Published on January 16th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Headphone-Wearing Pedestrian Deaths Up in Past Six Years, Study Finds
While the omnipresence of iPhones, iPods, Android devices and other such gadgets in our lives has made for a decade with a bit less boredom in line at the bank, there is a slight downside, new research has shown.
Though the devices have brought us much in terms of filling free time and keeping in touch with friends and relatives, they also carry some perhaps understated dangers that may seem a natural outgrowth of having a pair of earbuds stuck in your head all the time. Studies have shown that in the past six years, the numbers of pedestrian deaths of people wearing headphones have increased sharply- nearly tripling during the time period.
Research was published in the journal Injury Prevention, and interestingly cited the importance of auditory cues over visual ones in preventing pedestrian harm. Researchers noted:
“Sensory deprivation that results from using headphones with electronic devices may be a unique problem in pedestrian incidents, where auditory cues can be more important than visual ones.”
Nearly 30% of the incidents included in the study were recorded with specific mention of horns, sirens or similar warning sounds occurring before the accident. The study also accounted for over-reporting of fatalities and underreporting of non-fatal cases as well as incidents that may have been due to suicidal ideation.