Have you ever been for a ride longer than about 30 minutes and noticed a ringing in your ears afterwards? Or perhaps muffled hearing after a long ride? I know I have, especially after following a friend’s KTM with aftermarket exhaust! These are all signs of temporary hearing damage which may become permanent unless your ears are protected while riding.
The University of Southampton has conducted research into these effects and has published a paper which may be accessed at the link below. Essentially they found that noise can reach 116 db(A) at 195 kph. The noise generated by wind is also higher than the noise from the motorcycle as speed exceeds 60 or 70 kph. They also found that windscreen height and angle impact wind noise.To address this, many riders make use of ear plugs of one sort or another. Some use old style wax plugs but these may block so much noise that traffic and other necessary noises are eliminated from the riders’ hearing. They are also messy to insert and to remove. Another solution is to use foam ear plugs which are sometimes successful but which cannot be used in conjunction with earpieces from a mobile phone or mp3 player.
Ultimate Ear based in Kent, UK offer a number of solutions specifically aimed at motorcyclists. The two less expensive options on offer allow for a reduction in noise of around 30db (Squidgy and Filtered Plug). These are made of very soft medical grade silicone and are available in a variety of colours.
For those riders wishing to make use of a mobile phone or music player they also have products containing a built-in speaker. The Monoear contains a single earpiece while the Soundear allows for stereo sound with a speaker embedded in each ear. Both products are made from dual compound silicons and are available in a variety of colours. The cable is shielded and the conductor has interwoven Kevlar for additional strength.
For more information check out the research report from the University of Southampton
The Ultimate Ear products are available from http://www.ultimateear.com/motorcyclist