Roller Coasters and Hearing Loss

Here’s a fun fact: National Roller Coaster Day is August 16!

People riding a rollercoaster in an amusement park

Sure the adrenaline-boost is exhilarating stuff, but have you ever wondered if those ridiculous rolls, tight twists, and dreadful descents affect your hearing? While there was one reported case of ear barotrouma (a 24-year old man turned his head while the roller coaster accelerated to 120 mph in four seconds, exposing his ear to excessive pressure), a general ear trauma like this is relatively rare. Do consider, however, as roller coaster technology improves:

“The faster the ride moves and the larger the change in altitude, the higher the force that is applied to the ear,” said Dr. Samar Al-khudari of the Henry Ford Hospital, where the original case was seen.

If you are a roller coaster enthusiast and wear a hearing aid, consider a few precautions when riding:

  • If dousing-by-water is part of the ride, remove and store your hearing aid so it does not get wet
  • It is possible your hearing aid may dislodge when careening along the roller coaster route. It may make sense to remove and store your hearing aid for the duration of the ride.
  • If removing your hearing aid is not an option, face forward through the ride. This keeps your hearing aids away from the full force of the wind.

Enjoy the ride!

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