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Convertibles may be slower than their hardtop cousins, not as safe, and less practical, but when you go for a cruise with the top down on those perfect late summer afternoons, all those little annoyances are immediately forgotten. Unfortunately, a new study has found another reason to in favor of the hardtop.

The study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation in San Diego this week, has found that riding in a convertible with the windows down appears to expose people to noise levels that can damage hearing over time.

British ear, nose and throat surgeon, Dr. Philip Michael, himself a convertible fan, tested noise levels in seven different cars traveling at speeds of 50, 60 and 70 mph. Noise levels average around the 88-90 decibel mark, which is 4-5 decibels above the save level of noise range.

Slowing down won’t work either as much of the problematic noise comes from surrounding traffic, the engine and exhaust, and the tires from other cars and trucks on the road.

Convertible owners shouldn’t worry too much, however. Winding up the windows reduces noise levels to 85 decibels. "A large component of the noise you are exposed to is wind noise," Michael explained.

[Los Angeles Times]