woman on motorcycle with helmet on.

Motorcycle enthusiasts often cite the thrill of speed and the love for the open road as the driving force behind their passion. But this exciting hobby comes at a high risk of permanent hearing damage for individuals who ride a lot.

A comprehensive study done by a notable German automobile association in collaboration with a manufacturer of hearing protection solutions examined the effect of riding duration and motorcycle speed on hearing health. The conclusions were startling: bikers can suffer permanent hearing damage after only 15 minutes of riding without earplugs at a speed of 62 mph.

Why do motorcycle riders get hearing loss?

While the concept of hearing loss may not be surprising, the main culprit might. In spite of what many believe, it isn’t the motorcycle’s roaring engine but rather, the wind that poses the biggest hazard. The research emphasized that although helmets provide critical protection during accidents, they fall short in protecting a biker’s hearing. The wind noise whipping around the rider’s head isn’t decreased much even when a helmet has added padding, vents, or other modifications.

Bikers are often affected by a condition known as temporary threshold shift (TTS), which results from frequent exposure to excessive noise levels. The more often you’re exposed to loud noise, the worse your TTS symptoms will be with this progressive condition. Initially, TTS sufferers may notice minor symptoms like a temporary reduction in hearing clarity. However, over time, this condition can advance to permanent and irreversible hearing loss.

Comparing wind volume with other noise levels

To understand the severity 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. For context, European Union (EU) law mandates that workers need to protect their ears if exposed to noise levels exceeding 80 dB. Bikers are experiencing noise levels up to 19% higher than safe working environments when traveling at this speed.

As the speed increases, so does the noise level. At 74 mph, wind noise can reach 98 dB, a level that can cause hearing damage after only 7 minutes of exposure. Other studies corroborate these findings, indicating that bikers are indeed at a significant risk of hearing loss.

How to safeguard your hearing

Luckily, it’s simple to protect your hearing with earplugs. Most individuals are familiar with the old basic earplugs, but hearing specialists recommend the filtered versions instead. These sophisticated earplugs are manufactured to protect your eardrums from high-pitched noises like wind while still allowing lower frequency sounds to penetrate. This means you can hear essential sounds like sirens, horns, and human speech, which are critical for a biker’s safety.

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

It is possible to enjoy the excitement 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 significant and irreversible hearing damage in a very short time. But bikers can safeguard their long-term hearing while still enjoying the ride by simply using a pair of quality earplugs.

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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