According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) a person can listen to a 90 decibel (dB) sound for 8 hours straight without any hearing damage. 90 dB is approximately as loud as a busy city street.
Adding just a few decibels cuts that safe time dramatically. At 115 dB you can only listen safely for 15 minutes.
A NASCAR race car at full throttle measures approximately 130 dB. That is just one car, not a full field of 43 cars with their sounds echoing off of aluminum grandstands.
Taking care of your hearing
The solution is obvious, if you're going to the race you need to protect your hearing! There are a couple of different solutions depending on your budget.
If you own a scanner buy a decent headset with at least a 20dB noise reduction rating. If you are still on the fence about whether or not you need a scanner, maybe this is reason enough to go for it. Just don't turn up the volume more than you need to.
At an absolute minimum if you are going to a NASCAR race you need to use earplugs. Even buying them at the track they can be had for $2 per pair. Buy them in advance and you can get them for half that. If you can afford tickets, parking, souvenirs, food and drinks you can certainly afford a couple bucks to protect your health.
If you're afraid that they look dorky, would you prefer to have to wear a hearing aid?
I truly love the sounds of a NASCAR race. 43 800-horsepower monsters and 150,000 screaming fans make my pulse race and puts a permanent smile on my face. However, I never go to the race track without my hearing protection. Through practice, qualifying and the race if the engines are running then my ears are covered. Yours should be too.