A series of surveys commissioned by hearing protection specialists Auritech has revealed that around half of British motorcyclists are at risk of permanently damaging their hearing by not wearing appropriate ear protection while riding.
The research concluded that only 40% of riders always wore hearing protection whenever they rode, while nearly 30% never wear any kind of earplugs when riding.
Previous research has shown that wind noise can generate as much as 95dB at 62mph, enough to cause permanent hearing damage after just 15 minutes of riding without hearing protection. At 74mph, damage can be done after just seven minutes.
Of those surveyed who don’t wear protection, 17% said they were unaware of the need to wear ear plugs, while nearly two thirds choose not to wear protection because they want to be able to hear other sounds around them, such as their bike’s exhaust note, emergency vehicles and intercoms.
Nearly three quarters of respondents were unaware of filtered earplugs and the benefits versus standard foam or solid plugs. Those products, like Auritech ear plugs, are designed specifically to reduce harmful high frequencies noises like wind noise, while letting through lower pitched frequencies like speech or alert sounds such as horns or emergency sirens.
Wendy Faulkner of Auritech commented: “Filtered plugs give riders the best of both worlds. They protect you from damaging wind and road noise but you can still hear your intercom, sirens or your bike engine.
“Helmets are designed specifically to protect from head and brain injuries rather than sound insulation, and so even with the quietest helmets on the market, riders risk causing permanent hearing loss or damage to their ears in the form on tinnitus, a ringing in the ears, if they ride without ear plugs.
“On the other hand, solid or foam ear plugs can potentially be dangerous as they cut out all frequencies indiscriminately and so can isolate the wearer from external sounds, which this new survey confirmed also reduces the enjoyment of riding for many riders.
“Many older riders reported that they don’t bother with earplugs as they already suffer from hearing loss due to years of riding without protection but, although the damage is irreversible, wearing earplugs will stop the condition getting worse.”
Encouragingly, the survey did reveal that more younger riders do wear ear plugs while riding. The results suggest that 68% of motorcyclists in the 18-34 year old bracket wear hearing protection, compared to just 33% of 35-54 year olds, while a staggering 81% of former motorcyclists said that they did not wear hearing protection during their riding careers.
Developed over 20 years by leading experts, Auritech Biker Earplugs have a unique precision tuned ceramic filter to ensure maximum hearing protection to motorcyclists, while leaving desired sounds clearly audible.
Auritech Biker Earplugs are available from motorcycle shops throughout the UK or online at www.auritech.co.uk - priced £19.95.