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Have Motorbikes Affected Your Hearing?

Biker couple riding down the road in the sunset

Motorbikes… Dreams of the open road with long weekend rides and carefree days. Or maybe motorbikes have been your cheap, quick and versatile commute to and from work. Regardless of how or why you use your motorbike, there is one thing you need to know about your ride – it’s probably damaging your hearing, if it hasn’t already.

You’re most likely familiar with the slight deafness that occurs when you switch off the bike and take your helmet off. This is known as Temporary Threshold Shift. If you’ve been to a loud rock concert, you’ll know the feeling from that too!

Extended exposure to loud noises can result in permanent hearing loss.

For many people, the feeling of a Harley Davidson exhaust rumbling through their feet and chest puts a pretty big grin on their face. But as you might have guessed, they’re pretty loud – 80dB loud in fact! To put that in perspective, the the average car idles at 35-45dB. But it’s not just the loud exhaust that can damage your ears, it’s also the wind.

Research carried out by the University of Southampton showed that a rider wearing high end crash helmet whilst riding a Yamaha Tracer 900 motorbike generated 92.7 decibels of wind noise when travelling at 60km/h – that’s enough noise to cause permanent hearing damage to your ears after less than 26 minutes!

Researchers found that different styles of helmet made only slight differences to the noise, however, adding a windshield to the motorbike provided significant noise reduction and increased rider comfort.

They also recommended that riders wear ear plugs along with their helmets to help protect the riders hearing. The effectiveness of a hearing protection earplug can vary. The typical range for hearing protection is from 15 to 35 decibels of sound attenuation.

If you already have hearing aids, we recommend that you don’t wear them while riding. Wait until you are safely at your destination before putting them in.

If you’ve been riding a motorbike for a while, and want to see if it’s made a difference to your hearing, come and see us here at Hearing Sense for a FREE hearing test with our friendly clinicians.

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