Erin Carman

Weekdays, 10 - 3pm

Chicago’s NASCAR Street Race Weekend will need some earplugs!

Chicago’s NASCAR street race will take over Grant Park this Saturday and Sunday, and the rev of the engines is just the beginning of hours of noise that experts say requires protection.

While that may be fun for fans, loud and unfamiliar sounds can be harmful for the hearing impaired, and scary for your pets, according to experts.

Most NASCAR races range from 100 to 130 decibels, according to NASCAR officials and published reports. For perspective, standing under Chicago’s “L” tracks downtown and using a decibel monitoring app measured the noise level at around 80 decibels. 

For the first-of-its-kind Chicago street race, NASCAR said it is deploying some new measures to combat the noise, including reducing the amount of time cars are on the course, requiring racers to install specialized mufflers, and on-site decibel monitoring throughout the day, race officials said.

That’s especially important for all bystanders and anyone in the area, warns the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Noise induced hearing loss is 100% irreversible, and also completely preventable. The World Health Organization estimates that one billion young people are now at-risk of noise induced hearing loss.

Bringing ear plugs or protection for your hearing should be as common as remembering to put on sunscreen before leaving your home.

Another important reminder is to look out for your pets. 

If you live or plan to be in the South Loop area of the course, PAWS Chicago’s Chief Operating Officer Kristina Rosinia said preparation for your pets is the key.

“As the owner, you want to make sure you’re keeping them inside and giving them a safe space, whether that’s an interior bathroom or a crate somewhere that they feel like they can get away from the noise,” Rosinia said.

Rosina also suggested playing classical music or using a white noise machine to help drown out the engines’ roar. Thunder coats or shirts for pets are also helpful. 

“Thunder shirts are one type of tool that can help you kind of decrease anxiety if a dog is sensitive to noise or storms or things like that,” Rosinia explained. “Depending on the dog, anything like that you can use to help your dog feel safe or cat feel safe.”

More NASCAR Street Race information, can be found here.