New Study Shows Driving Convertibles Can Damage Your Hearing

We all know that driving a convertible with the top down is very flash and brilliant in the summer time, ultimately showing off to people that you can afford a nice car.

But new findings revealed by “Journal of Laryngology and Otology” show that driving a convertible with the top down going 55 miles per hour (mph) or faster, may be hurting your hearing and increasing your risk of hearing loss over time.

The study has found that noise from the wind and the extreme noise “spikes” heard when passing loud vehicles such as a bus or motorcycle, contribute to the ear damage.

The noise level standards of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health were used, which describes decibel levels greater than 85 considered excessive and in the dangerous range.


Of the convertibles tested, 80 per cent of the people driving at 55 mph with the top down produced sound level measures above 85 decibels.

This was even greater when driving at 75 mph, which recorded on average sound levels of about 89.9 decibels; the same sounds made by vacuum cleaners, garbage disposals, big trucks and loud music.

When travelling behind the wheel with the top closed, no excessive decibel levels were recorded.


The researchers used a sound meter, operated by a passenger in test cars, who took eight to 10 sound measurements at multiple points and at various speeds in their rides in the driver’s left ear.

To ensure the study was as accurate as possible, in all tests the radios were turned off, car horns weren’t used and the weather was good, with no rain or other severe weather.

Of the convertibles used, the scientists included a Ford, a Nissan, a Saab, a Saturn, and a Porsche.

So advice to all you drivers who travel with the roof top down; you could be impairing your hearing by doing so. From now on, drive with it up or you may have to use a hearing aid later on in life.

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