The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Main Articles

Noise exposure in convertible automobiles

A A Mikuleca1 c1, S B Lukensa1, L E Jacksona2 and M N Deyounga2

a1 Department of Otolaryngology, St Louis University School of Medicine, Missouri, USA

a2 The Ear Institute of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, USA


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

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusion: 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.

(Accepted June 23 2010)

(Online publication November 25 2010)


c1 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:

Dr A A Mikulec takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper

Competing interests: None declared