“One of the neighbors must have hit a golf ball that went through the window…that’s what is sounded like,” said Phil Floraday, an owner of a Ford F-150 pickup truck whose audio system suddenly started emitting a loud, crashing sound. Ford Motor is currently investigating and confronting this problem, which has been reported by several other car owners. The sound has been described as an “ear-piercing static,” ranging in duration from seconds to minutes and, for some users, continuing even after the car was switched off.
Complaints have been filed with federal regulators, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as the alarming nature of the sound poses a threat to highway and road safety. One driver measured the sound on his Apple Watch, recording a 109-decibel spike. Former Academy President Sarah Sydlowski, AuD, PhD, MBA, spoke with reporters at The Wall Street Journal, confirming that any noise over 100 decibels is unsafe listening for more than a few minutes.
Recalls on vehicles due to errors are somewhat common, affecting other brands such as Toyota Motor, Hyundai Motor, and Subaru, and calling for a product recall. If a vehicle safety defect poses considerable risk, the manufacturer is required by law to initiate a recall.
For now, Ford has developed a software fix to prevent the speaker noise, and a spokesperson at Ford confirmed that the agency will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and take action if necessary.
Felton R, Eckert N. (2023) Ford confronts strange, ear-piercing static in F-150 trucks. The Wall Street Journal (accessed August 28).
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