Motorcycle season is almost here, meaning it's almost time to get back in the saddle. Making sure you're prepared is important, as over the winter both mind and machine can rust... For many of us being prepared means checking gear: helmets, leathers, boots that may or may not last one more season, but most of the time an extremely important element is left out, hearing protection.
Hearing loss is a silent threat that impacts motorcyclists of all types and ages. OSHA defines 85 decibels (dB) as the sound level at which permanent hearing damage is possible, and 130 dB as the average pain threshold for sound. Wind noise over 40 mph (regardless of bike type) becomes the predominant sound for riders. Even with a full-face helmet, wind buffeting at highway speeds can reach noise levels in excess of 100 dB, roughly the same level as a chainsaw. Riders not wearing a helmet are at the greatest risk, with noise levels multiplying up to 10 times (110 dB).