Study Finds Convertibles Promote Hearing Loss

9 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Study Finds Convertibles Promote Hearing Loss
Morgan 4/4

Study Finds Convertibles Promote Hearing Loss

Lotus Elise

Here’s a story bound to leave a lot of people asking—“What?”

A recent study, has found conclusive evidence that riding in convertibles at high speed can have an adverse effect upon your hearing. And, of course, those of us who love sports cars are at elevated risk, as often, in addition to the speed we have louder exhaust systems as well.

According to our friends at

If you are exposed for long periods above 85 decibels [of sound], you have the potential for hearing loss, says Philip Michael, MD, an ear-nose-throat surgeon at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcestershire, U.K. and the study’s lead author. In his study, he found that the noise level with the top down was higher than 85 decibels. The maximum noise was at 70 miles per hour and that was 89 decibels. It has the potential for causing long-term hearing loss.”

Putting those decibel levels in context, a normal conversation is about 60 decibels; a rock concert is about 115 decibels.

To perform the study, Dr. Michael borrowed six cars from his friends, and a seventh one from the manufacturer (the Morgan) and took sound level readings at the driver’s ear level.

The cars were:

Toyota MR2

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Audi A4 Cabriolet

Morgan Plus 4 Roadster

Porsche 997 Carrera (911)

Aston Martin V-8 Vantage

Bentley Continental GT Convertible

Taking measurements for one minute while each of the cars was driven at 50, 60 and 70 miles per hour with the windows and top down, Dr. Michael found the noise levels averaged 89 decibels regardless of the car. Here’s one case where being more expensive didn’t offer any advantage.

Dr. Michael also found that running the cars with the windows up and the top down dropped noise levels by about 5 db. Cars with wind guards were noticeably quieter as well—when the guards were in place. The doctor found another way to reduce risk is to avoid running on the freeway with the top down.

Noise levels are significantly higher on the freeway, as you also have inputs from all of the surrounding traffic. Country roads are quieter, but the risk still exists at elevated speeds.

Now, we’re sure Sports Car Monitor users are smart enough to know this one on their own—but just in case—ear plugs, noise canceling headphones and noise blocking ear phones are not recommended because they also inhibit your ability to hear sirens and horns that may be warning you of potential danger.

So, going for that top speed run in your Continental GTC?

You might want to raise the roof— before you get that party started.

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