The influence of ski helmets on sound perception and sound localisation on the ski slope
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University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia (Faculty of Kinesiology, Department of Sport and Exercise Medicine)
University of Rijeka, Lovran, Croatia (Clinics for Orthopedics)
University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria (Institute of Sport Science)
Corresponding author
Lana Ružić   

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Kinesiology, Department of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Zagreb 10000, Croatia
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2015;28(2):389-94
Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate whether a ski helmet interferes with the sound localization and the time of sound perception in the frontal plane. Material and Methods: Twenty-three participants (age 30.7±10.2) were tested on the slope in 2 conditions, with and without wearing the ski helmet, by 6 different spatially distributed sound stimuli per each condition. Each of the subjects had to react when hearing the sound as soon as possible and to signalize the correct side of the sound arrival. Results: The results showed a significant difference in the ability to localize the specific ski sounds; 72.5±15.6% of correct answers without a helmet vs. 61.3±16.2% with a helmet (p < 0.01). However, the performance on this test did not depend on whether they were used to wearing a helmet (p = 0.89). In identifying the timing, at which the sound was firstly perceived, the results were also in favor of the subjects not wearing a helmet. The subjects reported hearing the ski sound clues at 73.4±5.56 m without a helmet vs. 60.29±6.34 m with a helmet (p < 0.001). In that case the results did depend on previously used helmets (p < 0.05), meaning that that regular usage of helmets might help to diminish the attenuation of the sound identification that occurs because of the helmets. Conclusions: Ski helmets might limit the ability of a skier to localize the direction of the sounds of danger and might interfere with the moment, in which the sound is firstly heard.
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