The Sound of Silence : How To Protect Your Hearing When Riding Your Motorcycle

Riding Your Motorcycle

The times of disposable motorcyclists – in short shorts, Tornado helmets and on the equipment, which was inspected for safety for the last time before the end of the cold war – are slowly dying. Today, even the beginner fairy tellers are aware of the expenses associated with clothing. For the basic set (helmet, trousers, jacket, gloves, shoes) we need about 800 – 1000 USD. The upper limit probably does not exist, because there is always something better/more expensive/more durable.

As you know – safety first!

However, in the motorcycle safety puzzle, there is a defective element in both young and old riders. It is about hearing – one of the basic senses in homo sapiens. It helps in communication and recognition of the environment, which is why it is referred to as the most important social sense.

An interesting fact is that hearing, unlike sight, receives stimuluses constantly, works continuously, even during sleep!

Damage or loss of hearing disturbs social interaction between people, affects physical safety, reduces independence and in extreme cases can lead to social withdrawal or even depression. If it doesn’t appeal to you, imagine that you can’t hear your child, reporting on the first day of school, a friend calling for help, a favourite band at a concert, birds singing during a walk in the forest, conversations during a corporate event, all the stories told by people you meet on the road and the sound of a newly rebuilt motorcycle.

But this does not apply to me!

This is the answer I met most often, doing a small interview with my motorcycle friends. Some said that they had quiet exhalation, others were talking about the best helmet on the market. Everyone was wrong because the biggest enemy of a motorcyclist’s hearing is not a passing exhalation at all, but the whistling wind in a helmet while riding and unfortunately a pot was not yet invented to protect such an important for a human sense.

Hearing does not break like a leg. It breaks down gradually.

And that’s the worst news: we won’t feel the loss of hearing right away. The process is slow, progresses for years and, unfortunately, its effects are irreversible. As a result, adults should have their hearing tested at least once a year. I examined myself only when, at one of the events, I felt that standing on the left side of the company, I was not able to understand the conversations. After the examination, it turned out that the left ear works much worse than the right one.

Of course, at first I thought I wasn’t working eight hours in a sawmill, but I was quickly brought to the ground when I saw a summary of the noise level generated by the things/situations around me.

And now something from the motorcycle world: noise in excess of 80 dB is a guarantee of irreversible damage to hearing. The table below shows that at a speed of 100km/h our hearing is able to withstand a maximum of 15 minutes without damage. Every minute is a micro-damage, which after many years can result in a serious and irreversible defect.

It is worth remembering that long-term exposure to noise influences fatigue and reduced concentration during driving.

How do I protect my hearing then?

Buying awesome motorcycle helmets and headphones just isn’t enough. I found a lot of articles on stopwatches for motorcyclists. Over the last year, I have tested foam stoppers, available in the pharmacy for a few cents, and those made of the thermoplastic material – dedicated to motorcyclists.

The advantage of foam is the price and availability. Unfortunately, they cause annoyance, fall out at the least appropriate moment and cause the “aquarium” effect. Dedicated stoppers are much better, do not clog the ears and do not fall out, but their insertion and removal requires the use of a special stick and despite the manufacturer’s assurances – the stoppers are abrasive and cutting them is of little use. While it was acceptable for short journeys through the city, during the long journey the problem became a real nuisance and ended with the removal of stopwatches.

SNR

In all earplugs/stops/hearing protectors, the SNR (Single Number Rating) is a single number indicator that determines the overall attenuation and allows simple comparison of these types of products. Alpine Motosafe protectors have an SNR of 18 dB, disposable foam plugs – 37 dB, but they dampen noise with the comfort of cement poured into the ear and fall out more often than the two in the old MZ.

Haspro Moto – just quieter

HS Profile specializes in protective devices for various applications. They have products for protection at work, for people with sleep problems, athletes, those spending long hours in the pool, shooting fans, musicians and of course motorcyclists for whom the product is dedicated – Haspro Moto.

The most important difference between Haspro Moto and other protectors is that the product is adapted to the shape of the ears, so ordering individual protectors we are directed to a specific hearing care professional in our city in order to collect the silicone casting.

After less than two weeks, the courier brought me a package containing protections in the colour of my choice, packed in a metal box, an additional case with a zipper, a cleaning kit and a short instruction manual.

After a few weeks of driving from Haspro Moto – a trip to London and short rides through the countryside – I regret that I didn’t find them before, because they are the first bodyguards fulfilling their function, without any discomfort associated with using them.

Advantages:

  • high wearing comfort – thanks to the perfect fit to the ears, you practically do not feel anything in them, even during long journeys;
  • no need for special applicators, because the protectors have small handles that make it easy to insert and remove;
  • very good quality of reception, they do not distort the sounds of speech and do not cause the feeling of isolation and clogging of the ears;
  • the breathable design of the filter ensures adequate ventilation of the ear canal;
  • easy to clean;
  • SNR of 26 dB;
  • discreet form without protruding parts makes the protectors fit under the helmet and do not interfere with anything;

At this point, I should mention the flaws, but I would have to come up with them, because the product is really “top of the top“.

In the first moment it may be discouraged by the price, but if we take into account the minimum durability of bodyguards (4 years), the length of the motorcycle season on most of Europe (max. 120 days), using the best product on the market so far, costs about $0.33 daily – less than in the case of disposable stopwatches from the pharmacy, which are only suitable for plugging the hole mattresses at the camping site near some lake.

Stay safe!

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