Motorcycle Riders Have a Higher 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 individuals love riding motorcycles. However, if you’re an avid rider, you should be aware of a significant risk: research has linked this thrilling hobby to permanent hearing damage.

An in depth study carried out by a notable German automobile association in collaboration with a maker of hearing protection solutions evaluated the impact of riding time and motorcycle speed on hearing health. Alarmingly, at speeds of 62 or higher, for only 15 minutes, riders who don’t use hearing protection can suffer irreversible hearing damage.

Why do bikers get hearing loss?

You may not be surprised that bikers frequently suffer from loss of hearing, but you may be surprised as to why. In spite of what many think, it’s not the motorcycle’s roaring engine but instead, the wind that presents the greatest hazard. While helmets offer significant protection from injury during crashes, the research highlights that they fall short in protecting the rider’s hearing. The wind noise whipping around the rider’s head isn’t decreased very much even when a helmet has extra padding, vents, or other improvements.

Frequent exposure to extreme noise levels often leaves bikers with a condition known as temporary threshold shift (TTS). The more often you are exposed to loud noise, the more intense your TTS symptoms will become with this progressive condition. Initially, TTS sufferers might detect minor symptoms like a temporary decrease in hearing clarity. But permanent hearing loss can, over time, be the outcome.

Comparing wind volume with other noise levels

To grasp the seriousness of wind noise while riding, the German study’s conclusions are illuminating. The wind noise around a rider’s head can reach 95 (dB) at 62 mph. Workers in Europe, for example, need to use ear protection by law if the volume exceeds 80 dB. Bikers are experiencing noise levels up to 19% higher than safe working environments when traveling at this speed.

And the noise level only gets louder as the speed goes up. Hearing damage can occur after just 7 minutes of riding at 74 mph which generates wind volumes of 98 dB. Other studies corroborate these findings, indicating that bikers are indeed at a significant risk of hearing loss.

Safeguarding your ears

Luckily, it’s simple to safeguard 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 designed to protect your eardrums from high-frequency noises like wind while still allowing lower frequency sounds to penetrate. This means you’re able to hear essential sounds like sirens, horns, and human speech, which are vital for a biker’s safety.

Bikers are also able to get the complete experience of riding without feeling isolated or cut off from the outside world which can’t be said for the old traditional style. 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 generated at high speeds can cause considerable and irreversible hearing damage in a very short time period. However, with the simple addition of quality earplugs, bikers can continue to enjoy their rides while protecting their long-term hearing health.

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

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.