Most of us know that we should wear earplugs, but still the majority of road riders choose not to wear earplugs when riding long distances.
Whether we don’t like the feeling of them in our ears or feel that they block out too much noise, the fact is that many motorcyclists risk permanent damage to their hearing by not wearing earplugs.
According to Wendy Faulkner of Auritech, riding for just 15 minutes at 62mph can cause permanent ringing in the ears (known as tinnitus) while tests have shown that just three minutes of riding at 87mph can cause hearing loss.
She said: “Many motorcyclists are not aware of the dangers of riding without hearing protection while others may have tried wearing foam ear plugs but didn’t like them. These cheaper ear plugs do a good job of blocking out sound but can often place the rider in a ‘bubble’ and make them feel removed from the environment around. With Auritech we have developed a patented ceramic filter, which allows the ‘good’ noise to pass through while reducing harmful wind noise. This not only reduces the risk of damage to the wearer but should also enhance the riding experience and road safety by allowing them to hear the sounds around them, such as traffic noise, horns, police sirens and the revving of their engine.”
As well as the cheap foam earplugs that can be bulk bought at local pound shops, a number of specialist products developed for motorcyclists have appeared on the market in recent years. Several companies offer custom fit plugs at various bike shows up and down the country, while premium products from Auritech and Pinlock make clever plugs with filters fitted. These cost around £20 and filter out the howling wind noise while allowing the beneficial sound of traffic and intercoms to be heard more clearly.
Whichever type of earplugs you choose, it is well worth wearing them. Hearing damage is irreversible, and you can’t put a price on that.