Safe driving tips for those with hearing impairments
Many believe that the only sense that is necessary to have working at full capacity while driving is that of sight. While obviously this is incredibly important in order to see where you are going and avoid obstacles and pedestrians, it is not the only sense that needs to be working. To ensure a safe journey, it is also necessary that your ears are working effectively.
With the myriad of noises that occur on the road from car horns to police and ambulance sirens, if you don’t hear a warning sound you could be a serious risk to the safety of yourself and others. While driving with hearing loss is not obstructed or regulated by any particular law, many studies have raised concerns that poor hearing can have an adverse effect on driving.
Common warning signs that could indicate hearing loss
- Television or radio needs to be turned up very loud
- Difficulty hearing family and friends
- Certain sounds are muted or dull
- Can’t hear car horns
- Miss random words in conversations
If you feel that you are suffering from any of the above, it can only help to take a free hearing test to check the condition of your ears. If you take a test and are found to have a hearing impairment, then the usual treatment is to be fitted with a hearing aid. While in the past such devices were ugly and obtrusive, they are now much neater – some models can even sit solely in the ear canal.
If you have a hearing impairment and do not seek any sort of help, it may have some negative effects on your driving. For example, if you are travelling and fail to pull over for an ambulance, fire engine or police car, you could seriously endanger the lives of others. Hearing is also tightly linked to spotting other obstructions along the way too. If you are coming up to a tight bend, the chances are you will hear a car driving too fast on the other side of the road around the bend before you see it, so it allows you to prepare to brake should a hazard occur. Obviously in such a situation, if your hearing is impaired you would not be able to prepare to brake and your reaction time will be cut, meaning an accident is more likely to happen.
Another situation where poor hearing could affect you is in a car park. If you are reversing out of a space and don’t hear someone else coming up behind you after checking your blind spot, you could cause a serious accident. As you can see, there are a variety of reasons why having fully-functioning hearing can aid your driving.