To Ride and Not Go Deaf

For my mid-life crisis I chose to revisit the skill of driving motorcycle. If anyone is interested I secured a 2011 Kawasaki Versys 650, which makes me look vaguely like a street bike rider, only with classic rider posture which is far more sensible for my frame.

How does this pertain to audio? I had forgotten how hellishly noisy cycles are! My goodness, what a lovely way to go deaf! The wind noise is atrocious, and I can grasp why so many cyclists have hearing problems over time.

I'll do my best not to be one of them. I have been using those foam 32dB reduction ear plugs and have a full helmet, but still the noise is nasty. I've made the decision to seek the best in helmets with noise reduction and a good seal around the neck. Seems the Schuberth brand of Germany is excellent, if not inexpensive. It'll be worth every penny if it reduces the malestrom to tolerable levels. The snarl of the motor and the wind whipping my body is one sort of "music" I want getting nowhere near my ears! It looks like the pro version of Schuberth's C3 gets dBs down to about 82.

Any comments from Schuberth users or those insisting there is another even more worthy brand to consider when it comes to noise diminishing capability? (Yes, I did get a larger wind screen) I have done some searching on the net, now I would like your input.

Now I look at those motoring on the freeway without a helmet and I think not only, "You're dead if you wipe out," but also, "You're deaf, even if you don't wipe out!"

I'm looking for all wisdom in helping me to have a quiet ride so I can grow to a ripe old age (God willing) as an audiophile fulfilled. TIA
Now another reason not to ride a donor-cycle ;-) Seriously, National Institute for Occupational Safety says maximum exposure time is 16 hrs @ 82 dB but drops to 8 hrs @ 85 dB. So it seems that its probably a good idea to stop and give your ears a rest every few hours. OSHA has a more permissive standard but according to Etymotic, neither of these standards is protective of high frequency hearing. See their white paper here
Get the good helmet and also use the foam plugs. Wind noise will be around 58db. Plenty low enough to prevent problems.

I've ridden all my life but only started to use the plugs about half way through. Now I swear by them.
I use etymotic ear plugs when I go to live music events. They are relatively
cheap- under 15 bucks- and depending on how deeply you 'thread' them
into your ear canal, the degree of attenuation can be altered. I used to ride
and would not want to plug my ears with those standard foam plugs
because they mute too much- and I think it is good to hear what's going on
around you when driving or riding, even if it is over the noise of a loud
motor. I wonder to what degree any such plugs affect spatial perception,
since part of balance and knowing where you are comes from your ears.
Granted, a loud bike may overwhelm your hearing, but I don't think that
directly affects spatial perception. Not really an issue when sitting in a club.
FWIW, I'm considering a Morgan 3 wheeler, which is basically a big S & S
motor mounted sideways in front of a vintage style trike (2 wheels in front, 1
fatter tire in the back). I may have to consider using the E-plugs as well.
Ride safe. It is certainly one of the most exhilarating things you can do.
PS. I've had half a dozen mid-life crises so far- they can be enjoyable, and
make for change/adventure.
PPS- can a change in exhaust muffler help? Some bikes, e.g. BMWs, don't
sound nearly as loud as many others. (Maybe it's the boxer engine, dunno).
What I don't get is the full dressers with the stereo blasting at amazingly loud levels. It's good to read your posts about actually trying to protect your hearing as opposed to destroying it.