Dr. Benson completed her audiology fellowship at the California Ear Institute, Palo Alto, CA, and received her Doctor of Audiology degree at Salus University, Osborne School of Audiology, Elkins Park, PA. Prior to that, she received her Master of Science degree in Communication Disorders from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, CA.
You may be surprised how much you rely on your sense of hearing while driving. From hearing the horn of another driver to hearing emergency sirens, the ability to hear everything around you is very important.
The most common treatment for hearing loss is a hearing aid to help you hear again. There is currently no cure that will reverse your natural hearing. If you suspect your hearing is impaired, however, there may be something a doctor can do, like if there is an obstruction that can be removed from your ear or if there is an infection present.
Distractions are Dangerous
A great way to prevent issues while driving is to eliminate distractions. Modern hearing aids have great technology to cancel background noise and assist your brain in distinguishing useful sounds from noise, but the fewer distractions the better!
Hearing aids can sometimes have feedback, which is distracting. Ensuring your hearing aids are routinely maintained is important in eliminating feedback and minimizing distraction. Often maintenance only requires a light cleaning or slight adjustment to keep them working optimally.
The car radio can be distracting while driving. Lowering the volume is a good way to stay in tune with all of the sounds around you on the road, and you will be less likely to have to distract yourself with the controls while driving.
When driving with passengers, a quiet car is a safe car. It is fun to participate in discussion, but it can distract from your driving when on the road.
Open car windows can introduce a lot of road noise, so keeping them closed can help you to concentrate and focus on driving.
Focus is key: put all other activities, such as eating, texting, talking or applying make-up, on hold until you reach your destination. This habit is well worth your safety.
Driving is Mostly Visual
When one of our senses is impaired, it is important to rely on our other senses. Driving is highly visual anyway, so always make sure your vision is in tip-top shape, keeping glasses prescriptions current and wearing your corrective eyewear at all times.
Extra car accessories, such as a larger rear-view mirror, are inexpensive and can make a big difference in accident avoidance when the time comes. Consider upgrading for more visual coverage.
Always keep an eye out for emergency vehicles and flashing lights while driving.
Driving is a big responsibility, whether or not you suffer from hearing loss. Be sure to have regular hearing screenings so you have one less thing to worry about on the road! Happy travels!