A study out of Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcestershire, U.K. suggests that riding in your convertible may just be damaging your hearing. Hearing loss can occur when you are exposed to sounds above 85 decibels for long periods of time. 85 decibels may not seem like a lot, but consider that a typical conversation is about 60 decibels, and a rock concert tops off at around 115 decibels.

Philip Michael, MD, an ear nose and throat surgeon and lead on the study, found that riding at at 70 miles per hour in a convertible with the top down caused up to 89 decibels of sound — exceeding the threshold for safe hearing. So, that long a long weekend trip and hours of highway driving might just mean bad news in the long run for your hearing.

The study tested seven different types of cars driven at 50, 60, and 70 miles per hour. Noise levels were tested at the driver’s roadside ear. The noise level didn’t increase significantly with speed but 70 miles per hour was found to be the nosiest.

So how can you protect your hearing while still enjoying your convertible? Wearing ear plugs or rolling up the windows will cut the noise level significantly, allowing you to feel the wind in your hair without the high cost of hearing loss. Also, limiting the duration or speed of your drives will help to moderate the effects on your ears.


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