Can Driving Impair Your Hearing?


New research shows that driving a convertible with the top down can damage your hearing. Many of us find nothing better than driving a sports car with the top down on beautiful spring or summer day. The wind blowing through our hair and the warmth of the sun on our face makes the drive a very enjoyable experience. But a new study indicates that this mode of travel may have consequences on our hearing.

Researchers tested several makes of automobiles with convertible options. In these test they found that the noise of the wind, while traveling at speeds of 55 mph (or greater), created levels of noise at 85 decibels or higher. This is equivalent to the sounds of a garbage disposal or vacuum cleaner and in the range to cause hearing loss if over an extended period.

Also there were dramatic noise spikes from passing motorcycles, trucks or buses. In all tests the car’s radio were turned-off, car horns were not used and the weather was in good conditions. No excessive decibels levels were recorder when the top was up and secured.

Researchers recommend that if you have a convertible automobile, you should consider driving with the top up for any long extended rides.

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