New driver, driving with hearing aids...

Evie Yancey

New Member
I've been half deaf in both ears for as long as I can remember, and everyone knew that one day I was going to start driving. Now I'm 16 and I've been driving for about a year. But I have some concerns... The law currently requires that I wear my hearing aids while driving, similar to someone needing glasses to drive. The problem is I've never been used to the little noises my hearing aids pick up on the road, this means I can't concentrate on the road while I drive, and call me crazy, but I don't want to start an accident. (I have never liked my hearing aids, I feel like I can get around just fine without them, but my mother finds the idea of me driving without my aids kinda scary.) Does anyone have or has had a similar encounter with hearing aids and driving? What do you do?
Do you have your hearing aids in or is it easier to drive without them? Do you turn off the music (which personally helps me concentrate), maybe no one is allowed to talk in the car while you're driving? If I do drive without my hearing aids I just need to go the local DMV and have it put on my license. (I'm going to be honest though and admit that if I'm the only person in the car, I don't have my hearing aids in and I feel that I do much better.)
Thanks for any advice, tips, tricks, etc.
-Evie
 

Secretblend

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Some license I've had say on the back hearing aids or outside mirrors required. I would check your license and see what it says. If it doesn't say anything, I would say you can drive with or without hearing aids.

I just scanned Utah drivers handbook and didn't find anything regarding hearing aids or etc.

I've driven with hearing aids and without and don't find one better than other. I mostly do drive with hearing aids on cause I listen to radio when driving.
 

Lysander

Well-Known Member
Deaf people drive without hearing aids every day. I think it would be more problematic to force you into a situation that you're less familiar with than it would be to drive without the aids. Personally I'm hearing, and I listen to the music in my car so loud I can't hear anything going on it traffic anyway. I don't really know what things you need to hear to be able to drive. Maybe a car honking at you if you try to change lanes without looking. But even that is mitigated by being a little more careful.
 

Ausrider

Member
Premium Member
Strange law, I usually wear mine when driving but if im on my motorbike i still wear them but only so i can listen to music
 

sonocativo

Well-Known Member
I don't believe you are required to wear them, falls under the ADA. Yes glasses are needed because you have to see ( cant drive blind ) but hearing, that's discrimination if a Deaf person can drive without any aids.... Ive never had to deal with that, yes when I got my first license it was Motorcycle only, didn't get a vehicle license until I was 21, they put a restriction on the paper for outside mirrors but someone goofed and it was never put on my license... Now I have the J88 added on my license which informs the officer by running my plates that I am deaf ( you have to request your license connected to the plates in the system for it to show up ) otherwise they wont know till they run your drivers license. I know Mo, IL, AR, IN, KY, GA and TX don't require any hearing devices as Ive been there.... Never heard of that before by anyone else on various deaf sites as well, also request the DEAF placards to carry in the car to communicate with any officers. I am picking up a few soon myself.
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
I've never heard of the 'requirement for hearing aids' either. Have never come across that in PA, CO, NC and SC (I wasn't in AZ and GA long enough). Wonder what state requires that?

Do what makes you comfortable, I really don't think there's any hard and fast rule. I've driven without my hearing aids turned on or IN my ears and with them. In the last 10 years I've taken to driving with my hearing aids but hooking my DIA cord into my phone (or previously my MP3 player), switch to my T-coil program and crank up music plus now Google Maps as for whatever reason it's easier to hear the directions that way.
 

sonocativo

Well-Known Member
I've never heard of the 'requirement for hearing aids' either. Have never come across that in PA, CO, NC and SC (I wasn't in AZ and GA long enough). Wonder what state requires that?

Do what makes you comfortable, I really don't think there's any hard and fast rule. I've driven without my hearing aids turned on or IN my ears and with them. In the last 10 years I've taken to driving with my hearing aids but hooking my DIA cord into my phone (or previously my MP3 player), switch to my T-coil program and crank up music plus now Google Maps as for whatever reason it's easier to hear the directions that way.
Although I can hear with CI, I do drive full deaf from time to time, nothing bothers me or anything , my only concerns are trying to make an emergency call if in an accident without my CI's.... but as far as driving, doesn't make a difference if I can hear or not as I'm very aware of my surroundings.
 

zeefour

Active Member
What state are you in? I'm in Colorado and I've never been required to wear my HAs while driving, even when I got my permit when I was 15. It says I have corrective lenses (contacts and glasses) on the back of my license and I'm required to wear those (but I've never been asked when I've been pulled over, I'm legally blind without them though so I always wear one or the other) As far as HAs my license doesn't even mention those. Sometimes I have them on, a lot of times especially in the morning I don't, I won't put mine on until I get to work or school. It's so weird that some places would require that (IMO)
 

sonocativo

Well-Known Member
What state are you in? I'm in Colorado and I've never been required to wear my HAs while driving, even when I got my permit when I was 15. It says I have corrective lenses (contacts and glasses) on the back of my license and I'm required to wear those (but I've never been asked when I've been pulled over, I'm legally blind without them though so I always wear one or the other) As far as HAs my license doesn't even mention those. Sometimes I have them on, a lot of times especially in the morning I don't, I won't put mine on until I get to work or school. It's so weird that some places would require that (IMO)
exactly, it falls into the discrimination category because it does not affect how someone drives....period.
 

zeefour

Active Member
exactly, it falls into the discrimination category because it does not affect how someone drives....period.
Yeah. This topic came up in my ASL class (I grew up with signed English, which sucks but anyway) The students were amazed that it wasn't on my license/I could drive by myself whenever I wanted. Then when the topic of cops treating DHH people badly (anything from calling me and my Deaf friends liars when we were pulled over as teens to DHH men esp of color getting injured and or killed) and the hearing kids asked why we shouldn't just have being DHH put on our licenses. I don't like the idea of the discrimination that could stem from that.
 

Jane B.

Well-Known Member
Although I can hear with CI, I do drive full deaf from time to time, nothing bothers me or anything , my only concerns are trying to make an emergency call if in an accident without my CI's.... but as far as driving, doesn't make a difference if I can hear or not as I'm very aware of my surroundings.
Do you have a captioning app on your cell phone? I use InnoCaption most of the time for just regular calls but they are all supposed to have a way to connect to 911. I have never had to make a 911 call so I don't know how well it works.
 

Barbaro

Well-Known Member
I used to drive through Utah for vacations. Is that a new law? I know several Deaf drivers who currently live up there in Utah don't wear hearing aids. They didn't say anything about this.
 

Jane B.

Well-Known Member
I can't find the law date but several years after I bought a 1978 Pontiac Gran Prix I had to add a passenger side mirror. Since the car came with one on the drivers side I got two and changed that one to match the one being put on the passenger side. Without hearing problems you still don't need both as far as I can find.
 

LoveBlue

Well-Known Member
Do you have a captioning app on your cell phone? I use InnoCaption most of the time for just regular calls but they are all supposed to have a way to connect to 911. I have never had to make a 911 call so I don't know how well it works.
Many states now 911 texting.
 

peekaboo

Well-Known Member
i dont wear my HAs driving, i mean why should we? if you are profoundly deaf, are they going to pull you over for not hearing while driving. what absurd.
 

Tetracyclone

Active Member
Try using your hearing aids while someone else is driving. Those rod sounds are fascinating in their own right. At the same time, I hear you that you find them distracting, so going without the HAs is a better idea. i do not allow passengers to talk to me while i am driving, or if my partner does, since he cannot remember I am HH, I just ignore him.
 
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