How loud can a NASCAR race be?

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WATKINS GLEN, NY – AUGUST 09: NASCAR fans take in the action during the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – NASCAR week is upon us here in the Twin Tiers, and with it soon comes the roar of 900 horsepower engines screaming around the track at Watkins Glenn International.

With an event as loud as this, some might wonder, how loud can a NASCAR race really be, and if it’s worth wearing earplugs?

When it comes to wearing ear protection, the short answer is yes, some sort of ear protection should be worn at NASCAR events to protect from hearing loss.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a person can withstand 90 decibels (dB) for up to eight hours, that’s about as much noise a busy city street gives off.

It doesn’t take much of an increase for the hearing levels to turn from safe to damaging. About 115 dB can only be listened to at a safe level for 15 minutes before damaging your ears.

One full throttle NASCAR in the pits can reach sound levels as high as 130 dB, while fans who are enjoying the race can experience sounds levels around 100 dB.

To put that into perspective, 100 dB is as loud as a lawnmower, while 130 dB is as loud as a thunderclap, or a chain saw at its loudest.

Spectators, at the bare minimum, should be wearing earplugs to these events, while 20dB reducing headphones would be the best option to protect the health of the ears.

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