Anyone who visits Formula 1 or MotoGP races can tell that the track can be deafening. As a fan of the motor races, there is a good chance that you find this sound fantastic. It gives you goosebumps – in a good way. However, the noise on the track is often so loud that it hurts your ears. You can also permanently damage your hearing after watching in the stands only once! Besides worsened hearing, you can also suffer a permanent hard beep in your ears (tinnitus), or hypersensitivity and pain, even with soft sounds (hyperacusis). You don’t want this, of course. Read our hearing tips for the track!
FORMULA 1 AND MOTOGP: DEAFENING
Motor races easily produce 130 decibels along the track. This can immediately and permanently damage your hearing. Let us clarify: sound can be harmful from 80 decibels and more. This is similar to the sound produced by a busy road. You can safely spend 8 hours at 80 decibels without suffering hearing damage. This duration is reduced by half with every 3 decibels over 80. Sound becomes twice as loud with every 3 decibels. You can only stay in a room with 83 decibels for four hours without damaging your hearing. And this is only 2 hours at 86 decibels! Sounds above 110 decibels are so loud that they are immediately harmful.
TIP 1: DON’T SIT TOO CLOSE TO THE CIRCUIT
You lower the number of decibels to which you are exposed by not sitting directly along the track. Do you want to know how loud the sound in your environment is? Download our MusicSafe Check app. This app shows you how loud the sound around you is. It also tells you how long you can safely stay there with or without ear plugs.
TIP 2: WEAR EAR PLUGS
When you wear ear plugs, you significantly reduce the number of decibels to which you are exposed. But what hearing protection is suitable? Since the sound on the track is louder than at an average music festival, a high degree of protection is important. Is this the first time you will go to a motor race, or do you only go occasionally? We recommend the Alpine WorkSafe ear plugs. These have a high degree of protection of 23 decibels. The WorkSafe ear plugs also provide a relatively high degree of protection against high frequencies. This is because they are meant to protect against the high noise of electric tools, for example. This noise closely matches motorcycles and race cars on the track. Alpine WorkSafe ear plugs provide a higher degree of protection than MotoSafe ear plugs. MotoSafe ear plugs are primarily intended to mute the noise created by the wind in your helmet.
Do you regularly visit the track, or do you race yourself? Custom ear plugs may be worth considering. The degree of protection is adapted to your use. Custom ear plugs last four to five years on average. This depends on how rapidly your ear ducts change. Your ears keep growing when you age, and ear plugs will fail to fit perfectly after a number of years. Universal ear plugs last one to two seasons on average if you use them regularly.
TIP 3: TAKE ‘EAR BREAKS’
The thousands of tiny hair cells in the cochlea enable us to hear. These cells send signals to our brains. There, these signals are converted into sound. Loud noise demands a lot from these hair cells. Regularly give your ears a break and find a quiet spot. Your hair cells will recover and not be permanently damaged.
The most suitable ear plugs for Formula 1 races are the Alpine WorkSafe ear plugs or custom ear plugs. Don’t sit too close to the track and take an ‘ear break’ every once in a while. Enjoy!