Following a route with hearing impairment - "You can see potential dangers" — Scope | Disability forum
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Following a route with hearing impairment - "You can see potential dangers"

yanni Member Posts: 51 Courageous

Has anyone else been turned down for PIP mobility - planning and following a route - on the basis that they can see potential dangers  (presumably meaning traffic)?

 The PIP guidance says that people with severe visual or profound hearing loss may be at substantial risk when crossing the road.

 I have severe- profound hearing loss in both ears. I explained that I don’t hear traffic approaching and gave examples of when I can’t see traffic approaching - round bends, over hill brows, down nearby side streets when I am crossing a main road, through parked cars, buildings, fences etc and gave examples of near misses with vehicles, bikes and scooters local to where I live (so familiar journeys) .

 I explained how difficult it is to find somewhere with a clear view in both directions far enough away that I would see approaching vehicles in enough time to get out of their way and that often moving away from one danger means I am moving closer to another; for example parking isn’t allowed on bends but I can’t see round the bend but by moving to a straighter part of the road there are parked vehicles which I can’t see through /over.

 I was awarded standard mobility - 10 points for needing someone with me for unfamiliar journeys as I would be unable to understand verbal communication if something unexpected happened but as I have no visual, mental or cognitive impairment it is reasonable that I would be able to see hazards on the majority of days.

For MR I repeated that there are lots of situations where I can’t see and that being able to see was not enough - I need to be able to see far enough away to give me time to avoid the danger. Also that unexpected things do happen on familiar journeys as well and asking how I was supposed to manage if this happened if I can’t understand verbal communication. The MR decision came back with the same ‘ it is reasonable that you can see potential dangers”, no mention of the communication issues if something goes wrong.

What is the point of including hearing impairment in their guidance and then saying that as you can see you can cross a road safely!!

 Has anyone else has this and appealed against the decision?



  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 12,239 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi there and welcome 

    Sorry your mr wasnt successful I have read quite few posts regarding deaf people and struggling to get PIP awarded tho not seen many relating to mobility 

    I'm sure others will be able to help and advise 
    Here to help with my experience in hunan resources and employment rights 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,452 Disability Gamechanger
    There are clearly points to be scored in your situation but I fear you’ve focused on the wrong thing or at least one small aspect of the right thing. 

    The activity is planning and following a route. Crossing a road is but one small element of that but that seems to be where you have focused all your evidence. The level of detail you’ve provided needs to be focused on planning and following and a detailed examination of the difference between familiar and unfamiliar routes, if there is any.  
  • yanni
    yanni Member Posts: 51 Courageous

    @janer1967 and mikehughes thank you for your replies

     I looked through my original claim and MR and the areas I covered, apart from crossing roads, were:

    - there is no visual indication that I can’t hear; other road users expect me to hear them and react accordingly e.g.stop or move out of their way.

    - I don’t hear vehicles approaching me from behind; a problem in car parks or when walking down local country lanes to the woodlands as there are no pavements.

    - I think sound is coming from a different direction from where is it and have moved towards a hazard rather than away from it or looked for it in the wrong direction.

    - I don’t hear bikes, mobility scooters etc from behind or round corners on pavements. Also cyclists riding the wrong way up the road.

    - I have missed buses because I haven’t heard them approaching

    - I don’t realise a vehicle is about to reverse or drive out of a parking space or driveway because I don’t hear the sound of the engine.

     Since then I have thought about road closures where I have to take an alternative route which may not be safe for me - but again this relates to dealing with faster moving traffic or crossing the road without using a crossing - or (again) have to cross a road or walk with my back to the oncoming traffic because the pavement is closed.

     Other than the above I am not sure what else following a route consists of. I don’t drive (my choice) so most journeys are by public transport or walking. If the route is familiar it doesn’t need to be planned according to the DWP guidance and I am guessing that things like not hearing the alarm clock so being late is outside of the activity?

     The other difficulties I have relate to not understanding verbal communication - such as not hearing bus drivers say the bus is diverting - but the DWP accepts I have these difficulties although only on unfamiliar journeys for some reason.


    I understand what you say about me focusing on crossing roads but this is the most dangerous part of following a route for me and the DWP guidance seems to focus on this aspect. The guidance says the same thing about being at risk crossing a road for the familiar and unfamiliar routes descriptors (1D and 1F) (which suggests that they recognise that crossing a road with profound hearing loss is unsafe whether the route is familiar or not - but then they decide you are not at risk on either because you can apparently see potential dangers.

     I am struggling to see the difference between familiar and unfamiliar routes for someone with hearing loss. If you don’t realise a car is about to reverse out next to you or don’t hear a car coming round a bend towards the crossing you are about to cross - it doesn’t make any difference if the route is familiar or unfamiliar.

    I don’t go on unfamiliar journeys without someone with me in case something goes wrong. and it did go wrong the last time I tried.

     Also, as I understand it, a familiar route doesn’t have to be a short journey or a local journey necessarily so I could get into some real difficulties on longer familiar journeys if something goes wrong and I don’t reach my intended destination.

    On a route I have done lots of times,I somehow got on the wrong coach to get home and ended up in the wrong county and the person with me had to do all the talking to coach driver, a bus driver and several other people to find out how we needed to get home, which took several hours. I didn’t include this one as an example for PIP because at the time I thought it counted as an unfamiliar journey but now I think it was a familiar journey where something unexpected happened that I couldn’t sort out myself?

    I don't normally have someone with me on familiar journeys as it is not practical but I think the descriptor is about the help you need not the help you have?

    When you say a detailed explanation should I give a description of the potential difficulties on a few familiar routes that I do e.g. I have to cross this road and I can't see because of the parked cars, then I have to stand and look in the direction the bus is coming because I don't hear it approach and then I can't hear the bus driver etc.

     If I appeal is it enough to say that the communication problems would also happen on a familiar route and that the dangers such as not hearing traffic coming from behind etc occur whether a route is familiar or not?

    Thank you

  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,452 Disability Gamechanger
    I think it’s useful to remember the following:

    1 - you already have 10 points so most of what you have asserted has been accepted. It is a small leap to clarify the lack of a difference between familiar and unfamiliar routes. I agree with you by the way. There is zero difference. Just a gap in DWP DM understanding. All my sight impaired clients with central vision issues score 12 points for familiar route because I take the time to explain precisely why there’s no difference. Familiarity with a route makes zero difference to your ability to hear hazards. 

    2 - DWP guidance is just that. It’s not for you. It is for them. It is only guidance. It is not the law. They do not have to follow it to the letter or indeed follow it at all. They simply need to show that they have taken account of it but that’s rarely going to be an issue as guidance is rarely the route to qualify. Sadly the guidance is also now highly politicised; and often wholly wrong and wilfully so. Guidance used to reflect the law and case law. Nowadays DWP use it to try and say the law says things it does not.

    In the case of 11f crossing a road is mentioned as one example in passing. I think you’ve been distracted by that and also lost sight of the fact it’s guidance. Far better to use comparative resources like

    3 - you’ve focussed on what’s the most dangerous for you but danger doesn’t feature in the regs at all. The issue is reliability. Can you do the activity in a reasonable time; to a reasonable standard; repeatedly or safely. Safely does not equal dangerous. Things can be unsafe but not automatically dangerous. All activities carry some element of risk. More importantly safely is one of four elements of reliability. You’re quite right about the activity being about what’s needed rather than what you have. So, think about why you might need that other person or indeed aid (hearing aids are clearly an aid albeit not a navigating aid) and look at time, manner and repetition the things you can sometimes get away with but not others. 
  • yanni
    yanni Member Posts: 51 Courageous


     Thank you for this it was really helpful. (Sorry I thought I had posted a reply when I first read it.)

     You saying about me being fixated on the guidance and crossing a road is true. I have now concentrated more on where I need help communicating in order to realise there is a problem and sort it out when using public transport ,because the DWP accept this is the case for unfamiliar journeys, and pointing out that this can and does happen on familiar journeys and giving detailed examples of 2 times when this did happen.

     I’ve taken out my detailed statistical analysis and computer modelling of crossing a road :) and explained that to see vehicles approaching at 35mph and have time to avoid them I would need 78 metres of clear view in both directions and then listed all the situations where this distance isn’t likely or even possible and so therefore I am taking a risk   that people with normal hearing don’t as they can hear the traffic even if they can’t see it.(‘getting away with it’ rather than doing it safely) Also even if there is such a distance one time it doesn’t mean every road I need to cross will have that distance so can’t do it repeatedly and safely. 



  • Jean Eveleigh
    Jean Eveleigh Member Posts: 156 Pioneering
    You want to be looking at page 51 (113 on the bottom of the actual page) onwards for the descriptor that would apply to hearing impairment when planning and following a journey but it will still only give you 10 points if you can satisfy it, to get 12 points you will have to prove you can never leave the house unattended by another person for reasons of personal safety.
  • Jean Eveleigh
    Jean Eveleigh Member Posts: 156 Pioneering
    I have a PDF file that may be helpful in this instance I tried to attach it and wrote a post but when I can to save it said I was not allowed to upload a document in this category - can any of the moderators advise, please?
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,452 Disability Gamechanger
    edited April 3
    you will have to prove you can never leave the house unattended by another person for reasons of personal safety.
    Some confusion here I think. The criteria for planning and following routes and 12 points is 

    “Cannot follow the route of a familiar journey without another person, an assistance dog or an orientation aid. 12 points”

    You do not have to show the above. All that matters is whether you can follow a familiar route reliably i.e.safely, to a reasonable standard, repeatedly and within a reasonable time.


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