After publishing the three articles on hearing loss and prevention I posted a link to the Australian Netrider website in a message titled Got protection?
It’s not sexy and others can’t see it with your lid on, it doesn’t make heads turn as you scream past and hearing protection is an all too often overlooked, ignored and even shunned subject. What’s that you say? Yes, that’s frequently the start of a conversation with an older rider.
- Fact: you will likely damage your hearing riding a motorcycle without hearing protection
- Fact: once damaged you can’t regain lost hearing
Likely damage? Huh? Why not will damage? Motorcycles are noisy. Exposure to noise can damage your hearing. It depends on the intensity of the sound (noise), the duration, your age (our hearing decreases as we age) and the total sound exposure over a period of time (typically 24 hours). Because of this you can’t say that it will damage your hearing but to this rider it’s a no brainer. A bit like wearing a helmet, not just because it’s the law and we’ll lose precious points if we don’t but because it makes sense. We wear motorcycle helmets to reduce the likelihood of permanent brain damage and this rider can attest to their efficacy! But to me without regularly wearing the right type of hearing protection you’ll be doing exactly that – damaging a part of your body that won’t regrow, that won’t get better, that won’t ever improve, only get worse.
In late 2018 I started researching hearing protection and have now completed three articles in a series on earplugs and motorcycling. You can find all three articles on my personal, non commercial & non advertising supported website https://www.arcnineohnine.com
- Part One “Got Protection” explains why motorcyclists need hearing protection and covers important sound concepts used in parts two and three
- Part Two “Plug me up” addresses the types of hearing protection standards and how to correctly fit and maintain earplugs
- Part Three “Got Protection – The Data“ is a detailed and comparative review of thirty-four different earplugs
If you’re looking for a summary: as a motorcyclist wear high protection earplugs. To know why and which ones to use, read each article in order as they build on each other.
If I’ve saved just one person from losing their hearing, this has been worthwhile.
The resulting conversation in the above forum thread reinforced the assumptions I had about the overall knowledge of buyers choosing hearing protection and the types of protection motorcyclists are wearing. I was and still am concerned that there was non scientific review of hearing protection, I outlined the approach I used and hope that others will also use similar test methods.
On published attenuation data I am also concerned that it’s hard to find the actual test data for some hearing protection devices. More importantly, I’m no legal expert so unsure if this is or isn’t legal, a number of products are available for sale in Australia which do not have Australian Standards certification and do not show SLC80 attenuation/class data and instead proclaim SNR or NRR standards which to me inflates the apparent level of protection offered vs the AS/NZS standards which appear to be much tougher. This is a cause of confusion to purchasers I’ve spoken with and will likely lead to folks selecting devices which may offer insufficient attenuation and compromise their hearing.
Wearing some form of protection has to be better than wearing none but choosing products which don’t provide the necessary attenuation for the intended use is a deep concern. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this occurrence is widespread.
Over the nineteen days since publication it’s also apparent that all three articles aren’t being read and that the money shot (part three) is the most read, this means that folks won’t necessarily have the background knowledge to make an educated choice on what’s the right product for them
- Part Three: Got Protection – The Data 204 Views
- Part One: Got Protection? 122 Views
- Part Two: Plug me up 116 Views