How Convertibles will be the Deaf of You

By Joel Arellano | October 08, 2009
Studies have found that prolonged driving in convertibles with the top down can cause damage to the ears and lead to hearing loss. Dr. Philip Michael, a British ear, nose, and throat surgeon tested several different convertibles, at 50, 60, and 70 miles per hour and found that in convertibles, drivers are consistently exposed to noise levels between 88 and 90 decibels. Research has shown that repeated exposure to noise levels over 85 decibels can lead to hearing loss. According to Michael’s research the noise comes from a variety of sources, from the sound of the engine, exhaust, and tires, to other cars, and trucks, to even the sound of the wind brushing past you. While driving slower in a convertible might sound like the answer it may only make the problem even worse. According to Michael, driving slower will increase noise exposure due to the fact that drivers will be forced to spend more time around other cars and trucks, two of the main sources of the loud noises More studies should be done to test the hearing of drivers before and after a drive, as well as on those who drive in enclosed cars, but right now it looks like convertible owners should think about driving with the top up for awhile. Press release via Los Angeles Times
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10 comments
Pete0097
Pete0097

Then the gov'y should alow hearing protection while driving convertibles.

Vancouver Dodge
Vancouver Dodge

I hope the government will not ban this, though I wish they would disseminate this information publicly, and then give the people the free will to choose to be deaf or not to be deaf... :)

thesavagepony
thesavagepony

I do agree with you luciscup. I own a convertible to and it is a very rare occasion when you see me with the top down. Not to mention people with the top down are much more easy to pull over by a cop....excessive noise, visible alcohol bottles, condoms...etc. And yes...the sweat...that horrible feeling as soon as you get out of those "wet" leather seats at this point and you feel a drip going down your spine...just got chills thinking about it.

luciscup
luciscup

Oh and BTW, I'm not a fan of convertibles.. I own one, but I'm not a fan. Actually, I hate them. (I know I have a Miata, but only because it was never made as a coupe.) Because think of it... When it's nice and hot and sunny outside and you open the top, the interior gets so hot you can't even brush a hand against the center console without risking a burn and you feel as if your jeans are melting on your danm thighs and the sweat, oh the sweat. If it's cold, the wind enters the car and the weather suddenly becomes much colder than you previously thought. In my car, I can have the heater on full blast and still freeze my arse off in 50 degree weather. The only time I ever put the top down is when the sun's low enough to not be hot, or if it's a perfect 75.3 degree day. Or if I need to sober up at 2am. Wait, never mind that last part.

luciscup
luciscup

Ditto on the huge warning sticker. But I've driven some high-end convertibles like the Merc SL-class that have nearly zero wind buffeting and other convertible noise. I think this deafening noise bullshat applies only to cars that don't have an effective rear windblocker or have unoptimized aerodynamics for top-down action. What about a Spyder Ferrari? I think you'll go deaf from the engine/exhaust noise before the wind gets ya.

thesavagepony
thesavagepony

Awww yes.....the good old..."Open At Your Own Risk"........hahahaha....can you imagine the sales pitch..."it gets 22mpg, it has traction control, can destroy your ears but also has an impressive sound system!!"

jarellano
jarellano

enforcement on topless convertibles will be a lot easier than cell phones: cop to buxom driver: "ma'am, did you know your top's down?"

jarellano
jarellano

Edward: it'll probably happen up in canada and europe first. thesavagepony: they allowed the HUMMER on the road without special training!

thesavagepony
thesavagepony

HAHAHAHA.....well if they can ban phone calling and texting, then why not convertibles?? I mean after all, the only reason they ban things is because of our safety...right????

thesavagepony
thesavagepony

This paragraph makes no sense whatsoever....why would the title state that your ears can be in danger and yet the very second sentence state that "YOU MAY NOT BE PUTTING YOUR EARS AT RISK."

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