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Driving a convertible ‘could damage your hearing’

Scientists warn against repeated exposure to noise

Could top-down driving harm your hearing?

Could top-down driving harm your hearing?

Roaring along the open road in a convertible with the top down may be a thrill – but it could leave you deaf, researchers have warned.

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A study found that the combined noise of the engine, wind and other traffic can be enough to cause serious hearing loss.

Scientists measured sound levels associated with driving a convertible at 50, 60 and 70mph.

They discovered that motorists were consistently exposed to between 88 and 90 decibels of noise, reaching a peak of 99 decibels.

‘Permanent hearing loss’

‘Long or repeated exposure to sounds over 85 decibels is widely recognised to cause permanent hearing loss,’ said the scientists, led by Philip Michael, from New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.

One remedy for people unwilling to give up the joys of top-down motoring is keeping the car windows raised, said the researchers. This could significantly reduce noise exposure levels to 82 decibels.

The research was presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation annual meeting in San Diego, California.

Best sports cars

To read reviews of convertibles, including the new soft-top Mazda MX-5 and the BMW 3 Series Convertible, check out our guide to the best sports cars.

© Press Association 2009


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