According to a recent study, the answer is yes, if you are driving with the top down at a speed of 55 mph or over. The St. Louis University School of Medicine’s otolaryngology department and the Ear Institute of Texas published these findings in the English Journal of Laryngology & Otology. During the experiment, the teams tested a variety of cars at a variety of speeds. The researchers tested the cars themselves, foregoing earplugs since they could have caused safety issues on the road.Any sufficiently loud noise (over 85 dB) can be linked to noise-related hearing losssee “Hearing loss rates are soaring” for more examples. The mean decibel level across the different models tested was 85.3 dB at 55 mph. At 65 mph, the average dB level was 88.4, rising to 89.9 dB at 75 mph.For those who regularly drive or ride in convertibles, these findings might not come as much of a surprise. We take for granted many noises every day that can negatively affect our hearing. In this case, though, a little discretion can accomplish a lotsimply drop the top to experience a regression in dB levels that could help you keep your hearing far into the future.Also, take a tally of other activities that could exceed healthy levels. Don’t offset the benefits of driving with the top down by blasting the radio, for example. Lawnmowers hit somewhere around 90 dB while a chainsaw hits 110 dB, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. If possible, use hearing protection such as ear plugs to keep safe when performing these activities. As in convertible driving, sacrificing a little style can be well worth it. Besides, who’s to say that ear plugs won’t be the next big thing in the fashion world, as more and more people become aware of these findings?