Afraid of hearing damage? - column

Motorcycling is bad for your hearing. "WHAT DO YOU SAY?" Right. I say so. But is it true?

A strange poet

Once upon a time there was a poet named Jan Hanlo. He became famous for his poem 'oot oot oot boo. Oote oote boe oote oote boo ', and he looked at little boys from the hungry standpoint of apparently quite a few Catholic clergy and he drove Vincent Rapide. To lessen the roar of the wind on his half-helmet, he tucked everything under the ear flaps of his rudimentary bump cap. Up to pairs of socks.

Wind noise is noise

Wind noise makes noise and noise eventually damages the cilia in your ears. In the worst case, that will eventually make you deaf. It is nonsense, as your father was once told, to become deaf through masturbation. You just get spinal cord cancer. Or a double-muscled arm. But after more than forty years of motorcycling, you still get curious about that hearing damage story. Especially if you have an annoying whistle in your left ear for two days after a non-stop Milan-Dieren ride.

And then you see commercials with Willeke Alberti's and Gerard Jolinks and other roguish seniors. They can be fitted with hearing aids. That seems a step too far to me. But in an environment full of talking people, I have to concentrate a lot on the lips of the speaker. And with men with big mustaches and beards, I can't really see what they are saying. I know hearing protection from my years of service during the exercises on the shooting range. I just remember that things kept falling into my head.

But a free hearing test never hurts

I think there are two providers, Beter and And their commercials don't work, because I don't know who Jolink was with and who has that tune of 'Do the hearing test'. To be on the safe side, I give myself two free hearing tests. The results are quite the same: I have good hearing for a person over 14. That margin of + ten years does not seem to me to be a concern and is exactly in the spectrum of wind and machine noise. But I do buy myself a few silencers. They cost something like 19 euros or so. They fit well under my ROOF helmet. Under my ARAI they hurt. However; the effect of the stoppies is surprising: Finally above a hundred I hear the ticking of my valves again. Switching to custom-made otoplastics is not an option. Those things are expensive and I will lose anything smaller than a XNUMX mm spanner. But hearing protection is great!


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  1. “” I will lose anything smaller than a 19 mm spanner. ""

    Always happy to read that I'm not the only one with -as my neighbor called it- chronic bench blindness. . ..

  2. With those earplugs it is also of: so many heads, so many flavors. I've had them, of those measured things, both the soft and the hard variety. And that from 2 manufacturers. And they are all miserable. After a day of driving I don't have a beep in my ear, but I do have pain in my ear, sometimes for 2 days. Have now switched to those yellow things of 3m. They cushion better and are much more comfortable. Sometimes more expensive is better, not always. Not for me, at least ..

  3. Yes I have those Otoplastics hanging in my ears with string, but the whistle tone in my head / ears remains.
    Working with a jet fighter for a while without earplugs and you always have music in your ears.
    Yes plastics may not make it worse.
    More convenient to use right away with the purchase of your first electrical tool two sets of those earmuffs.

  4. I also had that beautiful whistle if I had been to a heavy metal concert as a long-haired scum. I have had a light ringing in my ears for 30 years and that will have something to do with motorcycling / racing. I've been wearing earplugs for at least 20 years. BTW that Mike Hailwood half helmet deserves a faster motor.

  5. Doesn't a good full-face helmet also provide good protection?
    Have a Schubert C first? had, now a Shoei for the (somewhat oval) fit.
    If you close the visor, it makes a huge difference to the sound. At 100+ it also saves incoming insects.
    There was also a nice poster of it. Something about insects between the teeth🤓

    • No ... just put in a few yellow wads. Have also been in possession of a constantly present flute concert for forty years.

  6. Do it, I tied the plastics together with a thread of wool.
    That worked very well then.
    In the meantime I am waiting for a new set, the fourth or something.
    The last set got lost somewhere in a crawl space ...

  7. Pierik, it is never too late in principle. Because deterioration continues without adequate protection. Unfortunately I have already lost part of my hearing ability; I would like to keep what I still have and find a 100, - for a set of otoplasts peanuts. For motorcycling you clearly have more protection without such an 'ear canal', and such a woven cord, which is useful in theory, makes contact noise. Also choose those pink-colored ones: you can still find them when bouncing away.
    Apart from protection, it increases the comfort of every meter you ride. If I forget to put them in, I notice and correct it immediately.

  8. When I am overtaken by an engine with a so-called sporty “nice sounding: exhaust, I do not directly link hearing damage to the wind noise!

  9. Just don't whine. Buy a good pair of hearing protectors adapted to your ears. I always wear them and when I forget I go back to pick them up.
    Of course it makes a difference that you do not suffer much from wind noise on your motorcycle. I had no problems with that with my moped. But on a solid ride in Germany you are glad you have them. Be wise, buy those things.

  10. The story is very one-sided and very short-sighted. Otoplastics are "expensive" but a broken ear is much more expensive. And yes, it is very fast with hearing damage. Especially since motorcycles often run with an unapproved exhaust. It is often said that other road users are posers, yet everything above 85dB is harmful. Don't forget that in addition to deafness, you can also develop hypersensitivity to sound (hyperacusis). Once you have tinnitus like the well known motorcycle cop

    Then it is exhausting for your life. There are even more providers such as Intoears for example.

    And yes @Pierik that treatment exists but is not a magic bullet. It partly helps a number of patients, but you never get it completely right. Moreover, you can then tap thousands of euros to fix it. Better to prevent than to cure.

    Incidentally, I doubt the story that hearing protection did not exist in the past.

  11. Yes, but if it is too late or you have tinnitius or something there, the best sound protection no longer helps, yes you had bad luck in the past you had no sound protection, not yet invented, recently read a message from a hospital in aachen you come in a decompression tank for a ???? Minutes and then pure air is injected into the tank, the wonders are still not over ????

  12. Bennie will not like going through life as Gerard. 😉

    People who (professionally) drive a lot of motorcycles, recognize themselves in the above story.
    The wind noise is underestimated by some (or many?), But it is in fact an assassin.
    Good hearing protection is certainly not a luxury for those who are careful with their hearing.
    Some protection of the ear canals is equally recommended for those attending a concert.
    Simple home-garden and kitchen cotton wool can be of great use.

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