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Legal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

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Legal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Old 04-27-09, 06:56 PM
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Legal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

I recently took a job dispensing hearing aids at the local Miracle Ear store. Hey, I know it's not a major career move but it beats unemployment.

My question is this. So many people come in and get tested with a serious hearing loss. Where normal conversation is 50db, these folks test out to 85 and 90 to get full speech understanding. Many have high frequency losses where they need that much volume just to hear the beep at 2000 or 3000 Hz. No wonder they need to turn the TV way up and have trouble understanding women and children. Too many need to "think about it", or are "waiting until they have the money" or my favorite "I hear fine, everyone else just mumbles". Yeah right.

Once these people find out about the seriousness of the loss and elect not to do anything about it, could they conceivably be liable for negligence if they get into or cause an accident due to the loss of hearing?

I know people with hearing loss are allowed to drive. I'm just thinking that if I needed a police officer or ambulance, and someone crashed into it at an intersection because they didn't hear the siren, because they chose not to fix something fixable, I think I would be a little torqued.

Even a non-physician has the right to send in to DMV a form requesting a review of the person's driving priviledges. Believe me, this is not just to sell hearing aids, but think about how we'd feel if 85 year old Mildred hit someone because she didn't hear the horn 2 days after insisting she didn't need a hearing aid.

Thoughts.

Last edited by JimRochester; 04-27-09 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 04-27-09, 07:02 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Car stereos aren't really regulated, and those can limit a person with perfect hearing.
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Old 04-27-09, 07:04 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

I'm sorry, what? Quit mumbling! [shakes cane]
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Old 04-27-09, 07:22 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Wat?*










*= An actual hearing impaired person is asking this.

Last edited by Kicker_of_Elves; 04-27-09 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 04-27-09, 07:37 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

i do believe mchawkson is hearing impaired and might be able to answer the question.. at least i think that it's him. if not, i'll feel like an ass.
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Old 04-28-09, 11:54 AM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Originally Posted by mndtrp View Post
Car stereos aren't really regulated, and those can limit a person with perfect hearing.
This.
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Old 04-28-09, 12:04 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Well maybe if you carried $20 hearing aids, they would be more likely to buy them.
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Old 04-28-09, 02:55 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Well, apparently people are allowed to drive with headphones on and earpieces stuck in their ears, so what difference does it make?

Note: I don't think people should be allowed to drive with headphones on or earpieces stuck in their ears.
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Old 04-28-09, 08:21 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

A fully deaf person can still drive by law in the majority of the world, so it'd be kind of hard to restrict people who still have their hearing (albeit in a diminished state).

The stereo thing is a good point. Even when I just have it on at a more or less normal volume I can't hear a damn thing outside of my car. I'm not talking about some 5000 watt earth rattling "system," either; just a stock car stereo.

There's been times where smoking has saved me from having a close call with emergency vehicles due to my window being open at the time. Just tell the next nearly deaf 85 year old to start smoking when they drive. It's not like they have that much longer to live anyways...

Cigarettes save lives.
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Old 04-29-09, 03:06 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

I really don't mean this as a slam on the OP, especially in this economy, but if someone I loved were looking for a hearing aid, I would recommend that they not go to a Miracle Ear store, but rather see an Audiologist who isn't tied down to one brand. Hearing aids are expensive, and they aren't ready right out of the box. I would want the person adjusting my family member's aid to have an AuD, not be someone who took a quick class in hearing aid adjustment.

Also, one thing to realize is that speech recognition is pretty different from hearing a siren. Reliable speech recognition is often at about 30dB Sensation Level (30 decibels over the threshold where they can just barely hear a sound about half the time).. So if someone's threshold is at 50 dB SPL, they're going to need 80-85 db SPL for speech recognition. That's a moderate hearing loss, not a profound hearing loss. They may very well still hear the siren, even if they are missing high frequency consonants . (Disclaimer--I took Audiological Assessment last term, so I may be off on the numbers. To me it's one of those classes where I'm not too concerned about the exact specifics because I don't plan to be an Audiologist. I would want the person testing and fitting me to be more than sure, though).

Anyhow, as someone already mentioned, deaf people can drive. One reason emergency vehicles have flashers is to give a secondary signal for those who can't hear them (for whatever reason). There are a lot bigger things to worry about on the road, but I'll keep my private list of potential bad drivers to myself since it's not very PC. (Teenagers--we can probably all agree they can't drive).
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Old 04-29-09, 05:48 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Originally Posted by tasha99 View Post
I really don't mean this as a slam on the OP, especially in this economy, but if someone I loved were looking for a hearing aid, I would recommend that they not go to a Miracle Ear store, but rather see an Audiologist who isn't tied down to one brand. Hearing aids are expensive, and they aren't ready right out of the box. I would want the person adjusting my family member's aid to have an AuD, not be someone who took a quick class in hearing aid adjustment.

Also, one thing to realize is that speech recognition is pretty different from hearing a siren. Reliable speech recognition is often at about 30dB Sensation Level (30 decibels over the threshold where they can just barely hear a sound about half the time).. So if someone's threshold is at 50 dB SPL, they're going to need 80-85 db SPL for speech recognition. That's a moderate hearing loss, not a profound hearing loss. They may very well still hear the siren, even if they are missing high frequency consonants . (Disclaimer--I took Audiological Assessment last term, so I may be off on the numbers. To me it's one of those classes where I'm not too concerned about the exact specifics because I don't plan to be an Audiologist. I would want the person testing and fitting me to be more than sure, though).

Anyhow, as someone already mentioned, deaf people can drive. One reason emergency vehicles have flashers is to give a secondary signal for those who can't hear them (for whatever reason). There are a lot bigger things to worry about on the road, but I'll keep my private list of potential bad drivers to myself since it's not very PC. (Teenagers--we can probably all agree they can't drive).
We actually sell several makes and models of in-the-ear and behind-the-ear aids, all under a "brand".

We need to be licensed as well. You actually have to work under a licensed audiologist for 6 months befopre you can take the test.

As far as programming hearing aids it's really quite simple. Plug the person's audiogram results in to the program and then download to the aids. From there you do the fine tuning according to the patient's preferences. Most think things are too loud initially becauase they haven't heard those frequencies in so long.

The person who prompted me to start this thread was unresponsive to higher frequencies at 110db and had a speech recognition threshold of 85 db and she wanted to think about it and check with her brother to see what he thinks. Lady if this was your heart I'd be rushing you to the hospital.

Originally Posted by mndtrp View Post
Car stereos aren't really regulated, and those can limit a person with perfect hearing.
Although there is no specific law preventing eating a hamburg and driving with your knees while blasting the radio to ear deafening levels, it does fall under the general control of vehicle and wreckless driving regulations.

Let me put it this way. Someone plows into an ambulance in an intersection because they were unable to hear the siren. That ability to hear was entirely self imposed, a hearing aid or turning down the stereo would have helped prevent the collision. Would you feel the person was negligent and contributed to the accident?
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Old 04-29-09, 06:25 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Originally Posted by JimRochester View Post
Let me put it this way. Someone plows into an ambulance in an intersection because they were unable to hear the siren. That ability to hear was entirely self imposed, a hearing aid or turning down the stereo would have helped prevent the collision. Would you feel the person was negligent and contributed to the accident?
Absolutley, but not because they didn't buy that hearing aid. They were negligent in that they weren't paying proper attention to their surroundings, and failed to yield to an emergency vehicle.

As tasha99 stated, emergency vehicles have lights and sirens and are painted bright colors (usually) for a reason. People use more than one sense while driving you know. And someone who is hard of hearing had better be more dilligent in watching his surroundings because they know that they can't rely on hearing things like others can.
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Old 06-08-09, 11:15 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Dear Jim,
You should know that persons who are Deaf have better driving records overall than hearing persons do.
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Old 06-08-09, 11:19 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

I believe "deaf" is the proper terminology.

Stupid PC crap teaching me "hearing impaired" rather than what deaf people prefer.
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Old 06-08-09, 11:46 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Originally Posted by MLBFan24 View Post
I believe "deaf" is the proper terminology.

Stupid PC crap teaching me "hearing impaired" rather than what deaf people prefer.
reminds me of the Carlin bit on euphamisms

nsfw due to language
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Old 06-09-09, 08:54 AM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Originally Posted by Deftones View Post
i do believe mchawkson is hearing impaired and might be able to answer the question.. at least i think that it's him. if not, i'll feel like an ass.
No, you're correct.

I have been driving for over 20 years without any problem with emergency vehicles. The lights are easy to spot. If it's crossing the intersection, the emergency vehicles would slow down before across.

Originally Posted by MLBFan24 View Post
I believe "deaf" is the proper terminology.

Stupid PC crap teaching me "hearing impaired" rather than what deaf people prefer.
Both are still correct term - they're not offensive.
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Old 06-09-09, 01:32 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Originally Posted by ben12 View Post
Well, apparently people are allowed to drive with headphones on and earpieces stuck in their ears, so what difference does it make?
Actually, that has been illegal in every state I have lived in.
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Old 06-09-09, 01:48 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Originally Posted by nic View Post
Dear Jim,
You should know that persons who are Deaf have better driving records overall than hearing persons do.

Dear Nic,
Nice first post, well done.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 06-09-09, 01:57 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Originally Posted by nic View Post
Dear Jim,
You should know that persons who are Deaf have better driving records overall than hearing persons do.
I'm going to guess you are deaf?
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Old 06-09-09, 02:05 PM
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Re: Legal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

No, he's Deaf.
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Old 06-09-09, 02:20 PM
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Re: Legal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Oh... Sorry about that Mr. Deaf. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 06-09-09, 03:07 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Originally Posted by nic View Post
Dear Jim,
You should know that persons who are Deaf have better driving records overall than hearing persons do.


Not another Deaf-is-better-than-hearing bullshit. Actually, the deaf people's driving is about same as hearing people.
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Old 06-09-09, 04:15 PM
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Re: LEgal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Originally Posted by nic View Post
Dear Jim,
You should know that persons who are Deaf have better driving records overall than hearing persons do.
This is based on what? Is there some study you can point to? And what is the measure of driving record you are basing this on?

I would have a hard time believing that on a whole, deaf and hearing able drivers aren't pretty much exactly the same, by any measure.
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Old 06-09-09, 04:34 PM
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Re: Legal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Originally Posted by McHawkson View Post
No, you're correct.

I have been driving for over 20 years without any problem with emergency vehicles. The lights are easy to spot. If it's crossing the intersection, the emergency vehicles would slow down before across.



Both are still correct term - they're not offensive.
I am not disputing the ability of hearing impaired drivers. As a hearing impaired driver you are aware of the situation and have trained and practiced. My point was about those that deny any type of hearing loss yet drive assuming they are hearing everything.

My point was just a hypothetical: Joe goes to the hearing specialist and after testing is told he has a high frequency loss which is very common. He insists he hears fine, that people just mumble. This also happens all the time. On the way home he slams into an emergency vehicle because he in fact cannot hear the siren (at least in time) even though he assumes he can.
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Old 06-09-09, 04:37 PM
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Re: Legal question regarding hearing impaired drivers

Considering the volume at which many people play their stereos in their cars, hearing must not be that important in driving well.
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