Say What? 3 Ways Loud Wind Can Make You Deaf

27 Mar '2018 Sound

Not only chainsaws, loud concerts and fighter jets can cause hearing damage. There’s also a more ‘silent’ killer on the loose: wind.

Yes, wind. You’ve probably never thought about it before, but wind can damage your hearing. If you’re just casually walking down the street and there’s some wind, there’s often nothing to be scared of. But if you like cycling or driving a convertible or a motorcycle, the noise created by the wind can cause serious harm to your ears.

1. Driving a convertible

Research by the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and The Ear Institute of Texas shows that long exposure to buffeting winds while riding in a top-down convertible car can cause hearing damage. Having the top down increases noise by about 15 dB, which means that hearing damage can start from the speed of 90 kmh (or 55 mph).

2. Cycling

As for cyclists: researchers from Henry Ford Hospital Department of Otolaryngology found that hearing damage can already start if you’re cycling normally on a flat terrain. Of course, your ear drums won’t rupture immediately but if you cycle every day, this can definitely be a problem. If you like cycle racing, then you should be more careful, because the sound levels of the wind can reach as much as 120 dB when a professional cyclist is racing downhill. 120 dB means immediate danger to your ears.

3. Motorcycles

Among motorcyclists, there’s the common misconception that the sound of the engine and the exhaust is the most dangerous to the ear. That’s not true, because the wind is a lot more harmful. It depends, of course, on how fast you’re driving, but the damage is comparable to when you’re driving a convertible.

The solution?

There are three options. One, you risk permanent hearing damage. Two, you don’t drive your convertible, motorcycle or bike anymore (doesn’t sound really great, huh?) Or, three: wear ear protection. Sounds like that’s not really a hard choice.

Do you know other causes of hearing damage? Let us know!

Sources: Healthy Hearing, Noisy Planet, Nu-LifeH earing

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