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Motorcycle riders are exposed to loud noise levels when riding, particularly at high speeds, which might eventually damage their hearing.

Motorcycle Driver and Hearing Loss

What specifically occurs when a motorbike rider doesn’t wear earplugs? How long before hearing loss occurs? How may hearing loss be avoided permanently? Let’s examine the specific ways that riding a motorcycle might harm your hearing.

Long-term exposure to loud noise is the main risk factor for hearing loss among motorcycle riders. When exposed repeatedly to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB), hearing impairment might occur.

Bikes have a maximum sound output of 120 dB, which is the same as a jet taking off. For those who don’t wear hearing protection, this noise exposure can impair hearing in as little as a few minutes.

The effects of noise exposure on hearing can vary from temporary hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and permanent hearing loss, and according to studies, motorcycle riders are more likely than the general population to experience TTS (Transient Threshold Shift).

How Fast Does Hearing Loss Progress?

Transient Threshold Shift (TTS)

Transient Threshold Shift (TTS) is a condition that causes hearing loss in motorcycle riders.

Long-term exposure to loud noises in excess results in TTS, which temporarily reduces your acute hearing pattern, in other words, your hearing has gotten worse since the exposure.

A sustained exposure to TTS will permanently harm your hearing.

TTS (Transient Threshold Shift) symptoms most frequently include:

  • Distorted hearing
  • Feeling of satiety
  • Tinnitus

Transient Threshold Shift (TTS) Treatment

Give your ears some time to recuperate if you’re displaying indications of a momentary threshold change. To give your hearing time to adjust, choose a quiet area and stay away from loud noises.

Temporary threshold shift may disappear on its own in a few hours. It can take a few days in some circumstances. We advise discussing with your hearing healthcare professional if your symptoms persist after a few days.

Moreover, hearing harm can be cumulative, which means that even if a rider does not feel symptoms right away, continued exposure might cause hearing loss in later life.

Dealing with ear ringing or Tinnitus at work

Impact of Different Types of Motorcycle Jobs on Hearing

In many occupations, occupational hearing loss is a well-known risk factor. Occupational motorcyclists are those who ride motorbikes as a necessary part of their line of work.

A hearing impairment is an issue that mostly appears to afflict professional riders, in particular, racers and law enforcement personnel. In other professions, like airport ground staff, exposure to loud noise may not always be obvious and acknowledged.

There are several professions that require riding a motorcycle or scooter and that, due to extended exposure to loud noise, may impair hearing.

Some of these jobs include:

  1. Motorcycle Courier: A motorcycle courier is responsible for delivering packages and documents to various locations within a city or town. The job involves riding a motorcycle for extended periods, often in heavy traffic.
  2. Motorcycle Police Officer: Motorcycle police officers use motorcycles as a means of transportation to respond to emergencies and patrol streets. They are often required to ride at high speeds and in heavy traffic, exposing them to high levels of noise that can cause hearing damage.
  3. Motorcycle Instructor: Motorcycle instructors teach people how to ride motorcycles safely. They spend most of their time on motorcycles, and the noise generated by the engine and the wind can cause hearing damage over time.
  4. Motorcycle Racer: Motorcycle racers are exposed to high levels of noise due to the engines of their bikes, as well as the sound generated by the wind at high speeds. The noise levels can reach up to 130 dB, which is equivalent to the sound of a jackhammer.
  5. Motorcycle Mechanic: Motorcycle mechanics spend most of their time in garages, repairing and maintaining motorcycles. They are exposed to the noise generated by running engines, power tools, and other machinery.
  6. Motorcycle Tour Guide: Motorcycle tour guides lead groups of riders on long trips, often for several days or weeks. The noise generated by the engine and wind can cause hearing damage over time.
  7. Motorcycle Delivery Rider: Motorcycle delivery riders work for companies that deliver food, packages, and other items. They spend most of their time on motorcycles, often in busy traffic, which exposes them to high levels of noise.

Police Officers Are 19% More Likely to Have Hearing Loss

You’re a Driver? Protect Your Hearing

Wind rushing past a rider’s ears creates “wind noise,” which is a significant source of noise. According to studies, a motorcyclist’s helmet may generate an excessive quantity of wind noise that can reach 90 dB (A) at 60 km/h and linearly increase to 110 dB (A) at 160 km/h.

With every 10 km/h increase in speed, the noise levels for a roadster motorcycle rise on average by 2 dB (A) and for a faired motorbike by 2.5 dB (A). A faired motorbike has wind noise measurements that are typically 1.5 dB (A) greater than a comparable roadster machine.

Motorcycle riders can take a number of measures to protect against the possibility of hearing damage brought on by extended exposure to loud noise.

Here are some strategies for protecting their hearing:

  • Wear hearing protection
  • Choose a quieter helmet
  • Use a windscreen
  • Ride at lower speeds
  • Choose a motorcycle with a quieter engine
  • Take breaks
  • Get regular hearing tests

Motorcycle drivers can protect their hearing and have a secure and comfortable ride by using the proper hearing protection, selecting a quieter helmet, utilizing a windscreen, riding at lower speeds, selecting a quieter motorcycle, taking regular pauses, and getting regular hearing tests.

Hearing Protection At Work

Compensation for Hearing Loss Among Professional Motorcycle Riders

Racers, dispatch riders, and police motorcycle riders are some of the categories of motorcycle professional riders. The provisions of a racer’s contract typically include the risk of harm, shielding their “employer” from legal action.

Dispatch riders are typically independent contractors who subcontract their services to one or more businesses, therefore they are also unlikely to pursue legal action, which leaves police motorcycle riders, who may file claims for hearing loss sustained while doing their duty.

The claimant must meet the following three conditions in order for the claim to be processed:

  • Hearing loss resulted from the exposure to the loud noises, which were heard at high volumes.
  • The exposure posed a known risk of harm, yet the necessary corrective actions were not taken (i.e. negligence on the part of the employer).

If the hearing loss is permanent and significantly affects the employee’s ability to perform their job, they may be eligible for disability benefits under workers’ compensation or other insurance programs. These benefits might cover lost pay compensation, medical costs, and job training.

Also, in order to enable employees with hearing loss to efficiently execute their job tasks, companies may be obligated to make reasonable adjustments. Providing assistive listening equipment, altering the workplace, or adapting work schedules are all examples of reasonable accommodations.



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If you, or anyone you know, worked in noise and suffers from hearing loss, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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