Prepare not only your eyes for Indy 500 excitement, but your ears as well

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INDIANAPOLIS – As drivers zip around the track to prepare for the Indy 500, spectators also need to prepare for the greatest spectacle in racing.

Many people forget to protect their ears from the noisy event and an audiologist says a day at the race track could lead to some long-term damage.

“There’s sort of this misnomer that they don’t have to because they’re not around it all the time. But it is about time. It’s about the length of time they spend in the noise and the loudness they’re in all day long,” said audiologist, Dawn Flinn.

For some fans, wearing earplugs isn’t an option like first year attendee Paul Kennelly who says he values his young ears.

‘I’m only 21 so don’t want to lose it now, that’s a fact,” said Kennelly.

Long time race fan Richard Oeffinger has been coming to the track since 1946. He now wears a hearing aid and says he started to lose his hearing in high school. His hearing loss is not directly related to his days at the Indy Motor Speedway. However, he has never wore earplugs.

“I like to hear the cars run. I like to hear that noise,” said Oeffinger.

Dawn Flinn says the impact of the noise doesn’t happen right away.

“They walk away and it doesn’t affect them immediately and long-term affects it’s a cumulative exposure. We’re exposed to so much noise these days then we come to a place like this for fun and we’re subjected to this kind of noise all day long,” said Flinn.

She suggest a pair of headphones or custom earplugs to assure they’re a good fit. She says its counterproductive if the noise still gets through poorly fitted ear protection.

Dawn supplies ear protection to all of the Indy Car drivers and their crew along with IMS workers. She says it’s especially important to protect kid’s ears to make sure they don’t have trouble in the future.

Richard Oeffinger says he will teach the younger generation the right way to take in a good race.

“Wear earplugs. My grand kids are going to.”

There are several vendors at IMS to provide you with proper ear care.

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