Riding With the Top Down May Put Hearing at
FRIDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Riding in a convertible with
the top down could damage your hearing, a new study warns.
U.S. researchers conducted sound level measurements using five
different makes and models of convertibles. In 80 percent of the
cars, noise levels were above 85 decibels (dB) when the top was
down and the car was traveling at 55 miles per hour (mph) or
Exposure to noise levels above 85 dB for prolonged periods is
not recommended, according to the U.S. National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health.
At 75 mph, 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,
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 traveling for extended periods of time at speeds exceeding [55 mph]," the researchers concluded in a news release.
The study was published in a recent online edition of the
Journal of Laryngology and Otology.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery
has more about
noise and hearing loss.
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