The Beatles once sang, “Baby, you can drive my car.”
But if you’ve got hearing loss in Plano, don’t even think about sliding behind the wheel without your hearing aids.
There are other steps you can take to ensure a safe trip from Point A to Point B, as well.
Hearing is Essential to Safe Driving
Having good vision is imperative for Plano drivers, but hearing is equally important.
Your safety depends upon it!
You’ll need to be alert to warning sounds such as emergency vehicle sirens and honking horns.
The following tips will help ensure a safe driving experience for those with a hearing impairment.
- Visit your Plano audiologist. Ignoring signs of hearing loss won’t make your impairment disappear. If you are experiencing symptoms, make an appointment with an audiologist in Plano as soon as possible. Untreated hearing loss significantly impacts your quality of life and increases your risk of developing a number of physical, social and psychological problems.
- Avoid distracted driving. Distracted driving was responsible for 3,500 traffic fatalities in 2016 and 390,000 injuries in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The most common driving distractions include:
- Music. Loud music interferes with your concentration and can prevent you from hearing warning sounds. Keep the volume turned down when listening to music and other forms of entertainment – podcasts and audio books can be every bit as distracting.
- Passengers. It’s nice to have company when you’re driving, but chatty passengers can distract you from driving. Let them know that, as much as you enjoy chitchat about the weather and the latest pennant race, your hearing impairment demands you pay close attention to the road.
- Open windows. Cranking open the windows on a warm day can let in a nice, refreshing breeze, but wind and road noise may interfere with your ability to stay alert. Turn on the air-conditioner instead of rolling down windows, opening the moonroof, etc.
- Cellphones. When it comes to driving distractions, cellphones are public enemy #1. More traffic accidents can be attributed to inappropriate cellphone use than anything else. Keep your phone in your pocket; there is no call that can’t wait until you reach your destination (with the exception of an emergency). Texting is even more dangerous.
- Rely on visual cues. Good vision can help compensate for hearing loss. Schedule regular eye exams and, if you require corrective lenses, always wear them when driving. Additional tips to help with visual acuity include:
- Full-view rearview mirrors. Full-view rearview mirrors allow you to see more and are especially handy when backing up and navigating parking lots and other places with a lot of pedestrians.
- Backup cameras. Many of today’s cars and trucks come with dashboard-mounted backup cameras; these help alert you to vehicles, pedestrians and other hazards you might have trouble spotting on your own.
For more tips on driving safely with hearing loss, contact your Plano hearing specialist.