Driving a convertible could be hazardous to health

January 5th, 2011 - 6:07 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 5 (IANS) Driving a convertible with the top down could be hazardous to your health — exposing you to dangerous noise levels, claims a new study. Levels as high as 100 decibels were recorded at a speed of 75 mph which for long periods could lead to damage to hearing. Even at 55 mph, levels were above 85 dB, the equivalent to a construction site.

Road surface, other traffic, wind noise and driving speed - all contributed to the cacophony, the Journal of Laryngology and Otology reports.

Noise spikes - caused by passing cars, lorries and motorbikes - added to the danger, according to the Telegraph.

Researchers from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Missouri in the US, carried out tests on five cars including a Porsche, Saab, Nissan and Ford and recorded the noise levels at 55 mph and 75 mph.

They found that at lower speed, sound levels regularly exceeded 88 dB, the equivalent of a diesel train passing or a construction site.

At higher speed, it could be the equivalent of a jet plane passing overhead or a nightclub.

Exposure to noise above 85 dB for prolonged periods is generally considered to damage hearing.

“We are recommending that drivers be advised to drive with the top closed when travelling for extended periods of time at speeds exceeding 85.3 kmph (52 mph),” said Anthony Mikulec from the St Louis University, who oversaw the study.

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