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Convertibles 'could damage hearing'

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Convertible owners should think twice before driving with the hood down as it could adversely affect their hearing, US experts have warned.

Motorists who cruise around with the roof down for long durations run the risk of exposing themselves to noise levels above the recommended work safety limit of 85 decibels, they said.

Dr Anthony Mikulec of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine told the Daily Mail: "Long duration driving at high speeds with the top open will increase the risk of hearing damage."

The researchers said a convertible moving at 70mph is as noisy as a dance floor in a nightclub. They suggested it would be better for convertible drivers if they wear earplugs or raise the roof while driving at speeds in excess of 52mph.

"In light of the results, we are recommending that drivers be advised to drive with the top closed when travelling for extended periods at speeds exceeding 52mph," added Dr Mikulec.

© Press Association 2011