Drivers with hearing loss in Phoenix must be extra vigilant when heading out in their vehicles. If you have hearing aids, don’t leave home without them – to borrow a phrase from a popular TV commercial. Other tips will help ensure you have a safe journey, whether you’re just traveling a few blocks to pick up milk from the grocery store or hitting the interstate for a longer trip.
Why Hearing is Essential When Driving
Good drivers rely on more than simply their eyes when they slide behind the wheel. Hearing is every bit as essential; sirens from emergency vehicles and honking horns alert you to oncoming hazards that you might not spot quickly enough. Poor hearing won’t interfere with your ability to drive, but it can impact your safety.
Drivers with hearing loss in Phoenix should practice the following tips to make sure they reach their destination safely.
- Visit your Phoenix audiologist. If you are experiencing signs of hearing loss but haven’t yet scheduled an appointment with a hearing specialist in Phoenix, don’t delay! Hearing loss doesn’t just make driving more dangerous; it impacts many areas of your everyday life. Left untreated, it can lead to a range of physical, social and psychological health issues.
- Avoid distractions. Distracted drivers were involved in 3,500 traffic fatalities in 2016 and 390,000 injuries in 2015, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Distractions come in many forms and include both inanimate objects and people. Make it a habit to adhere to the following practices when driving in order to cut down on distractions.
- Turn down the volume. Whether you’re listening to music, an audio book or your favorite podcast, keep the volume turned down when driving. Audio played too loudly interferes with your concentration and may prevent you from hearing important sounds when driving.
- Limit conversations with others. It’s nice to have passengers along for company, but too much talking can be a distraction, causing your attention to waver from the road. Let any companions know that your hearing impairment makes paying attention to driving extra important and politely request you save conversations for when you reach your destination.
- Close the windows. Cruising down the highway with the windows rolled down and a fresh, cooling breeze blowing through your hair is invigorating – but also noisy. Keep your windows closed (the same holds true for a sun- or moonroof) to ensure you are able to hear sirens and other sounds intended to alert you to danger. If you’re too warm, turn on the A/C.
- Keep your cellphone in your pocket. More traffic accidents resulting from distracted driving result from inappropriate cellphone use than anything else. Unless there’s an emergency, phone calls can wait. The same applies to texting. If you’re relying on Google Maps for directions, make sure the voice-activation feature is on; turn-by-turn directions will eliminate your need to look at the screen.
- Visual cues are important. Good vision will help compensate for your hearing loss. Make sure you schedule regular eye exams and always wear corrective lenses when driving. You might try one of these additional tips to help improve your driving safety. cues are important to all drivers but play an even bigger role in drivers with hearing loss.
- Use a full-view rearview mirror. Full-view rearview mirrors expand your field of vision. They won’t completely eliminate blind spots, but definitely make it easier to spot driving hazards, particularly in parking lots and other areas frequented by pedestrians.
- Pay attention to your backup camera. Many of today’s vehicles are equipped with backup cameras; learn to pay attention to these, as they can alert you to other cars and trucks, pedestrians and additional hazards you might have difficulty spotting on your own.
- Take advantage of reflections. Reflective surfaces such as windows can alert you to flashing emergency lights and other driving hazards. Keep an eye out for these when driving through congested areas.
Your Phoenix audiologist is happy to provide you with additional tips for driving safely with hearing loss. Feel free to schedule an appointment to learn more.