This is How a Deaf Person Can Drive

how can a deaf person drive

The ear is an auditory organ that functions as a hearing and balance aid, which is dependent on specialized receptors known as hair cells.

The ears, just like the heart, are always working – even whilst you are asleep. For this reason, the earlobes are known to experience constant growth.

Also, the ears have the smallest and almost softest bones in the body (as the bones of the ears feel like soft bones a.k.a. biscuit bones) and they self-clean themselves.

This is the basic reason why foreign objects should not be inserted into the ears because any object that gets stuck in the eardrums could cause a blockage to your auditory nerves and can result in deafness and other serious complications.  

Deafness is a condition in which a human being losses the ability to hear. Being deaf can be total or partial. Thus, in very simple terms, being deaf means being hard of hearing.

Being deaf is a disadvantage to the overall basic functioning of the human body because it can automatically lead to the inability to talk – a.k.a. being dumb. This is why most people with auditory disabilities are deaf and dumb and may require speech therapy.

However, being deaf has its slight advantages as studies have revealed that the vision of a deaf person is 20% sharper than that of a hearing person.

The other senses of a deaf person are automatically heightened and this makes deaf people more sensitive to visual surroundings and movements.  

This, therefore, establishes the fact that a deaf person can absolutely and perfectly handle the steering wheels of a car safely. This means that a deaf person can drive, and any law that stops a deaf person from driving is only an act of discrimination (that should be condemned).

Statistics from many accidents show that most accidents are caused by hearing people and not deaf people.

Table of Contents

The Deaf Learning to Drive

how does a deaf person drive a car
Image credit: wsj.com

Effective communication is important when it comes to teaching a deaf person how to drive. Deaf people basically learn how to drive through visual aids, sign language, and very good communication.

When teaching the deaf, you have to be able to make use of hand motions, eye contact, and visual aids. Introduce car controls by tapping one of your limbs and then a car control to indicate which limb is used for that control.

Introduce functions like how to steer, use gears, acceleration, and stops (or brakes) by using visual aids so that it can help you to properly demonstrate the right method of using the functions.

Use hand signals to indicate directions and how much pressure should be used when operating the controls. Eye contacts help to indicate to the deaf where to look and pay attention to; lip movements can also help a great deal for the deaf who is very good with lip reading.

The basic needs required to teach the deaf include modified sign language (that is what you use to describe to the deaf so that a particular thing can be understood), diagrams on a whiteboard, computer animations, and demonstrations.

Related: Here’s How a Blind Person Knows If It’s Day or Night

How to Get a License to Drive as a Deaf Person

When applying for a license, you might have to indicate that you have or use hearing aids because this will enable the prompt approval of your driving license.

In reality, however, it is not necessary for you to wear the hearing aids when driving, as long as you’re focused on the road without distractions.

Getting a driver’s license will enable you to make the most of your condition as you will see below.

Benefits of Getting a License to Drive as a Deaf Person

Obtaining a license to drive will help you to become independent to do needful things without having to depend on anyone.

For example, it can help to secure jobs that require driving skills like courier services, delivery person, transportation of goods, and company drivers.

This is especially important because if your disability doesn’t qualify to meet the minimum requirements of the SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) application, then your application might automatically be unsuccessful and you will be left as a dependent.

Having a license to drive will not only motivate and make you feel empowered, but it will also grant you protection under the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) law.

The law gives you equal rights to drive just like a hearing person.

How Does a Deaf Person Drive?

how can a deaf person drive
Image credit: philkotse.com

Paying Attention

A deaf person driving needs to pay special and extra attention to the road and try every possible means to avoid distraction since they can’t hear anything and their sharp vision needs that focus.

The deaf needs to pay attention to visual cues like another car passing a signal by flashing its lights. For example, an emergency vehicle trying to make its way.

Related: How to Take a Deaf Person’s Order

Hearing Aids

These are small amplifying devices that fit on the ears and are specifically worn by people who are partially deaf. As small as it is, it contains a microphone, amplifier, and speaker.

A hearing aid works by receiving sounds from the environment, converting the sounds to digital signals whose strength is increased by the amplifier of the hearing aid. The amplified sound is then produced into the ear of the partially deaf through the speaker.

This will greatly assist the deaf person when driving. This is especially great for one who has slight visual problems, for example, a myopic person. A hearing aid is a must-have for this type of person.

Cochlear

A cochlear is an auditory implant that was originally invented in 1957 by Andre Djoumo and Charles Eyries. It is a neuroprosthesis that is surgically implanted to help a partially deaf person or an almost completely deaf person perceive sounds.

It also provides the person with an opportunity for speech therapy that can help to improve speech understanding in either quiet or noisy environments.

A cochlear implant might be expensive but in the long run, it will not only help the deaf person to drive safely but will also provide overall quality of life. 

Related: Is Having One Leg Longer Than the Other a Disability? (Answered)

Assistive & Special Electronic Devices

These devices (for example, light blinks/lighted panels) are fixed in the car of a deaf person to help with signals from other road users like the detection of car horns. They also help the deaf to stay alert on the road and drive with caution.

Another device is the use of panoramic mirrors that help to enhance the visual perception and give the deaf a heightened awareness of other vehicles and objects around the car.

This is How a Deaf Person Can Drive

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