A 725-horsepower engine makes a thrilling sound. But both drivers and fans can pay a high price for that thrill, hearing experts warn.
The St. Augustine Record reports that legendary driver Richard Petty now has to wear hearing aids in both ears.
“Every time you’re in that environment, it ... makes the damage worse,” Carolyn Hall, director of audiology for the North Florida Center for Hearing and Balance, told the Record.
Most race drivers now wear earplugs and headsets, but Hall says that's probably not enough. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health calculates that damage to the ear happens when a decibel level of 85 is sustained during an eight-hour period.
Decibel levels can reach 130 on a pit road or inside a race car, meaning that the threshold of sound is broken 50 to 900 times in one race.
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