CDL Hearing Requirements

What are the hearing requirements for a CDL physical exam?

Anatomy of a human ear

The short answer is:
  • Candidates must first perceive a forced whispered voice from a distance of at least 5 ft., with or without hearing aid, OR
  • have an average hearing loss in the better ear < 40 dB
DOT regulations further describe this as follows:
A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
First perceives a forced whispered voice in the better ear at not less than 5 feet with or without the use of a hearing aid, or, if tested by use of an audiometric device, does not have an average hearing loss in the better ear greater than 40 decibels at 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz, and 2,000 Hz with or without a hearing aid when the audiometric device is calibrated to American National Standard (formerly ADA Standard) Z24.5-1951.
Since the prescribed standard under the FMCSRs is the American Standards Association (ANSI), it may be necessary to convert the audiometric results from the ISO standard to the ANSI standard. Instructions are included on the Medical Examination report form.
If an individual meets the criteria by using a hearing aid, the driver must wear that hearing aid and have it in operation at all times while driving. Also, the driver must be in possession of a spare power source for the hearing aid.

What is a forced whisper test?
For the whispered voice test, the individual should be stationed at least 5 feet from the examiner with the ear being tested turned toward the examiner. The other ear is covered. Using the breath which remains after a normal expiration, the examiner whispers words or random numbers such as 66, 18, 23, etc. The examiner should not use only sibilants (s sounding materials). The opposite ear should be tested in the same manner. If the individual fails the whispered voice test, the audiometric test should be administered.
If an individual meets the criteria by the use of a hearing aid, the following statement must appear on the Medical Examiner's Certificate "Qualified only when wearing a hearing aid."
(See Hearing Disorders and Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers at: http://www/

Other DOT medical card (CDL physical exam) requirements are posted as follows:
Call Manual Medicine & Rehab today, and come in for your medical card.

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