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Hearing aids are essential items for millions of people with hearing loss. These innovative pieces of technology increase hearing capacity and spatial awareness which is also critical for driving. In addition to using sight, hearing is also how we navigate road safety. In addition to wearing hearing aids, there are several strategies you can practice to drive safely with hearing aids. Integrating the following tips can increase road safety and awareness:
- Maximize use of hearing aids. It is important to wear your hearing aids while driving. These devices give you access to more sound and allow you to hear more easily which contributes to greater awareness and safety while driving. In addition to wearing hearing aids, there are ways you can maximize their use which supports road safety. This includes:
- Get hearing aids professionally serviced. This involves having a specialist inspect and thoroughly clean your hearing aids. Getting your hearing aids professionally serviced allows you to make sure they are working optimally and it contributes to their longevity.
- Test hearing regularly. Hearing needs can change over time which means updating your hearing aid prescription. It is important to have your hearing health assessed regularly so that your hearing health is optimally supported.
- Keep extra supplies. Be sure to keep extra hearing aid batteries and supplies in your car for emergencies.
These strategies contribute to your hearing aids working optimally and effectively which
supports your hearing needs on the road.
- Get vision tested. With impaired hearing, vision becomes even more important and useful. Making sure you are able to see clearly and comfortably is a critical part of driving and road safety. There are several ways you can enhance your sense of sight including:
- Getting your eyes and vision evaluated yearly. This allows you to track your vision and identify any symptoms that may need to be treated to ensure you can see effectively.
- For those who wear glasses or contacts, it is important to check-in with your optometrist to stay up to date with your prescription.
- Make adjustments to your seat so you can see at least 10 feet ahead.
- Use polarized sunglasses and anti reflective lenses to minimize glare.
Prioritizing your vision in these ways can contribute to driving safely and comfortably.
- Make adjustments to the car. In addition to prioritizing your vision and making sure you can see effectively, there are also ways you can enhance visual aids. You can increase your access to visual cues while driving by: expanding your rearview mirror and cleaning your windshield (as well as mirrors) regularly. Other adjustments you can make to support driving with hearing aids is to adjust brake and gas pedals to make them easier to press.
- Minimize distractions. Another useful tip is to minimize distractions while driving as much as possible so that you are able to fully focus on driving safely. This includes reducing noise exposure while driving which can not only strain hearing but also be distracting. You can minimize noise by lowering (and powering off) volume settings on music or podcasts playing in the car, driving with the windows rolled up to reduce environmental noise, asking others to talk quietly, and not talking on the phone while driving. Additionally, avoid multitasking while driving which can also be distracting. This includes not texting or using the phone while driving – pull over if you need to make a phone call.
- Use Bluetooth technology. Another way you can maximize your hearing aids is to utilize Bluetooth technology. This feature utilizes Bluetooth technology to wirelessly connect to other audio sources. So you can pair your hearing aids with the system in your car to stream audio directly to your device. This allows you to access things like GPS navigation. Hearing directions in this way is much easier because your hearing aids process the sound it receives in the specific ways it is programmed to do so to meet your hearing needs.
Practicing these strategies can help you drive safely with hearing aids. In addition to these tips, visit your hearing healthcare provider to discuss the accessories and technologies available to you. There are numerous features you can access to support your hearing and driving. Contact us today to learn more!