OBJECTIVES: The study evaluated the driving habits and risk of traffic accidents among people with Ménière’s disease (MD) in Finland.
MATERIALS and METHODS: The study used a cross-sectional survey design. Members of the Finnish Ménière Federation (FMF) were contacted and requested to participate in an online survey. In total, 558 FMF members (58.7% response rate) responded to the survey.
RESULTS: People with MD were responsible for significantly fewer traffic accidents (0.8%) annually than individuals in the general population (1.7%). In addition, the lifetime risk of car accidents was lower among subjects with MD (8.3%) than that among individuals in the general population (24 to 28%). Nearly half of the total participants had either reduced the frequency of driving or had given up driving because of their condition. Factors such as gender, balance problems, visual problems with visual aura, and syncope during vestibular drop attacks can help explain the reasons for giving up car driving. One third (35.9%) of the participants were able to anticipate the MD attack before they decided to drive a car. Participants with falls during a vestibular drop attack, attacks of rotary vertigo, syncope during vestibular drop attacks, and those who were of a younger age were at a higher risk of experiencing a vertigo attack while driving a car. The most common strategies to avoid car accidents were selective driving and not driving when symptoms appeared.
CONCLUSION: The results show that people with MD are at a lower risk of traffic accidents than individuals in the general population, which can be explained by selective driving.