Research has shown that wind noise from cycling can reach levels that may put cyclists at a greater risk for hearing loss.
Wind Noise Can Damage Hearing
Any sound over 85 dB has the potential to cause noise-induced hearing loss. The louder the sound the less time it takes for damage to occur. While you might not think of bike riding as a terribly loud activity, the wind noise coupled with speed can reach volumes that may be harmful.
A study published in 2017 that looked at wind noise and cycling found that wind noise increased with speed and ranged from 84.9 dB at 10 mph and reached as high as 120.3 dB at 60 mph, which is the speed of a professional cyclist racing downhill.
While most cyclists don’t reach professional level speeds, going 10-15 mph on flat terrain is common for even an average cyclist.
How to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss from Cycling
These findings do not mean you have to give up your bike rides through the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. However, you may want to invest in wind noise reducer equipment that can attach to your helmet and help protect your ears. You can also contact your medical provider or an audiologist and ask what kind of hearing protection devices they would recommend.
Do not use earplugs while riding a bike. Though they can protect your ears they also can make it difficult to hear sounds like oncoming traffic, which jeopardizes your safety and the safety of others.
How Do You Know if You Have Hearing Loss?
If you are concerned that cycling may have already impacted your hearing, you should schedule an appointment for a hearing test as soon as possible.
Because hearing loss can happen gradually and may go unnoticed at first, it’s important to be aware of the early signs. These can include:
- You struggle to follow conversations, especially in places with background noise
- You find yourself needing to turn up the volume on the TV more than you used to
- You ask people to repeat themselves frequently
- Others have commented on your hearing
The sooner you get your hearing problems evaluated, the better. In most cases of hearing loss, your audiologist will recommend customized hearing aids. They will work with you to find the right pair to maximize your hearing ability.
If you would like additional information or wish to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call Massachusetts Hearing Group today.