Originally Posted by neo1piv014
As a fairly young guy who actually has noticed a little bit of hearing damage since I started riding a few years ago, I definitely second this. I ride with tight fitting ear buds in when I'm on long trips or commuting, though I'm sure they're not helping as much as real plugs would. Do you ride with any kind of music/sound system in your helmet? If I didn't have music and podcasts, I'm not sure I'd ever use my bike to commute.
This is a common question. Guys think riding with ear buds they are OK ... and they are partly right! You are protecting your hearing from low frequency wind damage.
BUT ... if you crank up the Tunes ... this will also take a toll on your hearing over time.
At speed we tend to listen LOUDer and LOUDer as the day goes on ... and we've all read the studies about the Japanese teenagers going deaf from listening to their Walkman/Nano too LONG and too LOUD. Tens of thousands affected in Japan.
With hearing damage its not just db levels ... it's duration of the abuse and proximity or source of the sound to your ear drum. Ear buds are in close proximity to your ear drum ... and more worrisome ... they SEAL up your ear canal providing NO venting ...which is critical to prevent damage. Loud Ear Buds inserted ALL THE WAY IN ... really can hammer your ear drums when cranked up to max.
In my industry very few use Ear Buds for this reason. We use open air headphones ... and take them off for loud transients or gun shots.
If you listen riding ... try to keep the volume down. Over time you'll get used to a lower level.