The effect of a simulated hearing loss on performance of an auditory memory task in driving
- Publisher: Elsevier
mesheuropmc: otorhinolaryngologic diseases
Hearing loss has been shown to exacerbate the effect of auditory distraction on driving performance in older drivers. This study controlled for the potentially confounding factor of age-related cognitive decrements, by applying a simulated hearing loss in young, normally hearing individuals. Participants drove a simulated road whilst completing auditory tasks under simulated hearing loss or normal hearing conditions. Measures of vehicle control, eye movements and auditory task performance were recorded. Results showed that performing the auditory tasks whilst driving resulted in more stable lateral vehicle control and a reduction in gaze dispersion around the road centre. These trends were not exacerbated by simulated hearing loss, suggesting no effect of hearing loss on vehicle control or eye movement patterns during auditory task engagement. However, a small effect of simulated hearing loss on the performance of the most complex auditory task was observed during driving, suggesting that the use of sound-based in-vehicle systems may be problematic for hearing impaired individuals. Further research incorporating a wider variety of driving scenarios and auditory tasks is required in order to confirm the findings of this study.