Latest posts by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)
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Some activities will come naturally to you with the assistance of hearing aids. You can insert your aids and move around the house easily, newly aware of the sound that you had been missing for so long. You will likely notice things you hadn’t before, including the neighbor’s dog or cars whizzing by on the street just outside your door. You can lower the sound of the radio, music, or television to a more reasonable level without sacrificing your ability to hear. Although your home environment can be modified to accommodate your own hearing in many ways, a busy street or highway is not the same in this regard. You will need to get used to a new array of sound when you merge onto a busy street while wearing your aids. A few helpful tips can get you on the road comfortably and safely with the use of your aids for even greater efficiency and precaution as a driver.
Take It Slow
When you first receive your hearing aids, you will probably not want to immediately insert them and merge onto a packed freeway. Take some time to get used to the new array of sounds you can hear. Some people find that they are especially jumpy in the days following new hearing assistance. Sounds you weren’t aware of are suddenly quite loud, and they can take you by surprise. As you might imagine, this newfound ability to hear can come as quite a surprise on the road. Honking horns, screeching tires, and the sound of construction are all new sounds that might take you off guard on the road.
When you have new hearing aids, take a moment to sit in a quiet place like a driveway and make sure the volume is set to an appropriate level. The hum of the motor will likely be much louder to you. If you can, bring along a loved one who can quietly sit next to you for assistance, but this might be a good time to leave children and noisy pets at home. Begin with an easy drive on a slow-moving street in a neighborhood without much traffic. You’ll notice a wide array of sound right away, and this kind of driving is a good way to get used to your new aids.
Avoid Unnecessary Sound
Although you may return to noisier environments with time and comfort, it is best to leave the radio off and loud, engaging conversation out of the picture at first. Over time you may return to comfortable driving with the radio playing, even while you sing along. Yet, at first you’ll want to leave the car itself as quiet as possible. Children can be especially distracting when they get going, so either find a way to drive without children in the car, or enforce a strict rule of a “quiet place” at first. Pets can also be driving distractions, so it’s best to keep them in a cage or harnessed in a seatbelt for some time.
Test Your Awareness
When you drive, pay close attention to the sounds you hear at varying levels. A jackhammer, for instance, can sound incredibly loud with your hearing aids in place. Emergency vehicles will come into your awareness much quicker now, giving you ample time to pull out of the way of ambulances and police vehicles. The most important thing is to take it easy, not becoming alarmed by these new sounds but taking them on as part of your newfound safe driving routine. These sounds are truly important to hear, so your hearing aids are doing an essential task of keeping you aware of hazards and emergency vehicles on the road.
With a little practice and some safe guidelines in place, you will find that driving with hearing aids is no problem at all, and you’ll quickly become used to the range of sound you encounter. Indeed, being able to hear clearly while driving is a way to assist the sense of sight to drive safely and to avoid dangerous situations and accidents. After a transitional period, you’ll find a whole new awareness to your driving environment, helping keep yourself, loved ones, and strangers out of harm’s way.
Visit Us at South Shore Hearing Center
If you have experienced changes in your hearing abilities, it is important to take a hearing test. Hearing tests are the first step to improving your overall health – and to ensuring safety while on the road. Contact our team at South Shore Hearing Center today to schedule a consultation.