Motorcycle Related Hearing Problems...???? Hearing Health & Safety Motorcycle Facts Most motorcyclists understand the effects of a "silent killer" which follows them every time they enjoy riding their bikes. However, some still believe the causes of hearing loss are due to how loud the bike sounds, and/or that it affects only the people who do not wear full shell helmets. This is true to a certain degree.
Based on several research studies, the major contributor to hearing loss in the motorcycle industry remains to be the "silent killer" known as "wind noise." Generically termed as ‘the amount of noise turbulence produced around the head while the rider is in motion’, its inherited consequences result in irreversible hearing loss damage over a period of time when adequate hearing protection is not worn. Constant exposure to harmful levels of noise, gradually force the rider into becoming yet another statistic of the "silent killer” and developing permanent hearing damage due to permanent hair cell damage in the inner ear. To put this in perspective, according to the ‘Health & Safety Executive’ who regulate industrial noise exposure, an average worker surrounded by levels below 85dB (Decibels) for the duration of an eight-hour day will not exceed the limits of exposure time. However, when the sound levels exceed 85dB the exposure time is dramatically reduced. Exposure to noise of 100dB or above for more than 15 minutes can permanently damage your hearing; exposure to noise of 105dB or above for more than 5 minutes can permanently damage your hearing leading onto the development of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). This puts riding a bike into a whole new realm as "wind noise" at highway speeds can measure up to 103dB, or comparable to a running chainsaw. At these levels the rider is not only fatiguing physically from the excess noise exposure, but it The SAM Observer October 2010
The October 2010 edition of "The SAM Observer"