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Not (no, really) another earplug thread...

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by hornet, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. The latest edition of Classic and Sports Car, the fabulous Brit classic car mag, has an interesting column by Alain de Cadenet, one of their regular writers. It's about hearing loss, and he brings up some interesting figures, that have a direct bearing on motorcycling, (err, and earplugs :LOL:).

    Direct quotes in italics...

    He says that a doctor friend told him that the main cause of hearing loss is actually from wind noise. It's all to do with the frequency of the sound waves created by wind. Whereas 80dB is considered safe, at just over 100kph wind noise is 94dB and after 15 minutes of that your hearing starts to get minor damage.

    At 160kph the wind noise is 106dB, and damage starts after 15 seconds!!

    These figures are with reference to an open sports car, or an open competition car. He goes on to speak about motorcycling, with which he has a long association.

    A helmet can reduce noise by up to 10 times, although some helmets can make it worse. A full-face type that doesn't fit properly can vibrate, causing resonance that does your hearing no good at all.

    He goes on to talk about wind actually accelerating round the windscreen pillars of open cars, AND in car sun-roofs that are not fitted with a wind-deflector. This makes the case, he says, for the re-fitting of the little side screens that used to be fitted beside the windscreen in open cars.

    The last statement is prehaps the most scary; he says that frequencies below 16Hz are most effected by wind noise, and that happens to be the range used by most folk to talk and listen.

    So leaving aside earplugs, at least make sure your new helmet is quiet, otherwise the swanky paint job may be a trade-off for saying "What???" when someone talks, by the time you get to middle age :LOL:
  2. 16hz? has to be a misquote.
  3. scribal error


  4. Hmmmm.

    I've worn earplugs all the time for my 33 years of riding
    and I still have slight hearing loss.

    Wear them folks......
  5. I've been riding for 35 years and only in the last 12 of those have I used hearing protection. My doctor tells me that I am suffering from a significant partial hearing loss and that is is attributable to those years of riding with poor quality helmets and no hearing protection.

    Nowadays I wear 'em even if I'm just going down the corner to the shops. Stable door, I know, but I want to save what's left.
  6. jeez, this has made me decide to get a new lid once i get my tax return (heres hoping its enough). i wear plugs, notice i am slighty deafened when i get off....

    then again, my lid is a bit big for my head now. noise + safety = new lid, i thinks. gotta have a look at those flip-faces now... :grin:
  7. I suspect my slight hearing loss and tinnitus is more down to the metal concerts and Walkman use in my yoof than to wind noise, but have a quiet helmet and tend to use the iPod with noise-cancelling earphones on any long rides.
  8. What? About half past ten.
  9. Noise cancelling headphones are a bit of a .... contested topic.... regarding if they actually reduce noise.
  10. You may find that taking the plugs out fixes that problem. :p
  11. Dunno about on bikes (hard to wear headphones under a lid) but they're popular on long haul flights as they can cut down the ambient racket caused by the air condish and the engine noise.

    I think that NC earphones are available but I've not seen any. Closest thing are products labelled as "noise isolating" earphones which may or may not work.

    Suffice it to say, earplugs of at least Class 5 are or should be mandatory for rides of any length of time.

    And I defy anyone to demonstrate to me a helmet that doesn't whistle like the knock off siren at the local steel factory...

    I work in industry where ambient noise can be up around 130 dba, and in some spots approaching 150 dba. The average is around 80 db.

    I wear Decidamp or E.A.R. branded earplugs. They are cylindrical shaped, foam type and work well for me.

    Each year we get our hearing tested. Now, as an officiallly classified old fart you'd expect me to be as deaf as a post. Not so. Despite 30 something years in this industry my hearing is still good.

    (Disclaimer: I do have the ability to turn it off when required - saves having to listen to whining about leaving the toilet seat up, or forgetting to put the bin out. You know, that sort of thing).

    So, if you don't want to wear hearing protection when riding, that's fine, I s'pose. But it is a tad silly to expose yourself unnecessarily to potentially ear damaging noise, isn't it?
  12. When I ride, and the fastest has been 100km/h so far, I never seem to encounter loud wind noise.. So I haven't felt I need ear plugs? I guess my helmet is pretty sound proof or something..
  13. :p i do do that... most of the time ;)

    i just have a really noisy helmet :(
  14. I've been riding for 4-5 years, and used to wear ear-plugs, then relaxed on those a bit when I got a good neck-warmer, as that deadens a lot of wind-rush in the helmet.

    But I've started using ear-plugs again, as I think I'm starting to get very minor partial hearing loss :(

    Totally agree: stick the loudest pipes in the world on your bike if you want. It's the wind and your helmet that damage your hearing.
  15. Test your hearing loss here! Test tone that starts around low-mid 20k hertz and sweeps down. Note that if you have crap speakers they might not be responsive up to 20k.

    im still good for rock solid 20k which i found interesting after substantial audio abuse.

  16. Don't forget - I also suspect some of mine might be due to sitting in front of computers with noisy fans for hours every day at work and home...
  17. My Nolan N-84 has this twin-visor system, with a normal clear visor on the inside and a thinner tinted visor on the outside. When I have the tinted visor in the up position, so that I am looking through the clear visor, the tinted visor seems to act as a spoiler and create a whistling noise at speeds of say 120 kph or more. Tad annoying because otherwise a great helmet. Makes ear plugs a necessity. :(

    Nolan N-84 with tinted visor in down position:

    Why is it that people try to hold conversations with you at normal voice level when you have your helmet on and ear plugs in, despite you telling them time and time again you can't hear them? :p

    Has anyone used this online store, EarJobs, to order ear plugs before? I found it via google.
  18. Unlikely, unless you're using Pratt and Whitney turbo-fans to cool the equipment down.

    There's a link to a scale somewhere on here where this issue is discussed and it shows the levels at which permanent hearing loss occurs and the minimum safe exposure limits that apply in noisy environments.

    It'd be unusual for an office environment to come anywhere close to this.

    Dunno if you're into nightclubbing or not, but if you are, I would suspect that exposure to loud music would be the most likely culprit, if anything.
  19. I thought that too until AP moved in next to my desk. My god, between the phone calls and the calculators going I'm surprised I can hear at all. Also, the woman who stamps the invoices with the overdue thing must have muscles bigger than Arnies.