Hearing Loss Community
Driving and Protecting Hearing
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Driving and Protecting Hearing

I posted this over in the "ask a doctor" forum, but I wanted to post this over here for some discussion.  I'm wanting to be proactive about protecting my hearing and wanted to ask for some advice about noise exposure while driving in my car, which generates about an average amount of internal noise.  While driving I took sound level meter readings and measured about 73-74db with A-weighting and about 91-92db with C-weighting.  That's a pretty big difference between the two so I'm not sure which one to abide by.  91db makes me a little uneasy for an 8 hr trip.  I'm guessing the low frequency rumblings from the road are what make the C-weighting so high, many of which are probably outside the audible range.  I know that OSHA advisory for protecting hearing is in reference to A-weighting, which means your fine in a car, but it seems OSHA's advisory is a controversial. Anyway, I'd like to hear anyone's thoughts on this!
3 Comments Post a Comment
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1740498_tn?1328966185
Hi and welcome to the Hearing Loss community!

You are wise to be proactive about your hearing. While hearing aids get better every year, I think none of us have a strong desire to need them.

You want to go with A weighting. C weighting is a different scale, so 91 dB is not as loud as it seems like it would be. There are a couple of good sound level meter apps, for people who may read this later. Decibel 10th and SPL meter are easy to use.

Ear plugs and noise-canceling headphones are good options for hearing protection; however, you will need to check the laws in the state(s) where you drive. I know that it is illegal to listen to music using earphones/headphones while driving in many states. I have never thought to check on ear plugs, though.

73-74 dB is OK for daily exposure. You want to be cautious above 80 dB and very cautious above 90 dB. I am sure you have seen the recommendations for number of minutes/hours at each SPL level in dB.

Folks, always use hearing protection while using power tools (including lawnmowers), going to concerts, and during takeoff and landing on an airplane. Honestly, using hearing protection the entire time you fly is a good idea. It is louder on the plane than you would think. Don't turn your music and TV way way up. Be smart, don't go deaf at an early age. Although we consider hearing loss to be a normal part of aging, in African and South American villages, the old people hear as well as young adults.

You have the right idea, my friend. Take care!

BC
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152264_tn?1280358257
BC, great advice, and thanks for the tip on earplugs while flying. Up to now I've only used them on the plane while trying to sleep, but from now on it's earplugs all the way! :)
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1740498_tn?1328966185
Who wants to hear the other passengers anyway? ;)

I use noise-canceling headphones to listen to music while flying. If you listen to music, noise-canceling headphones are important, because the background noise on the plane will make you think the music is quiet when it's really loud. So you might turn it up too high.

Anyway, I like to listen to music while flying, even if I'm reading a book or something, just to get into my own little world.
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