One in six people is affected by hearing loss from exposure to prolonged loud noises and it is expected to be higher among motorcycle riders.
While a vacuum cleaner emits about 65 decibels and causes no hearing loss, listening to headphone music is about 94dB and after one hour can cause hearing loss.
However, riders can experience prolonged noise levels of more than 100dB which is about the same as being in a nightclub. After just 15 minutes of exposure to 100dB you start to damage your hearing. Check out this noise pollution calculator for more details.
It’s not actually exhaust or engine noise that causes the biggest problem, but wind noise, according to the American Industrial Paramedic Services. The turbulence generated at high speeds can reach 103dB.
In Australia, about four million people have hearing loss, in the UK it’s 10 million and in the US, some 48 million have some form of hearing loss.
While hearing loss is a part of the natural ageing process, it is increased by prolonged exposure to excessive noise and riders are more than likely to experience greater hearing losses in their senior years.
That’s why riders should have some form of hearing protection whenever they ride on long trips.
We recommend Earmold earplugs which are individually shaped to your ear for a comfortable and complete fit to block noise.
There are heaps of other earplugs out there as well, some with special filters and features such as Alpine MotoSafe.
But any earplug is better than no earplugs.
Online retailer Allearplugs.com has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the damage that can be caused by excessive exposure to loud noise, following a successful campaign with endorsement from several rock music performers.
Now they have endorsement from three AMA motorcycle racers, Corey Alexander, Melissa Paris and Jordan Imrie who says he has won four AMA Championships at Daytona wearing earplugs.
Corey says he can’t ride on or off the track without ear plugs. “When I find a comfortable pair that works well it really makes my riding experience that much better, plus it keeps my ears safe. Also, when I’m on the track it’s really important to be able to focus solely on the road ahead and not having tons of wind noise makes a world of difference.”
Melissa, who in 2013 earned her season-best 10th place finish in the Daytona 200, says the noise-reduction effect of earplugs helps her focus and concentrate better when racing.