Air Bag Noise

A letter from the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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February 4,1997

Ricardo Martinez, MD


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Re: Hearing Damage from Noise and Pressure of Air Bag Deployment

It has recently come to my attention that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking public comment of air bag regulations. I would urge consideration of the health aspects of hearing damage from the noise and pressure of air bag deployment.

There should be warning labels that inform consumers of the loudness levels that accompany air bag deployment. In this way, consumers will be informed as to the hearing risks involved in using air bags and can better decide for themselves whether air bag use is appropriate for them and their families. To accomplish this objective, I would recommend that all air bags have an on/off/ switch for both drivers and passengers, in addition to the warning label about the loudness of the blast of deployment.

On behalf of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), I appreciate the opportunity to submit these comments. The AAO-HNS is the national medical specialty society of physicians dedicated to the care of patients with disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck.

For more information about the AAO-HNS or this position, please don't hesitate to contact me at (703) 519-1559. Alternatively, your staff may contact Beverly Nissenbaum in our Department of Health Policy and Government Affairs at (702) 519-1537.


Michael D. Maves, MD, MBA

Executive Vice President

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