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Deafness and driving licenses? Part 1 (Teacher: Michael)

Deaf people do not get their share of sympathy and are often not fully understood. This is particularly true of deaf drivers. It is often suggested that hard of hearing cannot be as good or as safe drivers as others. Yet research carried out in New Zealand into causes of more than 30,000 accidents showed that deafness was not regarded as responsible in single incident.

In United States, almost all licensing officers consider deaf drivers to be quite as safe - indeed safer - than average. There is reason for this. These drivers are so well aware of their disability, and of prejudices against them, that they take more than average care when driving. They concentrate more on job. Indeed, one insurance company revealed that although eight per cent of policy-holders make some sort of claim each year, only between three and four per cent of claims are made by people with defective hearing.

There are, of course, varying degrees of deafness. There is deafness of lad who never hears his mother asking him to do something. And at other end of scale there is so-called stone-deaf patient. If driver has some degree of deafness and wears hearing-aid, question is often asked whether, if he wears it during his driving test, he ought never to drive without it. Some countries insist on this, but I feel it is unreasonable.

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