The term “silent killer” refers to the wind noise impacting motorcyclists, which can cause permanent hearing loss. This is referred to as High Frequency Hearing Loss (HFHL), a condition that nearly 26 million Americans deal with as a result of exposure to loud sounds (National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders).
According to countless motorcycle experts and bloggers, the best way to protect oneself from High Frequency Hearing Loss is to wear ear plugs, reducing the noise by 32 decibels, a healthy difference from the 103-115 decibel mark that motorcyclists have to deal with. However, Ohio Law states that it is illegal to wear ear plugs in both ears, because of the increased difficulty in hearing traffic noises.
Industrial Paramedic Services, Inc. had a few ideas on how to prevent High Frequency Hearing Loss rather than wearing ear plugs:
- Wear a full, snug, helmet: According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, a full helmet reduces wind noise by 10 times. Wearing a full helmet also directs the wind over the rider’s head rather than all the way around.
- Invest in air deflectors: These change the wind flow from upward to downward, reducing the amount of wind blowing toward the riders face. Most deflectors are inexpensive, ranging from$25-40.
- Add a skirt to your helmet: This may sound feminine, but a helmet “skirt” is an inexpensive way to reduce wind noise, increase warmth, and even protects riders from insects. Like the deflectors, it decreases the amount of wind going upward toward the rider’s face, and directs it past the helmet.
Even though it is against Ohio law to wear ear plugs in both ears while riding a motorcycle, it is very important that Ohio riders take these precautions to reduce their risk of developing High Frequency Hearing Loss. Travelling any speed more than 30 mph causes the wind noise to dominate riders’ hearing. The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders reminds riders that hearing loss is preventable, but also permanent. Please take precaution.
Source: Industrial Paramedic Services, Inc. “Motorcyclists are at special risk for permanent hearing loss”