There are many different types of motorcyclists, be it professionals, racers, commuters, delivery drivers or those who like to ride for leisure. Commonly, the protective motorcycle gear includes helmets, boots, gloves, clothing…protecting our body, legs, arms, eyes and feet is so common it’s standard. Many of us look after our teeth too, but so few care for their ears which typically degrade with advancing years. Dentist bills are expensive, but so are hearing aids too…really, earplugs should be an essential part of your kit.
Although the roar of the engine is certainly alluring to most, when riding your bike, you expose your ears to damaging levels of wind noise, often for extended periods of time. Not only is this a long-term health risk, but noise affects fatigue levels and concentration, all having a direct impact on your safety. Filtering out wind and motor noise therefore has multiple benefits. Some helmets help reduce noise, but cannot do enough; your ears deserve the highest amount of protection possible. After all, once you’ve damaged your hearing, it’s irreversible – you’ll never get it back.
Increased Speed = Increased noise
Noise is measured in decibels (dB), and exposing your ears to high levels puts them at risk of being damaged. The UK’s “action level” for hearing protection is at 85db, although some sources recommend taking action at just 70dB. It is worth bearing in mind that the dB scale is logarithmic, which means that the noise energy doubles every 3dB. Read on to find out why this is important…
When travelling on the motorway at 70mph, riders can be subjected to wind noise over 100db, and on average the engine noise from a motorcycle is around 90db. That means that your ears are being subjected to around 1,000 times the ‘safe’ sound levels of 70dB! And the faster you go, the noisier it gets – increasing the risk you are placing on your ears. So, no matter how long or short the trip, any motorcycle journey has the potential to cause serious and irreversible damage to your health – hearing protection is a must.
What’s the damage?
In 2018, the General German Automobile Association (ADAC) conducted a study which revealed that permanent hearing damage can be caused after only 15 minutes of riding at 62mph without earplugs (BMF 2019). If you keep exposing your ears to excessive wind noise, you can get Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). This means that you can only hear sound at certain frequencies, but not others. In the UK, more than 40% of people over 50 years old have hearing loss, rising to more than 70% of people over the age of 70 (AHL 2018); without using ear protection, it is likely you will need a hearing aid at some point – a potentially expensive proposition.
Additionally, constant wind noise can cause Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS) where you can experience temporary hearing loss. It is believed to be caused by your ears trying to adapt to an over-exposure to loud noise. The partial deafness blocks out all frequencies which can be dangerous when on a bike, and continuous TTS exposure can lead to tinnitus symptoms and cause permanent inability to hear. One day you may wake up and the ringing in your ears does not go away; it is estimated that more than 1 in 8 people in the UK are living with tinnitus (BTA 2020).
Don’t be ear-isponsible – SnugsMoto custom fit earphones are the comfortable solution
SnugsMoto is our custom fit solution for motorcylists. Our earpieces are custom fit to the exact shape of your ears, isolating your hearing from damaging noise, so you are preventing wind noise entering your ears and causing the damage explained above. And now your ears are safe from the noise, you can replace the din with the sound coming from your earphone, making them a perfect choice if listening to your navigation system when riding. The low-profile design, with the driver encased in the custom fit tip, allows them to sit flush in the ear and so comfortably under a motorcycle helmet. This is of paramount importance as any external pressure on the ear and in particular, the ear canal is uncomfortable after minutes.
SnugsMoto are made from your physical ear impressions which go up to the second bend in your ear canal, providing a good, deep fit for maximum protection. This “Savile Row” fit ensures an almost perfect acoustic seal. So whatever audio you want to listen to is heard with clarity and the full range of frequencies. This ensures that bass notes, low frequency sound range, are full and not leaked away. You can turn down the volume and actually really hear the audio channel at it’s mid-range best as opposed to turning it up to drown out the wind noise and road roar.
When wearing a Snugs custom fit tip with an earphone, you are gaining up to 30db of protection; the level of isolation varies depending on factors including thickness of skull and depth of ear impression. This means you are still able to hear some outside noise, for instance a car horn is measured at 107-109db; it will still be audible (and therefore safe) to use your SnugsMoto whilst riding your bike.
Supplied with an earphone, we currently have two SnugsMoto options available:
- SnugsMoto (Wired)
- SnugsMoto (Bluetooth Wireless)
Read more on the earphones and order your SnugsMoto here
- Action on Hearing Loss (AHL) 2018 [online]: https://actiononhearingloss.org.uk/about-us/research-and-policy/facts-and-figures/
- British Motorcycle Federation (BMF) 2019 [online]: https://www.bmf.co.uk/news/show/sounding-the-alarm-on-bikers-hearing-loss
- British Tinnitus Association (BTA) 2019 [online]: https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/blog/more-people-living-with-tinnitus-than-previously-thought