Association of Hearing Impairment and Subsequent Driving Mobility in Older Adults

Driving safety (that is to say, poor driving performance and an increase in crashes) is impacted by hearing impairment (HI). In spite of that fact, when it comes to driving mobility and HI, little is known. In this longitudinal study, the association of audiometric hearing with driving mobility of older adults was examined over the course of three years. Five hundred individuals (age range 63-90 years) from the Staying Keen in Later Life (SKILL) study were the subject of secondary data analyses. An assessment was made of hearing (pure tone average of 0.5, 1, and 2kHz) in the better hearing ear and categorized into normal hearing ≤25 dB hearing level (HL); mild HI 26-40 dB HL; or moderate and greater HI >=41 dB HL. In order to estimate the risk for adverse driving events, the Useful Field of View Test (UFOV) was utilized. Mobility between HI levels across time, making adjustments for age, sex, race, hypertension, and stroke, was compared using multivariate analysis of covariance. Incidence of driving cessation by HI across 3 years was examined using Cox regression analyses, adjusting for these same covariates. The results revealed a poor performance on the UFOV by individuals with moderate or greater HI, which indicates an increased risk for adverse driving events (p < .001). Among older adults with varying levels of HI for driving mobility (p values > .05), including driving cessation rates (p = .38), no significant differences were found across time. The implications of this study are that while older adults with HI may be at higher risk for crashes, as indicated by prior research, they may not modify driving over time. In order to optimize efforts to improve mobility and driving safety among older adults, further exploration of this issue is required.


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  • Accession Number: 01673851
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 29 2018 4:23PM