Drivers, start your ENGINES!
As a motorsports fan, those four words bring to life endless amounts of fun. But, as an audiologist, they make me shudder.
I have been a motorsports fan for most of my life, and I have attended events at large and small racetracks all over the country. One consistent thing has been my use of earplugs.
Let me put on my audiology hat for a minute. Your ears are amazing. They take in sound, convert it to electrical impulses and transfer these impulses to the brain to be processed. Like any organ, they can be damaged by misuse or overuse. You must protect and take care of your ears so that they last a lifetime.
However, I love auto racing. All kinds of racing. From go-karts to Formula 1 and everything in between. We live in NASCAR country. It’s necessary to safely balance the needs of our ears with the need for speed.
Protect Your Hearing
From car and engine noise to PA systems to fans screaming for their driver, racing and racetracks can get pretty noisy. You, as a spectator, are surrounded by 100dB or more of noise for hours, which is much longer than the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace recommends.
You can enjoy racing safely and for longer periods of time by using good, well-fit earplugs or earmuffs. In certain cases, earplugs and earmuffs can be used together to create even more noise suppression.
I plan on being out at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October. And, as always, I’ll have my earplugs in for the duration of the race. I plan on being able to hear and enjoy racing for many years to come.
Your hearing is worth protecting. If you experience sudden hearing loss, muffled hearing or tinnitus after loud noise exposure, see your audiologist immediately. Healthy hearing is for everyone!
Blog written by Julie Palazzolo, M.A. CCC-A, Senior Clinical Audiologist at CSHC