woman on motorcycle with helmet on.

Love of the open road and the thrill of speed top the list of reasons why individuals love riding motorcycles. However, if you’re an avid rider, you should know about a substantial risk: research has linked this stimulating hobby to permanent hearing damage.

The effect of motorcycle speed and riding time on hearing health was examined in a comprehensive study conducted by a hearing protection maker in cooperation with a prominent German automobile association. Alarmingly, at speeds of 62 or higher, for just 15 minutes, riders who don’t utilize hearing protection can suffer irreversible hearing damage.

Why do motorcycle riders get hearing loss?

While the idea of hearing loss may not be surprising, the leading culprit might. Contrary to what many think, it’s not the motorcycle’s roaring engine but rather, the wind that poses the biggest hazard. The research emphasized that even though helmets provide critical protection during crashes, they fall short in safeguarding a biker’s hearing. The wind noise whipping around the rider’s head isn’t decreased much even when a helmet has extra padding, vents, or other modifications.

Bikers are often affected by a condition called temporary threshold shift (TTS), which results from frequent exposure to excessive noise levels. The more often you are exposed to loud noise, the more intense your TTS symptoms will become with this progressive condition. Individuals who are coping with TTS may start to detect that their hearing is less clear or other minor symptoms. However, over time, this condition can progress to permanent and irreversible hearing loss.

How do other noises compare to wind noise?

The German study sheds a lot of light on just how extreme wind noise can get while riding. At 62 mph, the wind around a biker’s head produces noise levels reaching 95 decibels (dB). Workers in Europe, for example, have to use hearing protection by law if the volume exceeds 80 dB. This means that bikers riding at this speed without ear protection are exposed to noise levels nearly 19% higher than what is regarded as safe in a work environment.

And the volume level only increases as the speed increases. At 74 mph, wind volume can reach 98 dB, a level that can cause hearing damage after just 7 minutes of exposure. Other studies validate these findings, suggesting that bikers are indeed at a substantial risk of hearing loss.

Protecting your ears

The good news is, it’s easy to protect your hearing with earplugs. Hearing specialists strongly recommend utilizing filtered earplugs, which are far better than the old, uncomfortable versions most people are familiar with. These advanced earplugs are manufactured to protect your eardrums from high-pitched noises like wind while still allowing lower frequency sounds to penetrate. It’s crucial for bikers to still be able to hear vital sounds like human voices, emergency warning sounds, and car horns.

Bikers are also able to get the full experience of riding without feeling isolated or cut off from the external world which can’t be said for the old traditional style. You can protect your ears from harmful wind noise while still experiencing the thrill of the ride by using filtered earplugs.

It is possible to enjoy the thrill of speed and the freedom of the open road while still keeping your hearing safe from wind noise. The wind noise created at high speeds can cause substantial and permanent hearing damage in a really short time. But bikers can protect their long-term hearing while still enjoying the ride by simply utilizing a set of quality earplugs.

Give us a call today to find out more about hearing protection so you can keep on top of your hearing health.

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