Motorcycle Riders Have a Higher Risk of Hearing Loss

woman on motorcycle with helmet on.

Motorcycle enthusiasts frequently mention the thrill of speed and the love for the open road as the driving force behind their enthusiasm. But this invigorating hobby comes at a high risk of irreversible hearing damage for individuals who ride a lot.

The impact of motorcycle speed and riding duration on hearing health was examined in a comprehensive study carried out by a hearing protection maker in collaboration with a prominent German automobile association. The results were startling: bikers can suffer permanent hearing damage after only 15 minutes of riding without hearing protection at a speed of 62 mph.

Why do bikers get hearing loss?

You might not be surprised that bikers frequently suffer from hearing loss, but you might be surprised as to why. In spite of what many think, it isn’t the motorcycle’s roaring engine but instead, the wind that poses the biggest hazard. The research highlighted that even though helmets offer crucial 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 improvements.

Bikers are often affected by a condition called temporary threshold shift (TTS), which is triggered by frequent exposure to extreme noise levels. The more often you’re exposed to loud noise, the more intense your TTS symptoms will become with this progressive condition. At first, TTS sufferers may detect minor symptoms like a temporary decrease in hearing clarity. However, over time, this condition can advance to permanent and irreversible hearing loss.

Comparing wind volume with other noise levels

To grasp the severity of wind noise while riding, the German study’s findings are illuminating. At 62 mph, the wind around a biker’s head generates noise levels reaching 95 decibels (dB). Workers in Europe, for example, need to use hearing protection by law if the volume goes beyond 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 volume can reach 98 dB, a level that can cause hearing damage after only 7 minutes of exposure. Many studies corroborate that bikers are indeed at significant risk of permanent hearing loss.

How to safeguard your hearing

The good news is, it’s simple to protect your hearing with earplugs. Hearing specialists strongly recommend using filtered earplugs, which are far superior to the old, uncomfortable versions most people are familiar with. Filtered earplugs are a more advanced model that filters out high frequencies like wind while allowing lower frequencies to get through. This means you’re able to hear essential sounds like sirens, horns, and human speech, which are critical for a biker’s safety.

Moreover, these modern earplugs allow bikers to enjoy the sensations of riding without feeling isolated or numb, a common drawback of older protective devices. You can safeguard your ears from harmful wind noise while still experiencing the thrill of the ride by using filtered earplugs.

While the passion for motorcycling is powered by the appeal of speed and freedom, it’s important to acknowledge and mitigate the associated hazards to your hearing. Substantial and permanent hearing damage can be caused by the noise of wind at high speeds. But bikers can safeguard their long-term hearing while still enjoying the ride by simply using a set of quality earplugs.

Call today to find out more about hearing protection so you can keep 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.

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