As a motorcyclist you know that wearing adequate safety protection is a given. Investing in a helmet and protective clothing will provide security against other motorists and give you the reassurance needed to enjoy your ride.
The gentle drone of your engine together with nature’s blissful sounds can make a Sunday ride one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, it is important that you are aware of the risks associated with motorcycle noise so that you do not risk developing long term hearing problems over time.
Sustained amounts of loud noise can be just as damaging as sudden loud bursts, and it is often the former that goes unnoticed by motorcyclists.
85db is the threshold for safe or dangerous noise and an increase of 10db is equivalent to being twice as loud.
A study by the University of Florida found that half of the engines of 33 bikes created volumes over 100 decibels. They also found that at 65 mph, a motorcycle's engine can reach up to 116 dB; considered a safe amount of noise for up to 15 minutes.
"Almost all of the motorcycles we tested reached action-level noise, which in the workplace would require ear protection," says Joy Colle, an audiologist and researcher.
Motorcyclists will often cite their use of a helmet to reduce external noise, but this often is not enough:
Surprisingly the biggest cause of long term hearing damage associated with motorcycling is not the bike itself, but the wind: helmet noise, created by the constant rush of air across the ear, can be incredibly relenting and damaging.
Depending on the helmet worn, average wind noise is around 93.5dB at speeds of 62mph; the average noise of a car interior, in comparison, is 85dB at the same speed.
The majority of motorcyclists will ride on roads with a national speed limit of 70mph, often travelling faster; helmet noises can therefore increase to 115dB or more.
This level of noise is much the same as listening to an MP3 player at maximum volume for the entire duration of your ride; but is deemed a safe level of noise for only up to 15 minutes.
Some motorcyclists may argue that they need to be aware of outside noise from traffic. However research has shown that wind noise will dominate much else above speeds of 30mph.
For regular or professional motorcyclists who ride long distances frequently, exposure to wind noise can be particularly dangerous; those who fail to wear adequate protection can risk developing long term hearing problems.
Ear plugs will provide the best protection against wind noise and will reduce the risk of developing long term hearing damage. At EarPlugShop we have a range of high quality and great value solutions which will provide the protection that you need:
ProGuard Custom Motorcycle Earplugs are a high value, high quality solution tailored to the specific requirements of motorcycling. These are expensive but include high quality calibrated attenuating filters will remove damaging levels of sound and still allow you to hear external ambient noises. A choice of two filters will reduce wind noise by either 25db or 27db.
For a slightly less expensive alternative, the ProGuard Noizezz Universal EarPlugs offer excellent protection and include micro-finned, curved soft silicon ear tips designed to match the contours of the ear canal. This comfortable and easy-to-fit solution will reduce noise by 24dB.
For another excellent value foam variety, Mack's Safe Sound Ultra Ear Plugs offer 29dB sound reduction and come in packs of seven. They are also comfortable, easy-to-fit and will not interfere or rub against your helmet.