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A million motorcyclists putting their hearing at risk as tinnitus already affecting 1 in 7

person riding red and gray motorcycle
© Baptiste DAVID

Tinnitus UK is urging motorcyclists to use hearing protection whether they are travelling for work or pleasure during Motorcycle Safety Week (3–9 April), as new data indicates that only 29% of riders “regularly” or “sometimes” do so. So, nearly a million motorcycle riders (994,00) in the UK are placing themselves at risk for hearing loss and tinnitus, both of which can be lifelong conditions.

Tinnitus, a disorder that creates the perception of noise when there is no external source, affects one in seven adults. The illness currently has no known cure.

With noise levels of 80 dB or higher, hearing health is at risk. In general, riding noise levels range from 85 to 95 decibels at speeds up to 35 mph and rise to 110 to 116 decibels at 65 mph. Riding noise levels are a combination of engine noise, road noise, and wind turbulence. Hearing damage can happen at these higher levels in less than a minute.

Caroline Savage, CEO of Tinnitus UK said: “Noise exposure is the single biggest preventable cause of tinnitus, and it is clear from our research that people appear to be unaware of the risks. Even if you’re only hopping on your bike for a short trip, use hearing protection. When it’s loud… Plug’em is our very clear message.”

She added “The theme of this year’s Motorcycle Safety Week is looking after your bike and using PPE. We want to make sure that people enjoy their motorbikes safely and to think of hearing protection as part of their PPE kit. We want protecting your ears to be second nature – the same way you put on a helmet before every ride. There should be no stigma around using ear plugs – we only have one pair of ears, and damage to our hearing is irreversible.”

Have you considered protecting your hearing while travelling?