Numerous motorcyclists are quick to purchase boots, gloves and helmets to protect themselves from potential injuries from accidents. Although they seem to overlook progressive problems that can arise from riding such as hearing loss, which can be prevented through the usage of ear protection.
It is likely that you will damage your hearing due to engine and wind noise whilst out riding, so it is important to wear ear protection while riding a motorcycle.
Wearing earplugs whilst riding a motorcycle should be a priority and should prevent hearing loss and damage in the long run. The best motorcycle ear plugs that are affordable and provide suitable protection can be found in this article.
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Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Every day, all of us experience sound in our home and work environments, which include your radio, cars and the television. Typically these sounds are at safe levels that do not effect or damage our hearing. However some sounds can be too loud, even for a brief time or when they are long-lasting and both loud(such as wind noise or a motorcycle exhaust).
These types of sounds can damage sensitive cells in our inner ear, which the causes noise-induced hearing loss(Also known as NIHL) which effects a large proportion of motorcycle riders annually.
Noise-induced hearing loss can take a long time to become noticeable or happen immediately depending on the level of noise exposure. Again, it can be temporary or permanent, and can damage either both of your ears or only one of them.
Even if you may think you’re not damaging your hearing currently, you may have issues with hearing in the future from riding motorcycles with no ear protection. Regardless of how little it may effect you now whilst riding your motorcycle one factor is certain, noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented by wearing ear protection when riding your motorcycle.
Do Motorcycles Cause Hearing Loss?
The simple answer to this is yes, because of the obvious sound from the engine/exhaust and the silent killer which is wind noise!
Motorcyclists who frequently ride at motorway speeds are exposed to having potential Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). This can occur when exposed to sounds continuously of 85dB or above. Furthermore, exposure could result in Tinnitus, this is a sound which is only audible for the individual, for example: a permanent ringing in ears.
Down below is a simple guide on how long you can be exposed to speeds before you start to damage your hearing.
|Speed (KMH)||Volume (dB)||Maximum Exposure (Minutes)|
As you can see, even at 90KMH you are exposing yourself to damaging your hearing. This further pushes the importance of wearing hearing protection while riding a motorcycle.
Permanent Or Temporary Threshold Shifts
A temporary threshold shift is a shift temporarily in the auditory threshold. This may occur rapidly after the exposure to a high level noise, a situation in which most people experience reduced hearing.
Temporary threshold shift results in temporary hearing loss. This can also mean that if you experience a temporary threshold shift you may experience temporary tinnitus.
The primary cause of temporary threshold shift is typically exposure to loud sounds, or noise for a period of time. For example this could be a motorcycle exhaust or wind noise whilst travelling at high speeds.
Alternatively there could be permanent threshold shift where the ability to hear is reduced permanently, which causes permanent hearing loss.
Does Riding A Motorcycle Cause Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is sound in the head/ears with no external source. For a large majority of suffers, its a ringing sounds and for others it could be buzzing, humming or roaring. The sound may appear to come from one ear or both as well.
It’s not ultimately clear, but there has been link to hearing loss and tinnitus. Which means exposure to loud noises such as from riding a motorcycle will cause Tinnitus if you are not protecting your hearing.
How Ear Protection Saves Your Hearing
- Reduces wind noise – Ultimately the faster you go on your motorcycle, the louder noises from the wind become. This means that on the highway, if you’re travelling at a high speed the noise levels will be harmful.
- Pick up other frequencies – In loud surroundings, a decent pair of protective earplugs will actually assist you in hearing better! This is down to the fact that some frequency levels will be dampened more than other levels. This means that a good pair of ear plugs will help enhance levels that you do want to hear and dampen down the ones you do not want to hear!
- Reduce chances of temporary or permanent threshold shift!
Ultimately you should 100% wear ear protection when riding a motorcycle in order to protect yourself from loud noise exposure. Otherwise it can lead to hearing problems and disabilities down the line.
The great solution is using earplugs, which are an effective protection method and an affordable product which you can use to protect yourself from noise exposure. Overall you use protection for your head through using a helmet, this should also be the same for your hearing!