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NASCAR Wants to Make Racing Quieter – Do They Have a Point?

Don Jefferson Archives
Don Jefferson Archives

My dad was around aircraft his whole adult life. First in the Air Force and then as an engineer on rocket programs and fighter aircraft programs. His hearing wasn’t bad until it got to the higher frequencies, where he couldn’t hear anything. I’m in the same boat. Between loud speakers and headphones in radio studios, concerts, NASCAR races and the time I’ve spent around airplanes – I’m sure I’ve got some hearing issues. More than a few times I’ve been asked, “You don’t hear that?” And, I guess it’s a big problem if you work or hang around NASCAR tracks.

NASCAR’s now getting a little concerned about the volume of noise at their races. They’ve had this issue in the past, but originally the issue was complaints from people who lived near one of the racetracks. Nothing has been decided yet, but one of the “proposals” they’re thinking about again is bringing down the noise of the engines, for the health of the crew members and fans. But, I don’t think THEY even know how they’ll do that.

I have to admit, I rolled my eyes when I read about this earlier this week. The first reports said this was being mulled over due to the fact that fans have a tough time talking to each other over the noise of the race. I’ve always worn headsets to listen to the drivers on their radios, but I know not everybody does that. Then I started reading about audiology experts that say the average driver/crew member (and some fans) are exposed to noise levels of up to 140 dBs, especially at Bristol. 125dBs is where noise gets actually PAINFUL. And a lot of crew members and drivers have already had hearing problems. NASCAR tried mufflers in the past, but they didn’t help much. And wearing headsets only brings the noise down 15 – 25dbs. Not enough when that noise level goes on all day. Here’s a good article from 2011 about the situation.

So, what to do YOU think? Get better headsets for the crews? And let the fans know that they might want to go get more beer and hot dogs more often?

I was about to write, “you’ll be hearing more about this, soon” – but then I decided not to. :)


Banana Don and Stephanie McCoy amuse and thrill you every weekday morning from 5:30 – 10AM on the radio at 100.7 WITL.

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