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Driving a convertible can make you deaf

By Rigval on 18 Jan 2011

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It seems that driving a convertible or cabriolet with its top down may permanently damage one’s hearing. This recent spoiler of a statement was made by the folks at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine in the United States after a recent study. According to their findings, driving at 110km/h over a long period of time meant that you were exposed to noise levels above the recommended work safety level of 85decibels.

This latest automotive study was published in the Journal of Laryngology and Otology. It basically stated that at 86km/h the noise exposure reached volumes similar to a construction site and at around 110km/hm it was like spending the night on the dancefloor at a local nightspot. The noise levels achieved when cruising at 110km/h with the top down meant that the drivers experienced 90decibel noise levels, which is on par with being a meter away from either a police siren or a pneumatic drill.

The tests were carried out on vehicles which included convertible versions of the Porsche 911, the Nissan 350Z and the Saab Aero. It also found out that those that drive convertibles usually make things worse if they turn up the volumes on their radio/stereo systems while driving with the top down. The other thing they discovered is that there are noise spikes when convertibles pass or are passed by lorries and large vehicles. These factors are detrimental to hearing too.

'In light of the results, we are recommending that drivers be advised to drive with the top closed when travelling for extended periods at speeds exceeding 85.3kmph’ said Dr Anthony Mikulec, of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. He further added that 'Long duration driving at high speeds with the top open will increase the risk of hearing damage.' In fact, you are advised to don earplugs if you insist on leaving the top down.

And this mood spoiling piece of news came right after yours truly over here did over 200km in a 1954 MGTF1500 with its top down. Luckily my average speed on the North South Highway was 80-90km/h as this old gal had only 4 gears, incredibly ridiculous scuttle shake (it was a convertible designed right after World War II – what would you expect?) and NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) that would make a Suzuki Alto feel like a Mercedes E-class. However, I am glad to report that I still have my hearing and THAT it is extremely doubtful that any individual driving a convertible can stand OR maintain driving to anywhere at precisely 85.3km/h.

I do love these scientists, a.k.a spoilsports, as they can come up with research showing that we have to drive a speeds with a decimal point threshold before something detrimental actually happens. What next? A study showing that you wig or hairpiece will actually lift off from one’s head at precisely 67.9km/h if you’re driving a BMW 645i convertible?

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motoring news, cause of deafness and 3 more...

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

  • 1
Good-Carbuyer Jan 18 2011 11:28 AM
Haha, safety first. Wear ear plugs for protection against noise-induced deafness. To look smart wear ear muffs...
Rigval Jan 18 2011 12:14 PM
ear muffs? In our weather? :P
Antlau Jan 18 2011 02:23 PM
Waear helmet lor... :p
HSL Jan 19 2011 01:10 AM
turn on your stereo man!!!
  • 1
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