Hearing Solutions - Yukon, OK

woman on motorcycle with helmet on.

Love of the open road and the thrill of speed top the list of reasons why people love to ride motorcycles. But this invigorating hobby comes at a high risk of irreversible hearing damage for individuals who ride a lot.

The effect of motorcycle speed and riding time on hearing health was assessed in a detailed study performed 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.

What causes hearing loss in motorcyclists?

While the concept of hearing loss may not be surprising, the main culprit could. The greatest threat isn’t the raging engine, contrary to the common belief, it’s really the wind. The research highlighted that although helmets provide crucial protection during accidents, they fall short in protecting a biker’s hearing. Enhancements to the helmet, such as extra padding, vents, or weather stripping, do little to mitigate the wind noise whirling around the rider.

Frequent exposure to excessive noise levels often leaves bikers with a condition known as temporary threshold shift (TTS). The more often you’re exposed to loud noise, the more intense your TTS symptoms will be with this progressive condition. Individuals who are dealing with TTS may start to notice that their hearing is less clear or other minor symptoms. But irreversible hearing loss can, over time, be the result.

Comparing wind noise with other noise levels

The German study sheds a lot of light on just how severe wind noise can get while riding. At 62 mph, the wind around a biker’s head generates noise levels reaching 95 decibels (dB). Workers in Europe, for instance, need to use ear protection by law if the volume exceeds 80 dB. Bikers are experiencing volume levels up to 19% higher than safe working environments when traveling at this speed.

As the speed goes up, so does the noise level. Hearing damage can happen after only 7 minutes of riding at 74 mph which generates wind volumes of 98 dB. Many studies confirm that bikers are indeed at considerable risk of irreversible hearing loss.

Protecting your ears

Luckily, it’s simple to safeguard your hearing with earplugs. Hearing specialists emphatically recommend using 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-frequency noises like wind while still allowing lower frequency sounds to get in. It’s crucial for bikers to still be able to hear vital sounds like human voices, sirens, and car horns.

Bikers are also able to get the complete 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 utilizing filtered earplugs.

While the passion for motorcycling is fueled by the appeal of speed and freedom, it’s essential to acknowledge and minimize the associated hazards to your hearing. The wind noise generated at high speeds can cause significant and permanent hearing damage in a really short time period. But bikers can protect their long-term hearing while still enjoying the ride by simply making use of a set of quality earplugs.

Stay on top of your hearing health by calling us to talk about hearing protection.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

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.