Motorcycle Riding & Its Impact on Hearing

Not many of us stop and consider how or even if our hobbies and day-to-day activities are having an impact on our hearing. But it’s something that we should all take more seriously if we’re expecting our hearing to last us a lifetime. 

Understanding how activities like motorcycle riding can damage your hearing is important so that you can take proper precautions to enjoy your hobby while also protecting your hearing. 

Can Riding A Motorcycle Damage Your Hearing?

Motorcycle riding is one of those hobbies that can affect our ears. While this can be an immensely fun activity that many of us enjoy, it can have a negative impact on our hearing no matter what our age. 

Damage can be caused by:

  1. Having No Ear Protection

Although wearing a helmet is essential for your safety, even full-head helmets offer very little ear protection.

  • Wind Noise
  •  While riding around the streets and driving at slow speeds wouldn’t create enough wind noise to cause a real issue, it starts to become a problem when your motorcycle journey ventures onto a faster road or busy road. 

    1. Engine/Exhaust Noise

    Not all motorbikes are loud, but many create loud sounds from the engine and exhausts, even if the motorcycle hasn’t been modified.

    How Loud Can Motorcycle Noise Be?

    At their loudest, motorcycles can reach up to 116 decibels (dB). Even the quietest of motorcycles can create a significant amount of noise if they’re driven at high speeds in open spaces. Travelling at higher speeds can also can wind noise that reaches over 98dB.

    This can be problematic for riders as exposure to noises over 100dB for humans can cause hearing damage in as little as 15 minutes. The extent of this damage increases during prolonged exposure to noise. 

    How To Prevent Hearing Damage While Riding A Motorbike?

    While it's good to be aware of the impact of motorcycle noise on your hearing, it’s also important to realise that you don’t necessarily need to give up your hobbies in order to save your hearing, there are other steps you can take to minimise the damage.

  • Wear Earplugs
  • Wearing disposable foam earplugs can be help when riding a motorcycle, as they can lessen the volume of noise by around 25dB when worn correctly. They can also be worn under a helmet, regardless of what style, shape, or size.

    The added benefit of having using foam earplugs is that they are inexpensive and can be disposed of after each trip. (CM note: the salesperson in me is… conflicted. None the less, no lies here!)

  • Avoid Riding At High Speeds
  • While the thrill of riding at high speeds can be tempting for some, reducing your speed can keep you safe in many ways.

    Trying to reduce the frequency and duration of high speed trips can help to limit the damage to your hearing by reducing the noise level you are exposed to.

  • Wear Noise Cancelling headphones
  • These can be slightly larger than standard earbuds and foam earplugs, so not everyone will be able to wear them underneath their helmet. However, they do fit nicely inside some motorcycle helmets and can provide protection for the ears to reduce hearing loss and are particularly beneficial at reducing wind noise when on a ride.

    1. Have Your Hearing Checked

    One of the most important things to do if you ride a motorcycle is to have your hearing checked before you experience any impact on your hearing.

    Having a good idea of the health of your ears and whether you have any early signs of hearing loss is a sensible approach, as it will allow you to reduce any further hearing damage from riding a motorcycle.

  • Always Wear A Helmet
  • While we would like to think that all motorcycle riders would opt to wear a helmet for general safety in the event of an accident, it’s also equally as important to wear a helmet to protect your hearing.

    Helmetless motorcycle rides will subject you to a significantly higher level of noise exposure than those who choose to wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet also allows a rider to be able to wear earmuffs and earplugs underneath the helmet, without the opportunity for them to fall out of the ear while riding, so the benefits of wearing a helmet are much greater than if a rider chooses not to wear one.

    Loop Earplug For Motorcyclists

    Loop Earplugs are one option that motorcyclists can use to protect their ears as they ride. Our earplugs are reusable, slim, and fit snuggly in your ear, offering protection that doesn’t get in the way of your ride time. They can be used whenever you want to lower the volume for protection and/or comfort. 

    Find out which Loop Earplug is best for your motorbike rides

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