As we all know, driving is an essential part of our daily lives. Whether it’s commuting to work, running errands, or going on road trips, driving is a necessary activity for many of us. However, what many people don’t realize is that driving can also have a significant impact on our hearing health.
How driving can contribute to hearing loss
Driving with windows down can expose your ears to high decibels. Exposure to sounds over 85 decibels can damage your hearing, and driving with your windows down can expose your ears to 89 dB and higher.
Wind resistance can slow your vehicle and damage your hearing. Driving with your windows down creates drag that cuts into your fuel efficiency. Additionally, wind resistance slows your vehicle and creates a significant amount of noise while you’re driving. This can be damaging to your hearing because you’ve eliminated the barrier between yourself and the wind.
Traffic and speed also contribute to hearing damage. Bustling traffic, especially large trucks and motorcycles, can produce excesses of 100 dB, which can cause hearing loss in just 15 minutes of exposure.
The noise your car makes can be harmful to your hearing. Gas engines produce noise and vibrations during constant combustion, which can damage your hearing even inside a car.
4 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Hearing Loss While Driving
But don’t worry – there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of hearing loss while driving. Let’s explore three ways to protect your hearing while on the road.
Opt for a Hybrid, Electric, or 4-Cylinder Car
Choose a vehicle with a hybrid, electric, or 4-cylinder engine, as these tend to be quieter and generate less road noise than larger vehicles like a Ford F-150 or McLaren Spider. Hybrid cars, in particular, can help reduce noise pollution inside the car by using an electric motor, and they can also save you money on gas.
Keep Your Windows Up
Studies have shown that keeping your windows up while driving can reduce the risk of developing hearing loss related to driving. Even if you’re driving a car with a loud engine, especially at high speeds, keeping the windows up can prevent your ears from ringing or feeling like they’re buzzing from the noise. If you’re on a long-distance journey, take regular breaks and switch things up between having the windows open and closed. If you drive a convertible or a Jeep Wrangler, keep the side windows rolled up even if the top is down to reduce your noise exposure. If you drive a motorcycle, consider investing in helmet muffs that will reduce your noise exposure.
Lower the Volume of Your Music
While driving, avoid turning up the volume of your music too high to hear it over the road noise. This is putting you in dangerous territory when it comes to potential damaging noise exposure. Listening to music at a lower volume can help reduce the risk of hearing damage and ensure you can still hear important environmental cues that ensure your safety on the road.
Practice Safe Driving Habits
Lastly, safe driving habits can help reduce the risk of hearing loss while on the road. When you practice safe driving habits, you can minimize the amount of time you’re exposed to loud sounds, like those from honking cars or construction sites.
Some safe driving habits include:
- Avoiding congested areas during rush hour
- Using alternative routes to avoid construction sites
- Rolling up your windows when driving in noisy areas
- Taking breaks during long drives to rest your ears
Additionally, following basic driving safety guidelines, like wearing a seatbelt and avoiding distracted driving, can help prevent accidents and reduce the risk of hearing damage from a collision.
We’re committed to helping our patients protect and improve their hearing health. If you’re experiencing any hearing-related issues, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing professionals. Our team of experts can help you identify any hearing loss and provide personalized treatment options to meet your unique needs. With early intervention, we can help you improve your quality of life by ensuring you can communicate effectively with your loved ones, hear important sounds while driving, and enjoy your favorite activities without limitations.
Don’t let hearing loss impact your daily life or put your safety at risk while driving. Take the necessary steps to protect your hearing health and schedule an appointment with us today. We’re here to help you hear your best and live your life to the fullest.