Most motorcyclists in the UK are unlikely to ever go out for a ride without wearing their protective jacket, trousers, gloves and boots. As the saying goes, most “dress for the slide, not the ride”. But when it comes to hearing protection, not all riders hold ear plugs in the same high regard as the rest of their essential kit. But they should.
Hearing damage is irreversible, but preventable. The British Tinnitus Association state that in the UK, one in eight people suffer from persistent tinnitus (a constant ringing sound in your ears), and motorcyclists are more likely to suffer than those who don’t ride, due to experiencing loud, unfiltered wind noise when riding.
The type of riding you do and the speeds you regularly reach impacts the level of harmful wind noise you’re exposed to. Noise above 85 decibels (dB) can cause damage, and you don’t have to be travelling all that fast to reach that level of harmful noise.
A study by ISVR Consulting at the University of Southampton found that at speeds above 40mph, wind noise can exceed the noise of the motorcycle itself and become damaging to your hearing if you’re not wearing protection. Riders are exposed to anything from around 85dB at 40mph to 106dB at 70mph. At 125mph, noise levels reached 115dB.
If you live in a city and most of your riding is done around town, it’s unlikely that you’ll reach speed in excess of 40mph, but you’d still be on the threshold of the damaging 85dB. Longer commutes, weekend leisure rides and touring will more likely see you reach the 106dB+ noise level, and track day riders will get to 115dB and beyond considering the higher speeds you can reach on a racetrack. So with most types of riding, you’ll be getting a level of wind noise that could temporarily or permanently damage your hearing.
With that in mind, you might be wondering what ear plugs are best suited to your riding needs. Most riders new to wearing hearing protection go straight for the traditional, disposable foam plugs. Foam plugs are effective at cutting out harmful noise and are certainly offer more protection than not wearing anything at all. But there are definitely drawbacks: because they block all noise, you can’t hear important sounds such as sirens. There are also low comfort levels, and being disposable means they’re unkind to your wallet, as well as the environment.
Our Auritech Biker ear plugs are perfect for all types of riding and are designed to be comfortable for long periods of time, with a unique design for optimum safety. Both our universal fit and custom fit ear plugs have a patented ceramic filter that is frequency selective, protecting you from harmful noise, but also ensuring that you can hear important surrounding noise, like traffic in your blind spots, or conversation through an intercom.
Keith Chanter recently got in touch with us to get a pair of custom fit Biker ear plugs fitted at our new COVID-secure custom fit studio after purchasing a new motorcycle. He said, “I reached out to Auritech to upgrade my hearing protection because I had just purchased a Ducati and wanted to enjoy the performance without suffering from the ringing in my ears after a long ride.”
“I also wanted to retain the audio quality of my rider intercom with my partner, a big positive when riding together. Having used custom fit ear plugs in motorsport before, I was most impressed with the results from the Auritech Biker ear plugs. They are comfortable and attenuate background noise enough, but still allow you to feel and remain safe. They also allow you to enjoy the sound of your engine and rider intercom, too!”
If you’re a rider in need of upgrading your hearing protection, then why not try our Universal Fit Biker ear plugs or book yourself in to our custom fit studio for a bespoke pair of Biker plugs.
Fitting for Auritech’s custom fit earplugs is by appointment only, and can be arranged via email at [email protected], or by calling 01483 516434. Weekend appointments are also available. They come in a range of colours with a dedicated carry case, and a free cord and clip if required. Custom fit earplugs cost £119 for a pair.
Auritech’s Universal Fit range is available over the counter from retailers throughout the UK, and on our website – www.auritech.co.uk.