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 a devoted rider, you should know about a significant risk: research has connected this exhilarating hobby to permanent hearing damage.

The impact of motorcycle speed and riding time on hearing health was assessed in a detailed study carried out by a hearing protection manufacturer in cooperation with a prominent German automobile association. Alarmingly, at speeds of 62 or higher, for only 15 minutes, riders who don’t utilize hearing protection can suffer irreversible hearing damage.

Why do bikers get hearing loss?

You might not be surprised that bikers frequently suffer from hearing loss, but you might be surprised as to why. Contrary to what many think, it isn’t the motorcycle’s roaring engine but instead, the wind that presents the biggest hazard. The research emphasized that although helmets provide critical protection during crashes, they fall short in safeguarding a biker’s hearing. Enhancements to the helmet, such as extra padding, vents, or weather stripping, do little to decrease the wind noise swirling around the rider.

Regular exposure to excessive noise levels often leaves bikers with a condition known as temporary threshold shift (TTS). The more often you are exposed to loud noise, the worse your TTS symptoms will become with this progressive condition. At first, TTS sufferers may detect minor symptoms like a temporary reduction in hearing clarity. But permanent hearing loss can, over time, be the result.

Comparing wind volume with other noise levels

To comprehend the seriousness of wind noise while riding, the German study’s conclusions are illuminating. The wind noise around a rider’s head can be as high as 95 (dB) at 62 mph. To put into context, European Union (EU) law mandates that workers must protect their ears if exposed to noise levels higher than 80 dB. This means that bikers traveling at this speed without ear protection are exposed to volume levels nearly 19% higher than what is considered safe in a work environment.

As the speed increases, so does the volume level. Hearing damage can occur after only 7 minutes of riding at 74 mph which produces wind volumes of 98 dB. Many studies corroborate that bikers are indeed at significant risk of irreversible hearing loss.

How to protect your hearing

Fortunately, protecting your hearing while riding is both simple and effective: use earplugs. Most people are familiar with the old standard earplugs, but hearing specialists recommend the filtered versions instead. Filtered earplugs are a more advanced model that filters out high frequencies like wind while allowing lower frequencies to get in. This means you can hear crucial sounds like sirens, horns, and human speech, which are vital for a biker’s safety.

Furthermore, these modern earplugs let bikers enjoy the exhilaration of riding without feeling cut off or numb, a common drawback of older protective devices. You can protect your ears from harmful wind noise while still enjoying the thrill of the ride by making use of filtered earplugs.

It is possible to enjoy the thrill of speed and the freedom of the open road while still keeping your ears safe from wind noise. Considerable and irreversible hearing damage can be caused by the noise of wind at high speeds. But bikers can safeguard their long-term hearing while still enjoying the ride by simply making use of a set of quality earplugs.

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

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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