Until you experience hearing loss, you may not realize how much we depend on sounds when we are behind the wheel.

Although driving is primarily a visual experience, our sense of hearing often comes into play on the open road as well. Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte offers the following techniques to help minimize the impact of hearing loss while driving in certain scenarios:

Talking With Your Passengers

It’s not easy to effectively communicate with others in the vehicle while you’re concentrating on driving – especially if you typically rely on lip-reading. Assistive devices such as the Phonak Roger Pen or another remote microphone can be helpful. Passengers speak directly into the device, which sends the audio directly to your hearing aids. It’s most important to keep your eyes on the road while driving, so if you need to have an in-depth conversation, it’s best to pull the vehicle over to a safe spot.

Siren Safety

A common fear of drivers with hearing loss is they’ll be unable to hear emergency vehicles approaching and know to pull over or not proceed through intersections. It’s a valid concern – no one wants to interfere with a life-or-death situation or get in the way of first responders. The best way to avoid this is to remain vigilant with your eyes, taking stock of what is going on around your vehicle at all times. Check your rearview and side mirrors frequently to see who may be approaching you – your surroundings can change almost instantly. It also helps to ask your passengers to listen for approaching sirens.

License and Registration, Please

It’s bound to happen at some point – most of us get pulled over by police officers on occasion. Being prepared will help you be more comfortable in case you see those blue and red lights flashing behind your vehicle. Simply inform the officer of your hearing loss immediately. You may also consider purchasing a “deaf visor card” to help them understand the situation and your ideal form of communication.

Beware of Honkers

Some drivers with hearing loss worry about being able to hear the honks of other drivers, making them feel more vulnerable while driving. Driving defensively and keeping your eyes on the road and on your mirrors will help you avoid honks, which are usually signs of annoyance rather than an emergency.

If you suspect you have hearing loss that may be impacting your ability to drive safely, please schedule an appointment with Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte or call us at 704-412-7975.

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