Association of hearing impairment and subsequent driving mobility in older adults

Edwards, Jerri, Lister, Jennifer, Lin, Frank, Andel, Ross, Brown, Lisa, & Wood, Joanne M. (2015) Association of hearing impairment and subsequent driving mobility in older adults. The Gerontologist, 55(S2), pp. 137-138.

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  • Purpose of the study

Hearing impairment (HI) is associated with driving safety (e.g., increased crashes and poor on-road driving performance). However, little is known about HI and driving mobility. This study examined the longitudinal association of audiometric hearing with older adults’ driving mobility over three years.

  • Design and Methods

Secondary data analyses were conducted of 500 individuals (63-90 years) from the Staying Keen in Later Life (SKILL) study. Hearing (pure tone average of 0.5, 1, and 2 kHz) was assessed in the better hearing ear and categorized into normal hearing <25 dB HL; mild HI 26-40 dB HL; or moderate and greater HI>41 dB HL. The Useful Field of View Test (UFOV) was used to estimate the risk for adverse driving events. MANCOVA compared driving mobility between HI levels across time, adjusting for age, sex, race, hypertension, and stroke. Adjusting for these same covariates, Cox regression analyses examined incidence of driving cessation by HI across three years.

  • Results

Individuals with moderate or greater HI performed poorly on the UFOV, indicating increased risk for adverse driving events (p<.001). No significant differences were found among older adults with varying levels of HI for driving mobility (ps>.05), including driving cessation rates (p=.38), across time.

  • Implications

Although prior research indicates older adults with HI may be at higher risk for crashes, they may not modify driving over time. Further exploration of this issue is required to optimize efforts to improve driving safety and mobility among older adults.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 90990
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnv512.08
ISSN: 0016-9013
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 07 Dec 2015 00:40
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2015 21:08

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