Saturday, January 8, 2011

St Louis University says top down driving may damage your hearing

We know that driving with the top down induces wind roar and much ruffling of hair but now we have conclusive evidence that the wind roar can actually damage our eardrums.

Studies by AA Mikulec et al found that the noise level at 88.5km.h to be 85.3dB and increases to 89.9 at 120km/h.

They conclude that driving a convertible at speeds faster than 88.5km/h for prolonged periods would mean subjecting our ears to noise level beyond the recommended limit

The abstract of the study can be found below, if you are feeling particularly academic, click on the link to find the full research paper

Noise exposure in convertible automobiles

A A Mikuleca1 c1, S B Lukensa1, L E Jacksona2 and M N Deyounga2

a1 Department of Otolaryngology, St Louis University School of Medicine, Missouri, USA
a2 The Ear Institute of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, USA
Objective: To quantify the noise exposure received while driving a convertible automobile with the top open, compared with the top closed.
Methods: Five different convertible automobiles were driven, with the top both closed and open, and noise levels measured. The cars were tested at speeds of 88.5, 104.6 and 120.7 km/h.
Results: When driving with the convertible top open, the mean noise exposure ranged from 85.3 dB at 88.5 km/h to 89.9 dB at 120.7 km/h. At the tested speeds, noise exposure increased by an average of 12.4–14.6 dB after opening the convertible top.
Conclusion: Driving convertible automobiles at speeds exceeding 88.5 km/h, with the top open, may result in noise exposure levels exceeding recommended limits, especially when driving with the convertible top open for prolonged periods.

For full study go to Cambridge Journal

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