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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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Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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