4 Helpful Ways to Make Driving While Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Easier
First, let’s dispel a common myth: people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing CAN drive, and many are excellent drivers. Laws passed in all 50 states guarantee the right to drive. However, it’s important to take precautions to keep everyone safe on the road.
Here are 4 helpful ways to make driving while deaf or hard-of-hearing easier.
1. Have Your Eyesight Checked Regularly
All drivers need to be aware of what is going on around them, but deaf or hard-of-hearing drivers need to be especially vigilant when it comes to eyesight. Remember to have your eyes checked regularly and adjust prescriptions as needed. You might also consider buying a wide-angle rearview and side mirrors to further increase visibility as you drive.
2. Remove Distractions
Ever experienced hearing aid feedback or “whistling” while driving? Ouch. If you wear a hearing aid, you could experience problems related to vehicle electronics or designs. Have them checked regularly. Other tips to help hard-of-hearing drivers keep focused on the road include:
- Do not sign and/or turn to see the faces and lips of passengers
- Do not check your phone and/or respond to text messages
- Turn the radio volume down
- Close the car windows to eliminate road noise
- Ask passengers to speak quietly or not at all
3. Plan Ahead for Car Trouble
Take a cue from the Boy Scouts, and always be prepared! Consider how you would contact your insurance company or roadside assistance provider during an emergency situation, breakdown or fender bender. Do they provide a specific way for deaf or hard-of-hearing customers to contact them? Conduct a test of the numbers to check on their response time. You’ll be glad you did.
4. Use Visor Cards
Have you ever been pulled over by a police officer or needed to speak with another driver after an accident? Many situations can arise where you might need to convey your hearing status to a stranger. Keep a visor card in your car explaining that you are deaf or hard-of-hearing. It’s an especially good idea after dark, when you may not be able to see well enough to read someone’s lips.
Free visor cards are available for download here: