October 7, 2009
Riding In A Convertible Harmful To Your Hearing
Driving a convertible can cause harm to your ears.
Riding with the car top down at 50-70mph can cause the ears to hear sound levels that are dangerous. Extended or frequent exposure to wind and these sound levels may result in hearing loss.
The findings were written in the journal Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. In the research study, noise levels to the left and right of the driver were calculated while driving at several speeds.
At 50, 60 and 70 miles per hour, the noise hit 88 and 90 decibels - more than the 85 decibel threshold level where profound hearing loss happens.
The researchers conducted the experiment in several convertibles and noted that regardless of the car, the noise hit 90 decibels, with a maximum of 99 decibels.
However, motorists can reduce the noise by rolling up the windows.
This can reduce the level to a mere 82 decibels.
Experts counseled that the harm to hearing increases gradually over time and the results may not be observed until much later.
Dr Mark Downs, of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, said: "Noise-induced hearing loss is frequently preventable. Regular exposure to noise levels of 88-90 decibels when driving a convertible for several hours a day can lead to permanent hearing loss over time."
"By winding up the windows or wearing basic ear protection, such as earplugs, drivers of convertibles can still enjoy driving whilst protecting their hearing."
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