If you love riding motorcycles, you know how important it is to protect yourself. It’s why you make sure you pick up gear like helmets and gloves when you’re at Houston Motorcycle Exchange.
However, while everyone knows about the importance of protecting your body in the event of a crash, what’s less talked about is your risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss.
What Is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
While background noise is a common part of everyday life, regular exposure to noise above 85 decibels (dB) can cause noise-induced hearing loss. The louder the noise, the less time it takes to damage your hearing.
Exposure to loud noise harms the delicate hair cells of the inner ear, which help relay sound to your brain. Once damaged, these cells cannot be repaired, and it can lead to permanent hearing loss.
Wind Noise Can Reach Harmful Levels
When it comes to riding motorcycles, newer models have actually gotten quieter in recent years. Additionally, your helmet offers a buffer against loud noise. However, what really puts your ears at risk is the wind noise that you encounter while riding.
One study found that even when wearing a helmet, “wind noise around the helmet can reach about 90 dB(A) at 60 km/h and increase with speed, reaching 110 dB(A) at 160 km/h.”
This range puts you at risk of noise-induced hearing loss, which means additional steps need to be taken to protect your ears when riding.
Protect Your Ears While Riding Your Motorcycle
It’s recommended that motorcycle riders use earplugs as a form of hearing protection. When it comes to what type, you have several factors to consider. Firstly, you want to look for earplugs that reduce have an attenuation level of 26-33 dB. Next, you have to think about what is comfortable and easiest for you. For some people, foam earplugs that you can find at local pharmacies or order online work well. Others appreciate the comfort of customized earmolds.
While some riders worry that earplugs will prevent them from hearing important sounds on the road, the opposite is actually true. By buffering high-pitched wind noise, it makes it easier for you to hear oncoming cars or sirens from an emergency vehicle. Additionally, leaving your ears unprotected greatly increases your chances of developing hearing loss, which will make these noises even more difficult to pick up.
To learn more about how to protect your ears or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call Hearing Systems today.