Whether we’re making our living on a motorcycle, putting in eight hours a day on leisure trips or just taking our new CBR 1000RR out for three hours on the weekend – all that prolonged exposure to the wind, the road and engine noise not damage our hearing.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce this noise, many of them relatively inexpensive and simple.
- Protect your hearing.
- You only have one pair of ears.
What’s up with all that noise?
- Riding is a noisy business.
- You have to deal with the engine, road noise (the sound of your tires on the road) and wind noise.
- Typically an engine will produce around 80 to 90 dB when idling and more than 100 dB when accelerating.
- Wind noise is easily the most dangerous here.
- The sound of air moving around your head at high speed in a full face helmet can exceed 115db.
Makes sense right?
- Put things in your ears when things get noisy.
- Custom made earplugs are pretty inexpensive these days and comfortable on long trips.
- One-size-fits-all options have come a long way and are very similar in design to musicians’ earplugs.
- Its goal is to isolate harmful frequencies using the size of the opening in the plug.
- This means that you can still hear what is going on around you, but you are protected from harmful things.
- We did a deep dive on this topic, take a look if you are looking for the best motorcycle earplugs.
- The Windjammer accessory is a unique version of wind noise reduction.
- It is a neoprene skirt attached to the bottom of your helmet on the outside.
- When installed, there is a small but springy hole left for your head to stick out.
- This creates a clean seal around your neck that reduces airflow hitting the bottom of your helmet and therefore less noise.
- It works and can also be put on and taken off as needed. Manufacturers say that the adhesive will continue to work even after washing.
Balaclava / Scarf
- Balaclava and scarves are an inexpensive and surprisingly effective option. This is less than ten bucks from SportsBikeShop.
- Anything that decreases the amount of wind entering your helmet from the bottom will reduce noise.
- Generally speaking, your balaclava should feel tight at first and stretch to fit your face.
- The intention here is to seal the air gaps for the purpose of isolating temperature and noise.
- Balaclavas that roll below the jacket’s neckline will keep you warmer and lower in volume.
- A scarf wrapped around your neck and tucked tightly into your helmet will create a significant noise reduction.
- Pair this with a balaclava and things will calm down significantly.
- Motorcycle ear muffs with noise / music cancellation options are also an after-market option.
- These differ from speakers designed to fit in the cutouts present on many helmets.
- Earmuffs form a seal around the ear that helps reduce noise.
- If your helmet is already loud, adding speakers won’t help. Unless they form a seal around your ears, you will have to turn up the volume to dangerous levels to cancel out any existing noise.
- The problem here is that these ear muffs are typically 35-45mm thick and won’t fit under the helmet unless some padding is removed.
Choose a good helmet
- We have delved into this in the following article.
- The quietest motorcycle helmets
- In short, because they are placed in the ‘up’ position, modular helmets have a smaller opening in contact with the wind.
- This results in less noise.
- If there is space inside your helmet, that space will fill with swirls of air once you start to move.
- This is loud, not good.
- Pay attention to the cheek pads.
- If they fit well, they can help dampen the vibration that comes from the bottom of the helmet and reduce vibration when the visor is open.
- The rolled neck should also feel comfortable. The closer the setting, the less room there will be for air to travel into space and generate noise.
- Although your windshield is designed to draw airflow away from your head, there are some combinations of screen, helmet, and rider height that can result in increased wind noise.
- The idea here is to do …