive if you take medications that cause drowsiness or dizziness. Check the potential side-effects of your current medications, especially if you intend to consume them prior to a drive. If your medications interfere with your ability to drive properly, consult your doctor immediately and refrain from driving until the effects of the medication wears off. Certain medications are also known to contribute to hearing loss, thus consult your doctor if you have had a recent change in your prescriptions that have led to a sudden decline in your hearing.