Can You Hear Me Now? Limo Drivers Take Note.

FMCSA mandates commercial limo drivers be able to perceive a forced whispered voice in the better ear at not less than five feet with or without the use of a hearing aid.

Overall health and well-being are essential elements of living a productive and fulfilling life. As a professional limo driver, they are also necessary for the safe performance of your job. But there is one part of good health that often gets overlooked when we evaluate how healthy we are.

A Common Problem
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 20 million people, approximately 8.6% of the total U.S. population, have hearing problems. Of that 20 million people, 6.3% are aged 35-44 years old, 10.3% are 45-54 years old and 15.4% are 55-64 years
old. So it’s evident that hearing impairments are associated with age. And gender seems to be a major factor in hearing loss, with 10.5% of males of all ages having hearing loss compared to 6.8% for women.

Hearing Loss and Crash Risk
There is little doubt that receiving auditory information is a necessary part of safe limo driving. You need to be aware of any signals your vehicle is sending you that something may be wrong, that the operation just doesn’t “sound” right. In some vehicles, there are electronic auditory clues to tell you of a mechanical failure or other problem in the vehicle. General road noise, screeching brakes, horn honking, railroad crossing warnings, sirens from first responder vehicles, are all outside auditory information telling you that you may need to adjust your driving. If you don’t hear an alarm, chances are
you don’t respond to it. While many studies cited by NHTSA have determined that the correlation between crash risk and hearing loss is most significant in older drivers, the Agency warns that hearing loss is a problem for drivers of all ages, and especially for
professional limo drivers who are most susceptible to high noise levels for a longer
duration.

Time For A Hearing Evaluation?
Most people have no qualms about seeing an ophthalmologist or an optometrist to keep their eyes healthy. But a visit to an audiologist is not considered essential and often, the prospect of wearing a hearing aid is not as acceptable as wearing glasses. A professional limo driver is constantly bombarded with noise pollution while in the vehicle. Traffic congestion on the outside and the hum of the operation of your vehicle on the inside are assaulting your eardrums every day. That’s why you need recognize the signs that it may be time to have your ears checked. Do you have trouble hearing
when the background is noisy? Do you have dizziness, pain or ringing in your ears? Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves? These are just some of the reasons to see a doctor.

Federal Mandates
If you have a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) license, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates you to “be able to perceive a forced whispered voice in the better ear at not less than five feet with or without the use of a hearing aid,” and other requirements if tested with an audiometric device. Be sure you are aware of and adhere to the rulings.