Noise exposure assessment for racing car drivers
World Safety Organisation
Place of Publication
School of Business and Law
Noise Induced Hearing Loss through excessive noise pollution has become an epidemic, being the third most common illness worldwide. Racing car drivers and flag marshals exposed to noise in the motor sport environment are potentially susceptible to excessive noise exposure above the recommended National Standard for Occupational Noise [NOHSC:1007(2000)]. This study measured the exposure to noise of flag marshals and selected racing car drivers, specifically within the cockpits of cars, during motor racing events at the Wanneroo Raceway in Western Australia. The effectiveness of currently used hearing protection devices were evaluated to determine the level of attenuation offered by the protectors and the protected exposure of the drivers and flag marshals. Analytical statistics were used to examine the dose-response relationship between identified factors that can be linked to hearing loss. Results were analyzed to identify the degree of noise exposure and whether the noise exposure was above the recommended Australian Standard of 85 dB(A). Results overall suggest that the motor sport environment is one with excessive noise levels and that drivers and flag marshals are exposed to levels that require the correct selection and use of hearing protection to reduce the protected exposure to below 85dB(A) and preferably to 75-80dB(A) if practicable. These results provide an advance in knowledge concerning noise exposure levels of racing car drivers and flag marshals during car racing events and provides a base line for further research. Recommendations are made for appropriate hearing protection for flag marshals and for racing car drivers in a variety of classes.