Tips for driving safely with hearing aids

Before you go

  • Maintain your hearing aids. Feedback from hearing aids is a major distraction, regardless of your activity. Visit your hearing care practitioner regularly, at least every six months, for check-ups and cleanings. Tell them if you’re experiencing feedback or other concerns.

  • Be sure that your hearing aid batteries are fresh. We recommend that hearing aid wearers always carry a spare set of batteries along when leaving the house. If your batteries begin to signal that they are low while you’re driving, do not attempt to change them while the vehicle is in motion. Instead, pull over to a safe area and change them.

While driving

  • Reduce the volume on the car radio. Not only is keeping volume low good for your remaining sense of hearing, you’ll also have more mental energy to concentrate on other noises around you, especially those important for your safety. Here’s a tip: Adjust the volume before you set out on the road so you don’t have to fiddle with the controls while the vehicle is moving.

  • Ask passengers to keep the conversation quiet and to a minimum. While it’s always fun to be part of the conversation, participating in any activity other than driving means your attention isn’t fully focused on the road. If you are having trouble hearing the other people in the car, either as the driver or as the passenger, talk to your hearing care practitioner about technology options that might be available and useful to you.

  • Keep the car window closed to minimize road noise. Today’s vehicles are built to reduce road noise, which is good news for those with hearing loss. Anytime you can reduce the variety of noises competing for your attention, the better you’ll be able to hear the ones you need to.

  • Focus on driving, which means everything else -- like texting, eating or applying makeup -- can wait until you reach your destination. You already know this and have probably said it out loud a time or two to your children or grandchildren. Make this a habit for safety’s sake as well as to model good driving behavior to your young family members.

  • Put the phone away. We suggest you avoid speaking on the phone entirely while driving to allow you to put all of your focus on driving. However, if you must have a phone conversation, you may want to use your hearing aids’ hands-free Bluetooth option, if available. Talk to your hearing care professional about this.

  • If you are stopped by law enforcement while driving, you may wish to respectfully inform them right away that you have hearing loss and are wearing hearing aids so that they can more effectively communicate with you.

Rely on visual clues

Once distractions are minimized, you’ll have more capacity to focus on the information you’re ears are collecting along the way. Here’s how your eyes can help you:

  • Just as you do your hearing, have your eyes examined annually and wear prescription eyewear when you drive. This is important for your safety on the road as well as those who share it with you.

  • Consider investing in a larger rearview mirror, while these don't get rid of blind spots, they may help decrease the need to look over your shoulder. These accessories are available online and range in price from $10-$60. Some states, such as New York, require drivers who wear a hearing aid or can’t pass the hearing test to use a full-view rearview mirror. Check with the Department of Motor Vehicles to see if the same restriction applies in your state.

  • Look for flashing lights on approaching vehicles and at railroad crossings. In the city, use building windows and other reflective surfaces to warn you of approaching emergency vehicles. Check your rearview mirror frequently (and safely) for vehicles approaching from behind.

What is a hearing aid?

A hearing aid is a small electronic device that you wear in or behind your ear. It makes some sounds louder so that a person with hearing loss can listen, communicate, and participate more fully in daily activities. A hearing aid can help people hear more in both quiet and noisy situations. However, only about one out of five people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one.

A hearing aid has three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through a microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.

Hearing aids are primarily useful in improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people who have hearing loss that results from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear, called hair cells. This type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss. The damage can occur as a result of disease, aging, or injury from noise or certain medicines.

What Is An Audiologist?

An audiologist is a person with specialized training (at least a Master's degree in Audiology) qualified to provide professional assistance concerning communication problems associated with hearing impairment. Such an individual specializes in the prevention, identification, assessment and rehabilitation of hearing impairment.

Audiologists are certified by the American Speech/Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). ASHA awards certification to audiologists (9 months after graduation). The State of Iowa requires that audiologists meet these requirements prior to licensure from the Iowa Board of Speech/Language Pathology and Hearing Examiners. Finally, to dispense hearing aids, the audiologist must also meet the requirements of the Iowa Board of Hearing Aid Dealers.

The Latest Techonology in Hearing Aids and Accessories

High Tech Innovations Make it Easier to Hear Better

As an independent hearing aid clinic, we fit patients with hearing aids from several prestigious companies – among them Siemens, Phonak, Starkey, Widex, and ReSound. We are not locked into just one, as some franchises are. We can recommend hearing aids from the company and model that best suit your particular hearing loss.

Lately, we have found the state-of-the-art hearing aid technology at Siemens (Signia) to be excellent. The new digital hearing aids help wearers understand speech in demanding listening situations. Studies have shown that sometimes, you might even be hearing better than people with “normal hearing.”

Siemens hearing aid accessories are also here and ready to blow you away. If you have a hearing loss, hearing aids programmed to your particular loss will help you hear much better. With the newest accessories, you can also do it EASILY.

The new easyTek and easy Tek App allow you to stream a phone call, TV show or music DIRECTLY TO YOUR EARS. Worn around your neck (over or under your clothing) the easyTek acts as a remote control and streams what you want to hear directly into your ears.  [I don’t wear hearing aids, but I’d love to have the ability to do this!] Also, if you have an Android or iOS smartphone, you can also use your phone to adjust programs and the volume of your hearing aid or zoom in on the person next to you at the restaurant, AND no one will know what you’re doing. It’s that discreet!

The feedback has been amazing. Patients who have purchased Siemens hearing aids and accessories are thrilled with them.

If you want to “test drive” either new, advanced hearing aids or the latest accessories, please call us to set up an appointment (641) 683-3277! We have been in business for nearly 30 years. We love serving the public and helping people hear as well as possible. If you’re not happy, we’re not happy.