Driving with Hearing Loss

The community was treated recently to a special presentation by MSgt Bob Skalla, Police Community Relations Officer, Oklahoma City Police Department and Ms. Sheryl Presley of the Oklahoma County TRIAD unit illustrating best practices for those of us with hearing loss who also drive.  You may be pleased to know that studies indicate that drivers with hearing loss cause no greater risk than other drivers, but for certain we must be more conscious and aware of our surroundings.  In fact, it could improve our skills because we are accustomed to being alert and observant.

At the bimonthly January session with Mr. Skalla and Sheryl, the Hough Ear Hearing and Speech Center provided attendees with a visor card

to use if  one should be stopped by a patrol or involved in an accident (oh! that would never happen).  It simply says “Driver is Hard of  Hearing” and has special communication needs.  The card also lists Communication Tips for the officer.  Examples are:

  • Eliminate background noise or wait for a pause in traffic
  • Look directly at me when you speak
  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Be sure there is enough light for me to see your face, but do not shine a light in my face
  • If all fails, write down key words.  (That does NOT mean a ticket, Officer!)

Other tips for a driver with hearing challenges are:

  • Keep the music volume low while driving
  • Do not try to read the passenger’s lips while driving (You got to be kidding me!)
  • Check the turn signal often to sure it is not on
  • Wear your hearing devices while you drive
  • Watch for flashing reflections which could indicate emergency vehicles in the area
  • Ask passengers to be patient with you and keep interactive conversation at a minimum while you are driving.

This meeting was held in the beautiful Paul K. Thompson Event Center at JASCO on Memorial Drive.  A special thanks to JASCO for their generosity and assistance.

Our next clinic session will be in March.

                                        Evening:  Monday, March 27th, 6:00pm    

                                        Day:  Tuesday, March 28, 2:00pm

Along with a community topic, providers from the Hough Ear Hearing & Speech Center will be on hand to assist with hearing loss questions, cochlear implant inquiries and feedback, and how we can better serve you.

Watch this site or call our office 405-947-6030 with location and topic.   It is sure to be fun and informative.

                        –Gloria Evans, Patient Advocate & Outreach