Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Older Adults’ Views of their Communication Difficulties and Needs while Driving in a Motor Vehicle

Author(s) Christine N. Meston
Mary Beth Jennings
Margaret F. Cheesman
Volume 35
Number 4
Year 2011
Page(s) 312-321
Language English
Abstract With an aging population the number of older drivers will continue to increase. Associated with aging are many health related factors such as hearing loss, vision loss, cognitive changes, and central processing deficits that can impact driving. Research suggests that as individuals get older they may rely more heavily on passengers while driving to help with various driving tasks. Therefore, the need for clear communication in the vehicle is important. However, little is known about what older adults consider important or necessary to hear while driving. The purpose of this exploratory study was to gain a better understanding of the specific communication difficulties older adults experience while driving in a motor vehicle as well as the communication needs of both passengers and drivers. Thirteen adults, 50-70 years of age who are frequently the driver or passenger in a motor vehicle participated in focus group sessions. Qualitative content analysis of focus group transcripts revealed four major themes related to driving, the importance of clear communication while driving in the car as well as strategies individuals use to facilitate communication. The themes identified were concentration and focus, importance of hearing conversation, the impact of missing the conversation, and responses to breakdowns in communication. We concluded that clear communication between drivers and passengers is important for both practical and social reasons. This research provides evidence for audiologists and other health care professionals to discuss in-vehicle communication difficulties with their clients.

Comme la population vieillit, le nombre de conducteurs automobiles âgés continue d’augmenter. Le vieillissement s’accompagne de changements dans l’état de santé, comme les pertes auditives, les pertes visuelles, les changements cognitifs et les difficultés de traitement central, qui peuvent avoir des répercussions sur la conduite. La recherche suggère que les personnes âgées se fient davantage aux passagers pour les aider à accomplir diverses tâches pendant qu’ils conduisent. C’est pourquoi il est important d’avoir une communication claire dans le véhicule. Or, on sait peu sur ce que les personnes âgées jugent important ou nécessaire d’entendre pendant qu’elles conduisent. Cette étude exploratoire visait à mieux comprendre les difficultés de communication précises que vivent les personnes plus âgées pendant qu’elles conduisent une automobile, ainsi que les besoins de communication des passagers et des conducteurs. Treize adultes âgés de 50 à 70 ans qui sont souvent le conducteur ou le passager d’une automobile ont participé à quatre groupes de discussion. L’analyse qualitative du contenu transcrit des discussions révèle quatre grands thèmes liés à la conduite, l’importance d’une communication claire pendant la conduite, ainsi que les stratégies utilisées pour faciliter la communication. Les thèmes identifiés étaient la concentration et l’attention, l’importance d’entendre la conversation, les répercussions si on manque la conversation et les réactions aux bris de communication. Nous avons conclu que la communication claire entre les conducteurs et les passagers est importante pour des raisons tant pratiques que sociales. Cette étude fournit des preuves pour aider les audiologistes et autres professionnels de la santé à discuter des difficultés de communication dans un véhicule avec leurs clients.
Record ID 1083

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