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Noise exposure in convertible automobiles

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 November 2010

A A Mikulec*
Department of Otolaryngology, St Louis University School of Medicine, Missouri, USA
S B Lukens
Department of Otolaryngology, St Louis University School of Medicine, Missouri, USA
L E Jackson
The Ear Institute of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, USA
M N Deyoung
The Ear Institute of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, USA
Address for correspondence: Dr Anthony A Mikulec, Department of Otolaryngology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 3635 Vista, St Louis, MO 63110, USA E-mail:



To quantify the noise exposure received while driving a convertible automobile with the top open, compared with the top closed.


Five different convertible automobiles were driven, with the top both closed and open, and noise levels measured. The cars were tested at speeds of 88.5, 104.6 and 120.7 km/h.


When driving with the convertible top open, the mean noise exposure ranged from 85.3 dB at 88.5 km/h to 89.9 dB at 120.7 km/h. At the tested speeds, noise exposure increased by an average of 12.4–14.6 dB after opening the convertible top.


Driving convertible automobiles at speeds exceeding 88.5 km/h, with the top open, may result in noise exposure levels exceeding recommended limits, especially when driving with the convertible top open for prolonged periods.

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Copyright © JLO (1984) Limited 2010

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