Fact #1: Normal highway riding does irreparable, but imperceptible, hearing damage.
According to OSHA, up to 85-90dB of exposure for 8 hours a day is within hearing safety limits. However, when sound levels exceed 100dB, safe exposure time drops to only 2 hours, and at 115dB, it’s reduced to only 15 minutes!
What does that mean to us riders? 85-90dB is the level of noise you’re exposed to in normal to heavy traffic, at speeds of under 40mph. Think city driving; car horns, big rigs, sirens and loud vehicles can strain your ears, but not to the level of permanent hearing damage.
However, at speeds of 65mph or more, wind noise creeps up past the 90db mark, and increases dramatically with speed. In other words, more damage is being done to your ears cruising on an empty highway at the speed limit than in the middle of a crowded city!
Fact #2: Some riders can hear better when wearing hearing protection.
This is completely counter-intuitive, but true. Recalling the TTS we mentioned earlier – the temporary reduction in hearing that occurs from sustained exposure – we know that a rider that does not wear
Motorcycle Ear Plugs will have worse hearing while on the road (whether he realizes it or not.)
On the other hand, by reducing that high-frequency wind noise, Motorcycle Ear Plugs wearers are preventing TTS and retaining full hearing ability, still being able to clearly hear low-frequency sounds like approaching cars, sirens, and their engines. As a result, many users actually report feeling more in tune with the road, and especially their bikes, when wearing proper Motorcycle Ear Plugs, because they are less fatigued or distracted by the roaring wind noise that they probably didn’t even notice before.
The important factor is choosing Motorcycle Ear Plugs that attenuate (reduce sound) enough to take the edge off of high frequency wind noise, while still allowing important sounds to be heard. This is usually accomplished at 15-30db attenuation, the range most “foamie” style earplugs fall into, such as the Hearos shown below.
Fact #3: Wearing hearing protection makes you less tired after a ride.
Many Motorcycle Ear Plugs wearers report lower fatigue after riding versus when riding without them. This is due to the reduction in “noise fatigue,” a condition of exhaustion and even pain that can result from sustained exposure to high levels of noise (a condition commonly known in the aviation industry, and other industries where loud noise is constant.) In other words, you may literally feel more energetic during and after a ride with Motorcycle Ear Plugs in, which is especially important if you’re a motorcycle commuter. And of course, more energy and focus can’t hurt your riding ability either.
How To Keep Your Hearing
While there are many routes you can take when choosing ear protection, from bulk packs of cheap disposables to custom fit Motorcycle Ear Plugs made by a doctor, we recommend trying these ear filters (plugs) from Hearos. They come in multi-packs with attenuation levels from 26-33dB, and at only $4.99-5.99 a pack, they are the perfect way to inexpensively try out hearing protection on your next ride. Try adding a set to your next purchase with Motorcycle Ear Plugs