Drive Safely: How Good Hearing Can Save Your Life



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What did you say?

Have you ever wondered why people don’t speak clearly and you have to ask them to repeat themselves?

Get tired of your spouse telling you to “listen when I talk to you”

Ever ask yourself “where’s that noise coming from”?

If you replied “YES” to any of these questions, you may be among the many people experiencing some degree of hearing loss. You may require the services of a licensed audiologist.

As we age, it’s normal for our hearing to become less capable than when young. Some of us have a family history of hearing loss as we age.

When it comes to driving, we depend on hearing to help us be aware of situations that arise out of normal driving environments. Things like honking horns, engine and mechanical noise, emergency vehicles and other sounds help inform us of the road activity around us.

I took an AARP Driver Safety class recently and found it to be very helpful in assessing my own driving habits. I highly recommend it.

I would like to share with you the Hearing Tips found in the class handbook. Which is where this list comes from.

Editor’s note: The following was taken from page 17 of Unit 2 of the AARP Driver Safety Workbook.

In General…

  • Be alert to changes to your hearing.
  • Have your hearing checked regularly.
  • Visit your physician if you think you have hearing loss.
  • Give yourself more time to get used to a new hearing aid.

Before you drive…

  • Consider adaptive devices on your vehicle such as a wide rear-view mirror.
  • Make sure your left and right side view mirrors are properly adjusted.
  • Consider leaving your window partially open so you can hear outside sounds more clearly.

While driving…

  • Check your mirrors frequently to observe the traffic around you and remain alert for the flashing lights of emergency vehicles.
  • Watch for trains or flashing lights wherever train tracks cross the road.
  • Occasionally check your turn signal indicator light on your dashboard to make sure it is not left in an “on” position.
  • Minimize the volume level on radio, CD, or cassette player so it is not distracting; or turn it off.
  • If passengers’ talking distracts you, ask them to limit their conversations to a minimal or to speak more gently.
  • Adjust the air conditioner or heater fan to the lowest possible setting.

With the increase in traffic, driving has become more challenging for most of us, especially those of us who are getting older.

The AARP Safety Driving course can certainly help in sharpening our driving skills and become aware of the risks involved to driving in today’s traffic.

For information, please visit the AARP Driver Safety website.

Bon voyage, and watch out for those speed limits!