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Grand Prix Of Baltimore: The Boom From The Zoom Can Cause Hearing Damage

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Baltimore Grand Prix Practice
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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The Grand Prix of Baltimore practices and races coming up this weekend are a boon for the city, but are there health risks involved?

Mike Schuh reports there are.

Going this fast generates a lot of noise, enough to do permanent damage.

“We’ve been pretty aggressive about getting the message out,” said Dr. Patrick Chaulk, Baltimore Health Department.

The health department has a warning: if you’re going to go, bring earplugs or ear cups with you.

“Both are very good. These are obviously better than the earplugs because they totally encompass the ear themselves and they totally block out any the vibrations at all, and these will still work safely for you,” Chaulk said.

The unit of measurement to describe the intensity of sound is called a decibel. Normal speaking voice is 65 decibels, hearing loss can begin at 85 decibels. The cars on this track will be producing 120-240 decibels. That is as loud as or louder than being next to a jet engine.

Having so many buildings lining the course doesn’t help to disperse the sound.

“So the bottom line here is that we want you to have fun at the Grand Prix this weekend but we want you to protect your hearing,” Chaulk said.

A few pennies of foam could pay off for years to come.

Foam earplugs are available at most drug stores. The plastic ear cups can be found at hardware stores.

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