AARP Driving Resource Center

Hearing and Driving

Changes in your hearing can affect the way you drive. Find out how to identify them and how to take control

Our sense of hearing helps alert us to situations in or around our vehicle that may require us to respond, such as honking horns, engine sounds and emergency vehicles. Over time, our hearing may gradually diminish, and we may miss cues that we used to hear routinely.

See also: Checklist: Is your hearing affecting your driving?

Loud sounds, music or conversation levels in the vehicle can be a distraction and may take some or all of our attention away from the driving task.

Hearing Tips

  • Be alert to changes in your hearing.
  • Visit your physician if you think you have hearing loss.
  • Give yourself time to get used to a new hearing aid.
  • Adjust air conditioning/heating fan control to the lowest settings.

Before You Drive

  • Consider properly installed assistive devices on your vehicle, such as a wide rear-view mirror.
  • Make sure your left and right side-view mirrors are properly adjusted.
  • Minimize the volume level on radio, CD and other music devices.

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.
  • Ask passengers to keep conversation to a minimum if their talking distracts you.
  • Check your turn signal indicator light on the dashboard to make sure it is not left in the “on” position.

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