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Is Your Motorcycle Making You Deaf

I love my Harley and often wear a helmet when I ride. Before I became an attorney I was in the artillery in the army and suffered a hearing loss to my left ear. As a result of my hearing loss I sometimes face challenges hearing at trial, not to mention hearing my wife at home. That “wife” remark was an attempt at humor. Also because of my hearing loss I am concerned about the possible damage to my hearing when I ride my Harley.

To start with, Harley motorcycles are distinctively loud. Not as loud as Big Dog bikes, but loud nonetheless. A few of my friends have custom pipes on their bikes that make them even louder. The argument goes something like this: if I have a loud bike maybe the car and truck drivers will know I am there and not crash into me! Sounds reasonable, but you might be putting your hearing at risk. You might also be putting your wallet at risk when outfitting your bike with loud pipes because many city ordinances limit the amount of noise a motorcycle can emit.

To compound the problem recent medical studies show that wearing a motorcycle helmet can damage your hearing. The studies have revealed the biggest source of noise for motorcyclists is actually generated by air moving over the helmet. Even at relatively slow speeds, the sound can exceed safe levels. The Acoustical Society of America has been doing a lot of work on motorcycle helmets including these and others:

Motorcycle helmets and the frequency dependence of temporary hearing threshold shift

The experimental measurement of motorcycle noise

The sources and effects of noise exposure in motorcycling

You might think that the combination of a windscreen and a helmet might reduce noise – think again! They have even done studies on that.

So what’s the answer? Stop riding motorcycles – I don’t think so – not even no but HELL NO! On longer rides on the highway I usually wear those soft ear plugs and it seems to help. From now on I am going to try to habitually wear those ear plugs – even on shorter rides. That raises another issue however, will I be able to hear other vehicles around me in traffic and even other motorcycles so I do not cut them off? The battle continues…

Take care out there…

I have been a motorcycle rider for over 30 years and have also been a registered nurse. My law practice focuses on representing injured and killed motorcycle riders and their families. We can help you with medical bills, getting your bike fixed and getting you the money you deserve from the person that caused the crash. Utah Bike Law and its attorneys are licensed to practice law only in the State of Utah and maintain offices in Salt Lake City, Utah. No attorney client relationship is established by simply visiting this website.

Utah Bike Law

4444 700 E #106A
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
(801) 590-9825