Tags: driving convertibles | bad | hearing | permanently damage hearing

Driving Convertibles Is Bad for Hearing

Monday, 12 October 2009 09:23 AM

Cruising down the highway with the top of your convertible down may feel great, but it can also permanently damage your hearing. A new study recorded noise levels in convertibles being driven at 50 to 70 mph on a par with construction sites and nearing the volume of an ear-pounding pneumatic drill. Wind noise, driving speed, road surface and traffic congestion all contributed to the ear-splitting volume. Consistent readings were recorded in the 88 to 99 decibel range with the noise level rising as speed increased. Repeated exposure to sounds over 85 decibels are widely recognized to raise the risk of permanent hearing loss.

Surgeon Philip Michael, an ear, nose and throat specialist who was in charge of the research said, “These noise levels, over a period of time and given repeated exposure, have the potential to cause hearing loss,” he told the Daily Mail.

“The more you do, the more chance you have of developing permanent problems. It's a cumulative risk.”

“Noise-induced hearing loss is frequently preventable,” said Dr. Mark Downs of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People. “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.”

Most noise-induced hearing loss comes slowly without overt signs, but one clue that your driving habits may be harming your hearing is a buzzing noise in your ears after driving.

“The likelihood is that, for short trips, you’re really not going to do much,” Dr. Michael told CNN. “But if you’re spending the whole summer driving around with your top down on a highway, then doing it on a regular basis increases your chances.”
Experts suggest wearing ear protection, such as earplugs, or partly rolling up the windows while still leaving the top down.

© HealthDay

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Cruising down the highway with the top of your convertible down may feel great, but it can also permanently damage your hearing.
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Monday, 12 October 2009 09:23 AM
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