MP3 players can kill on the roads

Published: Wed Nov 05 2008

MP3 players and iPods could mean the difference between life and death when crossing the road, pedestrians are being warned by Deafness Research UK during Road Safety Week
(10-16 November).

Deafness Research UK is encouraging pedestrians to remove their headphones while crossing the road in a bid to reduce hearing-related road traffic accidents. Furthermore, parents are being alerted to the dangers and are being urged to educate and inform children and teenagers on the pitfalls of listening to loud music when crossing the road. The message ties in with one of Road Safety Week’s key themes this year – ‘protect the ones you love’.

The two groups of pedestrians considered to be at greatest risk are:
-People, especially youngsters, listening to MP3 players, which even at low volumes can compromise hearing
-People who are hard of hearing but are in denial about it, so have not had their hearing tested or do not wear a hearing aid and so can’t properly hear what’s coming but aren’t aware of this inability.

In 2007, there were 30,191 pedestrian casualties on Britain’s roads. Many road safety campaigns focus on looking out for the danger on the roads and, while this is great advice, the importance of good hearing is often overlooked, despite the fact that it is a vital part of good road safety as traffic is often heard before it is seen.

Vivienne Michael, Chief Executive of Deafness Research UK, said: "MP3 players and iPods are here to stay but parents need to realise that there is an increased risk of injury or death on the roads when children and teenagers are unable to hear properly because of the loud music. We’re especially concerned about young people who cross roads whilst listening to MP3 players and aren’t able to hear what’s coming. Good hearing is absolutely vital when crossing the road and can mean the difference between life and death.

"In addition, many people, especially the over 40s, have a hearing problem but are either unaware of it or are not willing to admit that their hearing is not as good as it used to be. We know that some four million people would benefit from hearing aids, but don’t yet have them, which is a huge number of people potentially putting their lives at risk when crossing the road.

"Many people still consider a hearing aid unattractive and feel there is a stigma attached to wearing one. But the new, digital designs being offered by the NHS are now very discreet and, with the advent of Bluetooth and other technologies, the wearing of earpieces is becoming much more acceptable. Another obstacle has been the unacceptable time that people waited to get an NHS hearing aid after going to their GP to get a hospital referral. But waiting times are generally reducing and, certainly in England, most patients are being seen by an audiologist within six weeks of their referral."

To put good hearing back at the heart of the Green Cross Code, Deafness Research UK have created five tips to help pedestrians make the most of their ears when crossing the road:

-Remove any headphones while you cross the road
-Try to concentrate on what you can hear, and pick out engine sounds from background noise.
-Stop talking and keep quiet while you cross.
-Don’t cross if you can’t hear what’s coming (if there is too much background noise)
-Look after your ears and have regular hearing check-ups, especially if you’re over 40
If you suspect you’re having problems with your hearing or your ear health, visit your GP.

For further information on deafness and deafness-related conditions, call freephone 0808 808 2222 or visit Deafness Research UK’s website at
Contact Name: BeyondPR
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