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Protecting your hearing at the Indy 500

Posted: 5:23 PM, May 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-22 00:05:54-04
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INDIANAPOLIS — Going to the Indianapolis 500 is an unforgettable experience, especially hearing the roar of the engines for the first time.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway president, Doug Boles, says that what's important is that you can hear.

"I just want people to be aware with what's happening," Boles said.

The IMS president was sporting his blue suit and tie, and also, his matching earplugs.

Since doctors say, he's on the verge of needing hearing aids after being around the loud cars over the years.

"Your hearing you can't get back, once you've lost it, it doesn't come back," Boles said. "Really, I'm in a mode where the best thing I can do is protect what I have."

Therefore, Boles urges you to have earplugs or headsets at the Indy 500 and race fans are agreeing.

"I did it before without them, and by the end of it my ears are ringing and I can't hear anything for the rest of the day," Dan Gradl, a race fan who uses hearing protection, said.

IU Health doctors say long exposure to 85 decibels can damage your hearing. The track will be around 100 decibels, and if you're up close to the cars, it can get up to 130.

"If you're exposed to very loud sounds for a short period of time you can have acute hearing loss or some ringing in the ears called tinnitus, and those are both signs of damage to your inner ear," Dr. Sarah Burgin, an otolaryngologist at IU Health, said.

"Even if you don't notice hearing loss immediately after the race, or after the noise exposure, you could develop hearing loss down the road if you have repeated exposures to loud noises."

If you forget your earplugs that's okay; you can buy protective hearing headsets from Racing Electronics at five different locations on race day, that will knock out about fifty percent of the background sound at the Indy 500.

Fans also use headsets to enhance their experience at the track.

"The headsets, when they're plugged into the scanner, gives you a better view of what's going on with the race," tom Dean, a race fan who uses hearing protection, said. "You can get a better view of what's going on with the race. You can listen to the drivers, the tv, the radio, safety, race control. It really puts you in the middle of the race."

Protect your hearing while enjoying your time watching this year's Indy 500.

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