Just some articles to consider when wondering why you don't hear things so well since you started riding....(thanks Fixed for the info!) http://www.headwize.com/articles/hearing_art.htm http://www.mxfitness.co.uk/articles/hearingdamage.htm http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=40956 Some protection is better than none and you don't have to be riding a Duke or other known noisy beast. Wind noise is a big factor as well. Not light reading by any means, but very informative (and scary!).