Airbags: Do benefits outweigh the risks?

Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 by Ed Harper

A recent study has exposed more problems with airbags and the damaging impact the explosion of an airbag can have on one’s hearing. The study, conducted by Auditory Physician, G. Richard Price has shown one could sustain significant hearing loss when involved in a collision where the airbag explodes in their American car.

The scientific data determined by Dr. Price shows that 17 percent of people exposed to deployed airbags in American cars will suffer from permanent hearing loss. His research also shows airbag deployment is more hazardous to the ear when a car’s windows are rolled down. The study will be released at a National Hearing Conservation Assoc. conference this week in Georgia.

“We often consider only the benefits of safety technology, rather than the unfortunate potential side effects,” said NHCA Director of Education Brian Fligor. “This type of study highlights how common everyday occurrences present a very real hazard to our hearing.”

In this author’s mind, the life-saving benefits do outweigh the risks. I have represented individuals who have sustained permanent injuries from airbag explosions. Cardiac complications (arrhythmia-an irregular heartbeat) tinnitus (a constant ringing in their ears) and burns to the skin all have been caused by an airbag explosion. However, when one considers the life-saving benefits an airbag can have, they are a necessity.

We all should consider the consequences a motor vehicle collision can have to the occupants of the vehicles. We should all slow down and drive more carefully.

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