One million motorcyclists putting their hearing at risk

This Motorcycle Safety Week, Tinnitus UK is calling for motorcyclists to protect their ears when at work or enjoying a leisure ride.

By Joanna March · April 3, 2023

This Motorcycle Safety Week (3-9 April), Tinnitus UK is calling for motorcyclists to protect their ears when at work or enjoying a leisure ride, as new data shows less than a third (29%) “regularly” or “sometimes” use hearing protection. This means that almost one million motorcyclists (994,000) in the UK are putting themselves at risk of hearing loss and tinnitus, both of which can be permanent.  

One in seven adults are affected by tinnitus – which is a condition that causes the perception of noise when there is no external source. There is currently no cure for the condition. 

Noise becomes a risk to hearing health at levels of 80dB or above. Riding noise levels vary, and are a combination of engine noise, road noise and wind turbulence but they are generally around 85-95 dB at speeds up to 35 mph, climbing to 110-116dB at 65mph. At these upper levels, damage can occur to hearing in less than one 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.” 

More information about noise exposure and hearing protection can be found here. Tinnitus UK’s team of trained advisers are able to offer help and support on 0800 018 0527 or via our live webchat.