Hearing management

Updated 19 September 2016

Riding in a convertable can damage hearing

Riding in a convertible with the top down could damage your hearing, a new study warns.

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Riding in a convertible with the top down could damage your hearing, a new study warns.

Researchers conducted sound level measurements using five different makes and models of convertibles. In 80% of the cars, noise levels were above 85 decibels (dB) when the top was down and the car was travelling at 89km per hour or faster.

Exposure to noise levels above 85 dB for prolonged periods is not recommended, according to the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

At 120km/h, the mean level of noise in a convertible with the top down was 89.9 dB, the study authors found. (No excess noise exposure was found when driving a convertible with the top up, researchers noted.)

Hearing and open-top cars

During the sound measurements when the convertible top was down, the car radio was off, there was no conversation between occupants, air conditioning was off, the car horn was not used, and there was no rain or rough weather.

In addition to the noise caused by having the top down, people in convertibles can also be exposed to extreme noise spikes while driving, such as when they're beside a motorcycle or truck, noted Dr Anthony A. Mikulec, of the department of otolaryngology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and colleagues.

And listening to music can be an issue too, because the volume levels required while driving a convertible with the top down significantly increased noise levels.

"In light of the results of this study, we are recommending that drivers be advised to drive with the top closed when travelling for extended periods of time at speeds exceeding [90km/h]," the researchers concluded. The study was published in a recent online edition of the Journal of Laryngology and Otology.


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 

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Francis Slabber is a Speech & Language Therapist and Audiologist who has owned and run The Hearing Clinic in Wynberg, Cape Town for the last 17 years. Francis and her team have extensive experience in fitting and supplying hearing aids as well as assistive living devices. Francis has served as the Western Cape Chairperson for the South African Association of Audiologists for three years and has given many talks on the topic of hearing loss and amplification. The Hearing Clinic has a special interest in adult and geriatric hearing impairment, hearing aid fittings and hearing rehabilitation.

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