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Driving with the Top Down: Sun Screen isn’t the Only Protection You Need

Hot summer days and the right set of wheels beg for a fast, open-air drive down the highway. And why not? With the wind blowing your hair amok, the sound of the road, your car and other cars making it impossible to talk – who would want to anyway – and timelessness transport us to another realm. It’s refreshing and exhilarating, but most of all, it’s that wild sense of freedom that beckons us to keep coming back for more.

And the re-percussions? The echoing sensations we’re left with? Well, sure, we may feel that enduring freedom. Maybe we’re cooled down a bit. Maybe you’ve even been on a practical open-air escapade. But before we get carried away by the exhilaration of the ride, let’s think about something we may never have considered when driving with the windows or top down: your HEARING.

The repercussions of significant time spent driving with the windows or top down can be far-reaching for your hearing. You see, in complete development, your ears have fewer than 20,000 hair cells. That’s important, because unlike many other self-proliferating human cells, this is your final number of hair cells in the ear. And those cells carry the responsibility of transmitting sound to the brain for translation into discernible words. Once you damage them, they’re done for… and so goes your hearing. Sounds are unclear, indiscernible, caput.

When you’re riding in an open-air vehicle, one with windows down, a convertible, or – even worse in this case – a motorcycle, the noise tops 85 decibels, the level at which extended periods of exposure begin to damage your ear’s hair cells. Now that’s something to listen to. If you spend extended periods of time – say, a regular 2-4 hours at a time – riding open-air, your hearing is likely at risk.

In the heat of Las Vegas, many of us are tempted to drive in the open air on the desert highways. At Hearing Associates of Las Vegas, we see patients regularly who have no idea how their healthy hearing disappeared. When we mention the hearing risks associated with open-air driving, the reason for the hearing loss that occurred over time becomes more clear. We are experienced in treating people for hearing loss that originates from many sources. And although we cannot fix existing hearing loss, we can help you manage it. If you’re the proactive type, we can also provide ear protection for you so you won’t damage your ears anymore when you decide to drive open-air on Nevada’s roads. Call us today to see how we can help manage your hearing.