Did you know that you can gradually lose your hearing if you drive with the windows rolled down?
The Journal of the American Academy of Audiology published a study revealing that people who drive on a daily basis with their windows rolled down, for at least an hour, are three times more susceptible to hearing loss.
Another study from the Henry Ford Hospital Department of Otolaryngology showed that cyclists are subject to 85 decibels (dB) of wind resistance when traveling at the speed of 15 MPH and 120 dB at the speed of 60 MPH.
These studies confirm that operating a vehicle with the windows open can put you at more risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) since a car has more resistance than a bike.
On average, driving a vehicle on a highway with the down can reach 90-115 dB.
Noise exposures that reach over 100 dB can cause permanent damage to your hearing in under 15 minutes.
The only way to prevent NIHL is to avoid loud environments that reach over 70 A-weighted decibels (dBA) - this is an expression of relative loudness of sounds that are perceived by the human ear. Constant exposure to noises between 70-85 dBA (depending on your personal sensitivity to sounds) can slowly harm your hearing.
3 Ways to Protect Your Hearing Loss
1. Keep Your Windows Rolled Up
Studies have proven that keeping your windows up lowers the risk of hearing loss related to driving. If you drive a vehicle that has a loud engine, especially at higher speeds, you can experience symptoms of tinnitus. Heavy city traffic noises (80-85 dB) are also something to consider while driving. When assessing your risks for hearing loss and tinnitus, think of this formula: Noise level + length of time = risk of hearing loss/tinnitus.
2. Lower the Volume of Your Music
Traffic noises are already a risk factor that you can’t control, so listening to loud music while driving can worsen symptoms of hearing loss and tinnitus. Turning the volume up to cover up heavy traffic noises will put you at an even higher risk of hearing loss, and you may miss important environmental cues that can make you a safe driver.
3. Get a Hybrid or an Electric Car
If you are looking for a new car and it’s within your budget, get a hybrid car, an electric car, or a 4-cylinder engine vehicle.
These cars produce less noise compared to gas-powered vehicles because of the electric motor.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss, please get in touch with us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.