North Richland Hills, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

Motorcycle Riders Have an Increased Risk of Hearing Loss

woman on motorcycle with helmet on.

Love of the open road and the thrill of speed top the list of reasons why people love riding motorcycles. However, if you’re a passionate rider, you should be aware of a significant risk: research has linked this thrilling hobby to permanent hearing damage.

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

Why do bikers get hearing loss?

While the concept of hearing loss might not be surprising, the leading culprit might. The greatest threat isn’t the roaring engine, contrary to the common belief, it’s actually the wind. The research highlighted 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 called temporary threshold shift (TTS). The more frequently 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 advance to permanent and irreversible hearing loss.

How do other noises compare to wind noise?

To grasp the severity of wind noise while riding, the German study’s results are illuminating. The wind noise around a rider’s head can reach 95 (dB) at 62 mph. Workers in Europe, for example, have to utilize ear protection by law if the volume goes beyond 80 dB. This means that bikers riding at this speed without hearing protection are exposed to volume levels nearly 19% higher than what is considered safe in a work environment.

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

How to protect your hearing

Thankfully, protecting your hearing while riding is both easy 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 sophisticated model that filters out high frequencies like wind while allowing lower frequencies to get in. It’s important for bikers to still be able to hear vital sounds like human voices, sirens, and car horns.

Furthermore, these modern earplugs let bikers enjoy the sensations of riding without feeling cut off or numb, a common drawback of older protective devices. You can safeguard your ears from damaging wind noise while still enjoying 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. Significant and permanent hearing damage can be caused by the noise of wind at high speeds. But bikers can protect their long-term hearing while still enjoying the ride by simply making use of a pair of quality earplugs.

Stay on top of your hearing health by contacting us to discuss hearing protection.

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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