Take it from Doug Boles: Protect your ears at the Indy 500

A pair of headphones sold by Racing Electronics at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (WTHR)
Hearing protection at the Indy 500
Protecting hearing at IMS
Recommended tips for protecting your ears
Safe sound levels for hearing protection

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Hearing protection is crucial at the race. The rev of the engine and the squeal of the tires are about as iconic as the checkered flag itself at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

As thousands of people pack the track during the month of May, we're learning just how much of a toll that can take on our ears.

While crew members typically have protection, you don't have to be in — or working on — the race cars to have an issue.

"It was startling when the gal who checked my hearing said 'You're a candidate for hearing aids already.' It's something that was really preventable, but ego or whatever. I just thought I'm tough enough, and for the last 20 years I've exposed myself to race cars, been in race cars, around race cars," said Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles.

He recommends everyone bring hearing protection with them to the track.

Options are also available onsite from Racing Electronics. The company also has headphone rentals that reduce how much you hear while also offering several channels of audio, including a chance to listen in to different driver teams.