How Wind Noise Can Result in Hearing Loss

by | Jul 28, 2021

Cycling is one of the best outdoor activities for people of all ages. It allows you to enjoy the fresh air and take in beautiful sights while burning your calories and staying healthy. However, did you know that the sound of wind rushing past your ears as you pedal at high speed can cause serious ear damage? In some cases, exposure to loud wind noise can even result in permanent hearing loss.

What Does the Science Say?

Research studies show that wind noise can significantly contribute to noise-induced hearing loss, especially among cyclists and motorcyclists.

A 2016 study by the otolaryngologists at Florida Hospital Celebration Health and Henry Ford Hospital Department of Otolaryngology depicted that exposure to wind-related noise could threaten the ear and hearing health of the riders. The researchers used the Ford Motor Company’s aero-acoustic wind tunnel to measure the level of wind noise at different speeds. They found that the noise of the wind at 15 mph, which is the speed of average cyclists riding on flat terrain, is 85 A-weighted decibels or dBA. On the other hand, the sound of wind at 60 mph, the average speed of professional cyclists riding downhill, is 120 dBA.

Furthermore, another study by the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) showed that motorcyclists riding 37 miles per hour without any ear protection could be exposed to wind noise levels of 75 to 90 dB.

How Loud is Too Loud?

Contrary to popular belief, noise-induced hearing loss is not always immediate. More often than not, exposure to these sounds can result in gradual loss of hearing. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to sounds at or above 85 dBA can cause permanent ear damage.

How to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

According to OSHA, noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most preventable injuries.

Whether you have a passion for cycling or use a motorcycle every day for work and other purposes, it would be best to use a set of earplugs under your helmet. You don’t even have to splurge on an expensive option. Just buy any earplugs to reduce wind noise by up to 35 dB while riding your bike.

It is also worth mentioning that helmets may not help prevent hearing loss or ear damage, but they can protect riders from sustaining serious head injuries during accidents.

Get Your Hearing Checked Today

Getting your hearing tested is just as important as scheduling a dentist’s appointment.

If you live in Webster, Texas, please feel free to get in touch with Bay Area Audiology to learn more about your ear and hearing health. You can also call at (281) 332-4575 to schedule a hearing test.