Mercedes-Benz's Tech Promises to Protect Your Ears in a Car Crash

Mercedes-Benz / Mercedes-Benz

In the event of a car crash, the Mercedes-Benz E-class vehicles have a sound plan to shield you. A technological upgrade in some of the brand's 2017 models, released earlier this year, is designed to help protect drivers’ hearing in the event of a crash.

The new Mercedes-Benz cars feature sensors that can detect when a crash is unavoidable. In the space of less than two blinks, the sensors will emit a sound that causes those inside the car to brace for the associated loud noise. It debuted in the car manufacturer’s 2017 E-Class W213 models available this year.

According to the company, “If an impending collision is detected that would be expected to produce a loud crash, the vehicle’s sound system plays a short interference signal. This causes the stapedius muscle in the ears to contract, which for a split second changes the link between the eardrum and the inner ear and so better protects it against high acoustic pressures.”

But can Pre-Safe Sound completely protect your hearing in the event of a car crash? Not likely. Crash-related noise isn’t always the cause of the subsequent hearing loss. A 2013 article by an audiologist in The Hearing Journal suggests that there’s more at work than sound—whiplash during a car accident can cause trauma to the neck that sometimes results in tinnitus and hearing loss, even without noise exposure. Still, a little noise protection is probably better than none at all.

[h/t Today I Learned]