18 May 2015

Hearing loss doesn’t affect driving

You are not a worse driver, just because you have a hearing loss. It is in fact almost the opposite. This is the conclusion of a Swedish doctorate.

A Swedish doctorate shows that motorists with hearing loss are in no way a greater risk in traffic than other motorists. There is therefore no need for greater requirements for hearing in motorists.

The study shows that people with hearing loss generally drive more cautiously, says Birgitta Thorslund from The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, VTI, who has written the doctorate.

More cautious and observant

The foundation of the doctorate is three studies: a questionnaire, a study in a driving simulator and an observational study in real traffic. In each of the studies, a motorist with hearing loss has been compared to a motorist without hearing loss.

Generally, the motorists with hearing loss were more cautious and observant.

The simulator study showed, among other things, that motorists with hearing loss lower their speed more than those with normal hearing when the traffic situation becomes difficult and the requirements for the motorist become more challenging. The study in real traffic showed that motorists with hearing loss look in their rear-view mirror and to each side more often than motorists with normal hearing.

The doctorate is entitled “Effects of hearing loss on traffic safety and mobility” and is written at Instituttet för Handikappvetenskap, IHV, in Sweden.

Source: The magazine Auris www.auris.nu, December 2014

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