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Riders risk ‘permanent hearing damage after just 15 minutes at 62mph

Auritech has drawn attention to the dangers of not wearing earplugs

Laura Thomson's picture
Submitted by Laura Thomson on Wed, 21/02/2018 - 12:51

MOTORCYCLISTS are at risk of permanently damaging their hearing after just 15 minutes of riding at 62mph, seven minutes at 74mph or three minutes at 87mph, research has found.

The study, carried out by Germany’s automobile association, ADAC, has shown that riding a motorbike at 62mph typically generates a wind noise of 95dB, which can permanently damage hearing after a quarter of an hour. At 74mph, the wind noise can be expected to reach 98dB, which will prove harmful after just seven minutes of exposure. Most shocking of all is the reveal that riding at 87mph could cause damage after just three minutes. Of course, that latter statistic isn’t relevant here in the UK, but riders on Germany’s unrestricted autobahns ought to take note.

Motorcyclists who regularly ride at motorway speeds without earplugs are at risk of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), which can occur when exposed to long or repeated sounds 85dB or above. Prolonged exposure could result in tinnitus, a form of permanent ringing in the ears.

Earplug manufacturer Auritech has drawn attention to these shocking figures and issued a stark warning of the dangers of not wearing earplugs.

Wendy Faulkner, Director of Appia Healthcare, which produces Auritech ceramic filtered ear plugs, explained the benefits of the motorcycle-specific plugs, which reduce harmful noise but retain the sounds required to maintain situational awareness.

She said: ‘Many motorcyclists are not aware of the dangers of riding without hearing protection while others may have tried wearing foam ear plugs but didn’t like them. These cheaper ear plugs do a good job of blocking out sound but can often place the rider in a ‘bubble’ and make them feel removed from the environment around.

‘With Auritech we have developed a patented ceramic filter, which allows the ‘good’ noise to pass through while reducing harmful wind noise. This not only reduces the risk of damage to the wearer but should also enhance the riding experience and road safety by allowing them to hear the sounds around them, such as traffic noise, horns, police sirens and the revving of their engine.’


We had to fight in CA to be allowed to wear earplugs. Before the law was enacted, I was written up by a CHP for wearing them.

Also, from other studies anything above 35 mph can damage your hearing. Even in a top down car, you're doing damage to your hearing when exposed to wind noise.

I do have some minor hearing loss which is probably part bike and part age, but it took a lot more than a few minutes and a few extra miles/hour to reach here ;-)
A German study related to Health and Safety... motivation for new EU standards or a reason to have added certification to helmets (or even ultimately banning MC's... "for your own good). No thanks. Freedom of choice for me. A little hearing loss is acceptable

After 23 years or so of riding screaming 2 strokes with full systems and currently owning 4 bikes all of which have full race systems and riding without baffles my hearing is fine. The only precaution i take (and not all the time) is a set of noise cancelling headphones attached to my phone.

I've been riding with full-face but no earplugs since 1992. My hearing is still very good, and better than most folks my age (early 50s).

Maybe I just exceptionally good ears, but I doubt there's anything special about my hearing.

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