woman on motorcycle with helmet on.

Motorcycle enthusiasts frequently cite the thrill of speed and the love for the open road as the driving force behind their enthusiasm. However, if you’re a passionate rider, you should know about a substantial risk: research has linked this stimulating hobby to irreversible hearing damage.

An in depth study carried out by a prominent German automobile association in collaboration with a manufacturer of hearing protection solutions evaluated the effect of riding duration and motorcycle speed on hearing health. Alarmingly, at speeds of 62 or higher, for just 15 minutes, riders who don’t make use of hearing protection can suffer permanent hearing damage.

What causes hearing loss in bikers?

While the concept of hearing loss might not be surprising, the main culprit might. In spite of what many think, it isn’t the motorcycle’s roaring engine but rather, the wind that presents the biggest threat. The research highlighted that even though helmets provide crucial protection during accidents, they fall short in safeguarding a biker’s hearing. Enhancements to the helmet, such as added padding, vents, or weather stripping, do little to decrease the wind noise whirling around the rider.

Regular exposure to excessive noise levels often leaves bikers with a condition called temporary threshold shift (TTS). The more frequently you are exposed to loud noise, the worse your TTS symptoms will be with this progressive condition. Individuals who are coping with TTS may begin to notice that their hearing is less clear or other minor symptoms. But permanent hearing loss can, over time, be the outcome.

Comparing wind noise with other noise levels

To understand the severity of wind noise while riding, the German study’s conclusions are illuminating. At 62 mph, the wind around a biker’s head produces noise levels reaching 95 decibels (dB). For context, European Union (EU) law mandates that workers must safeguard their ears if exposed to noise levels higher than 80 dB. This means that bikers riding at this speed without hearing protection are exposed to noise levels nearly 19% higher than what is regarded as safe in a work environment.

And the noise level only increases as the speed increases. Hearing damage can happen after just 7 minutes of riding at 74 mph which produces wind volumes of 98 dB. Many studies confirm that bikers are indeed at considerable risk of irreversible hearing loss.

Safeguarding your ears

Fortunately, safeguarding your hearing while riding is both easy and effective: use earplugs. Hearing specialists strongly recommend making use of filtered earplugs, which are far superior to the old, uncomfortable versions many are familiar with. These advanced earplugs are manufactured to safeguard your eardrums from high-pitched noises like wind while still allowing lower frequency sounds to get in. It’s crucial for bikers to still be able to hear important sounds like human voices, emergency warning sounds, and car horns.

Furthermore, these modern earplugs allow bikers to enjoy the sensations of riding without feeling isolated or numb, a common disadvantage 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 hearing safe from wind noise. The wind noise produced at high speeds can cause considerable and permanent hearing damage in a very short time period. But bikers can safeguard their long-term hearing while still enjoying the ride by simply using a pair of quality earplugs.

Give us a call today to learn 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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