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Convertibles Pose Serious Hearing Threat

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Riding in a convertible can seriously damage your hearing, researchers warn.

A study found that noise levels with the top down reach 88 to 90 decibels when the car is traveling at 50, 60 and 70 miles an hour, BBC News reported. Noise louder than 85 decibels poses a risk of permanent hearing damage.

The findings were published in the journal Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery and discussed at a U.S. meeting of ear, nose and throat experts.

Wind, road, engine and traffic noise levels in a convertible can be nearly as loud as the sound of a pneumatic drill, researchers say. They recommend that drivers and passengers wear some form of hearing protection, as motorcyclists do.

"Regular exposure to noise levels of 88-90 decibels when driving a convertible for several hours a day can lead to permanent hearing loss over time," Dr Mark Downs, of England's Royal National Institute for Deaf People, told BBC News. "By winding up the windows or wearing basic ear protection, such as earplugs, drivers of convertibles can still enjoy driving whilst protecting their hearing."