As responsible riders, our safety is our number one priority on the roads. Kitting up with protective boots, jackets, gloves and helmets is just second nature. Yet most riders forget about one particular piece of protection… that is ear protection. Have you ever experienced ringing in your ears after a long day of riding? This is a symptom of Tinnitus. Here’s what you need to know about Tinnitus and how to prevent it!
So what exactly is Tinnitus? Tinnitus is an underlying condition related to hearing loss, that induces the perception of noise or ringing in one's ears. When our ears are subjected to loud noises over long periods of time, the delicate hairs inside the ear are damaged, causing noise-induced hearing loss and Tinnitus.
The two main causes of Tinnitus for motorcyclists are long-term exposure to wind and/ or the motorcycle engine. Your motorcycle engines can easily produce 100 decibels when accelerating. Add in free-flowing exhaust components, and custom intakes and that decibel number will still grow. Yet, possibly the most damaging cause is the wind rushing past your ears. This can be incredibly loud, and especially over a long prior of time, detrimental to your hearing. Studies have shown that hearing protection is an essential component of responsible motorcycle operation.
Does your helmet reduce this noise? Even the best motorcycle helmets only reduce the decibel levels by 4 decibels, so helmets aren’t the best way to deter the issue.
How to Prevent Tinnitus? The main defence and frankly the cheapest solution would be to pick up a set of specialised riding earplugs. A common argument can be said that wearing earplugs can actually be unsafe, as it blocks out the environment and road noise around you. Although you will hear less, earplugs don't aim to fully block out all sounds. Many riding specific earplugs have filter technology that allows a small, precise amount of unobstructed sound in so you will hear clearly and safely. Perfect for lowering engine and wind noise, you are still able to maintain situational awareness.
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