This weekend sees the Bathurst 1000 return to the iconic Mount Panorama race circuit. Arguably the biggest weekend of motorsport in Australia.
As a supplier of in-ear devices to several drivers and teams, iHear have the responsibility to ensure that pit crews can talk to their drivers throughout the seven hour race. The products we supply are not only used for team communications. They actively remove the harmful levels of sound from blasting the driver’s ears to bits over the course of a race.
The noise that drivers would be exposed to in the cockpits would not only be harmful to their hearing but also detrimental to their performance in the car. The body becomes fatigued from prolonged noise exposure which affects stress levels and the ability to concentrate. When you’re travelling at 300kph, a lack of concentration is something that can have very obvious consequences! The same goes for a member of the pit crew. When it comes time for a car to pit, they need to be 100% focused on getting the car back out onto the track as fast as possible. Not worrying about sticking their fingers in their ears!
It’s not just drivers and pit crews that are exposed to high sound levels throughout the race. A spectator can expect to be blasted with V8 noise which will peak at around 100 decibels if they’re close to the track. To give that some perspective, your average chainsaw produces the same amount of decibels! Personally, I find watching cars drive extremely fast around a track to be a more favourable pastime then a seven hour session of chain sawing . But each to their own…
Working with hearing products everyday gives me a view into a world where people don’t have the gift of being able to hear sounds. Just a few hours of exposure to extreme noise can damage your hearing permanently, which is a pretty scary thought!
It’s not all bad news, however. You can take some simple steps to protect your ears from damage. If you’re heading out to the mountain this weekend, stick a pair of well-fitting ear plugs in with your other essentials. It doesn’t matter if they are over ear defenders or the push in foam type that you get from the pharmacy. As long as they are well fitting, they should do the job.
Written by David Clayton, designer of custom hearing products and hearing aids at Starkey Australia.