Wind noise and bikes. On the verge of giving up riding.

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Alexander B, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. royal

    royal Been here awhile

    Oct 21, 2009
    Amherst, NH
    I recently traded in a 2016 BMW RT for a 2018 Goldwing. I installed an F4 aftermarket windshield, based on recommendations from a Wing forum. I think it actually is a bit quieter with smoother airflow than my RT, which is saying something because, as others have mentioned, the RT was very quiet.
  2. longjt

    longjt Long timer

    Oct 14, 2009
    The hexhead RTs were noticeably quieter than waterheads just from the engine noise/exhaust note standpoint. I do like to ride with the windscreen totally retracted at times, and on my new β€˜18 I am starting to get tinnitus again. Damn.
  3. t90125

    t90125 n00b

    Dec 19, 2016
    My "solution" (sort of) was to sell my Kawasaki Versys and buy a Yamaha MT-09 SP (naked bike). I also bought a HJC RPHA 70 helmet to replace my noisy Shark helmet. Everything is much quieter now than with the Versys + Shark combo. No turbulent air at all. Sadly, since developing 24/7 tinnitus in 2006 my ears seem to have become extremely sensitive to noise, and even a 1hr ride gives me a few days of louder tinnitus despite correctly wearing good earplugs. I get this even from a longer ride on a bicycle! I'm afraid that in my case, it's a battle I can't win. At the moment I'm still not ready to give up riding, but it is something I seriously consider now and then when the tinnitus gets me down. It's a shame the Sena noise cancelling helmets apparently aren't much good at higher speeds.
    Alexander B likes this.
  4. Mobiker

    Mobiker Long timer Supporter

    Apr 22, 2003
    Everybody is different, but something doesn't sound quite right. I know you said you're wearing the plugs correctly, and I don't want to insult you, but maybe you're not. Or maybe you need t experiment with different plugs. Maybe you have. I just say all this, because, in my case, once I started wearing ear plugs properly and using only a small windscreen, I can say that my tinnitus doesn't seem to have gotten much worse in many years. I started getting tinnitus in my twenties and belatedly started wearing ear plugs around 30. I'm almost 59 now. Ears ring all the time, but I can still hear better than most my friends. Anyway, just food for thought.
  5. t90125

    t90125 n00b

    Dec 19, 2016
    Thanks for the tips & no insult taken :) Glad to hear your tinnitus hasn't worsened over the years. I have experimented with quite a few plugs, and Howard Leight Max are the best I've tried so far when it comes to comfort and noise reduction. I am wearing the plugs correctly, they are not hanging out my ear canals (as can often be seen) but fully inserted into the canal as instructed. These days I protect my hearing religiously.
  6. loony888

    loony888 Been here awhile

    Feb 5, 2011

    At 51 i have suffered Tinnitus for a while, the techniques shown in the video have helped, it might help others, no way of knowing without giving it a go.

    For those who are flippant about the condition it's quite serious, it causes anxiety and depression and my father tried Suicide because of it, if you're hearing is good, protect it, i wouldn't wish it on anyone.
    Enjoy what you love, we all love bikes, but respect your body and wear ear plugs, wind noise in even the best helmet for a sustained period of time will cause damage, and as others have said, once your hearing is gone it's gone, going deaf is annoying for you and everyone around you, enduring tinnitus is a lonely misery.
    dtysdalx2, Don03st and cplus like this.
  7. 9mm

    9mm Been here awhile

    Apr 18, 2006
    "Southeast of Disorder"
    I have tinnitus. I have watched several of this type videos. However, the above video reminds me of the sound a duck makes. Quack Quack.
    Pabst likes this.
  8. x_hog_ridr

    x_hog_ridr Been here awhile Supporter

    Jan 23, 2008
    Hypoluxo, Florida

    You might want to try these:

    These are the only ones that really block all of the noise for me. I wear them on the bike, while my wife is snoring and while at church and any loud place.
    Might be worth a shot. I too suffer from tinnitus and will do anything to keep it from getting worse.
  9. cplus

    cplus Been here awhile

    Jan 17, 2011
    The Town of Friendy People, YFFs
    It’s been almost a year since I chimed in on this thread. Despite wearing ear protection religiously whenever I ride, shoot or do anything else that involves much noise, my tinnitus grew significantly louder back in December. It is now an omnipresent layer of white noise, like a constant static hash over all I hear.

    I dropped out of the pistol league I was shooting in and am painfully aware that every ride β€” even with ear plugs β€” is further damaging my hearing.

    Moral of the story? Like @loony888 said, enjoy the hobbies you love but protect your hearing. Once you have tinnitus, it never goes away and it never gets better.

    CROSSBOLT Been here awhile

    Sep 4, 2018
    Hillville, TN
    One thing to consider is 75 is pretty fast. There is a lot of turbulence that makes noise. Drag increases with the square of the speed increase. I am guessing the noise does, too. Biggest source of wind noise is helmet design. But you said many different helmets, ear plugs and scarves and no decent noise level. You are right: you need to drive a car! Seriously, maybe you need to try a maxi-scooter like a Burgman. The machine noise is way quieter than any motorcycle.
  11. djorkaef

    djorkaef n00b

    Feb 16, 2020
    Have to agree on so many people here: it is not about not knowing how to insert ear plugs!
    A tinnitus patient knows better then most how to insert an earplug and which plugs are the best for him.
    They are not just little cry babies that should drive a car or go to a doctor.

    For me, the best plugs are the 3M 1100 and the 3M EarSoft FX, they both have SNR ratings above 37db.
    Once I almost went to the hospital because I could not get the FX out, they were so deep that I could not reach anymore and little pieces broke off using my nails.
    So I know how to insert them. I also got custom molded plugs, they are expensive but they are not even close to the reduction of the foam 3M's.
    These custom molded plugs should be tested for leaks every year and the ear canal changes through the years, creating leaks. Even moving your jaw can create a leak.
    Don't have that issue with foam.

    On my latest summer weekend trip I changed 3 things which made my tinnitus explode for 3 weeks after the ride.
    - used 3M 3300 plugs instead of some cheap green ones I got for free, this surely was not the issue. I rode 15 minutes with the custom molded but then asked everybody to stop because I wanted the 3M back.
    - used a fully closed 'expensive' helmet instead of my open helmet
    - used a Darts Flyscreen instead of pure naked
    I was hoping these 3 adjustments would reduce the noise, but it must have increased it a lot because it was the first time a motorcycle weekend caused me to visit a doctor.
    And the doctor said: your ears are fine. MR scan was fine.

    After that ride I promised myself I would never ride again without fixing that noise issue.
    So now I am looking for a new motorcycle or a windscreen solution or other ways.
    Things I wrote down from this topic, for what it's worth:

    - Fully naked bike is preferred above small/medior windscreen
    - Closed helmet can create more noise than an open helmet
    - Bikes with electronically adjustable wind screens are very good

    - Stop turbulance from entering the helmet: Windjammer, mesh chin curtain, wind stopper chin curtain
    - Good helmets for noise reduction: Schuberth S1Pro helmet, Schuberth C3 Pro

    - BMW R1200RT +++ (this seems to be the king)
    - BMW R1200GSA
    - BMW K1200LT
    - BMW R1200RT-LC
    - BMW S1000XR + Arai XD4

    - Triumph Trophy 1200

    - Yamaha FJR1300
    - Yamaha FZ8N
    - Yamaha MT09
    - Kawa Z900
    - 2012 Suzuki VStrom 650 + Givi Airflow
    - first generation V-Strom 650
    - Suzuki c50 + Harley fork winglets

    - Madstad windscreens are very good at reducing noise at any type of bike
    - Z Technik screen also a good one
  12. Pabst

    Pabst Been here awhile

    Oct 20, 2014
    Have you tried riding a louder bike so you don't hear the noise?

    I had ringing in my ears for about three months last year, driving me crazy, I have no idea how it went away but yesterday I sat down after work and had it come on strong after eating chocolate and drinking coffee, maybe that or just the way I turned my head to look at the laptop on the arm of my chair.:confused It's gone today. I use these, they are comfortable for me and the string makes them harder to lose. When I stop I just tuck the plugs into my collar and they're still there around my neck when I get going again. I can still hear music with my Cardo with these in, just gets rids of wind noise.

    BluegrassPicker likes this.
  13. talreli

    talreli n00b

    Feb 23, 2013
    Central NJ
    Pabst likes this.
  14. Dan Alexander

    Dan Alexander still alive and well

    Nov 8, 2003
  15. st3ryder

    st3ryder Been here awhile

    Jan 27, 2012
    Tinnitus is, afaik, and being a person who's lived with it all his life, a brain signal to the ears to replace what the brain perceives as a loss of the ability to hear certain frequencies, so it makes them up in the ear on its own. Distractions, like in the above video, can be helpful to a point and at some times. Lowering caffeine intake, sleeping with some background sound and of course protecting your ears are helpful too. It's a condition that can be manged, but not cured IMO.
    mtncrawler and Matt-J2 like this.
  16. Daboo

    Daboo Been here awhile

    Jun 6, 2011
    FWIW, 3M's website lists the 3M 1100 at -29 db and the 3M EarSoft FX at -33db. I don't think anyone makes a earplug that will reduce noise at 37db.

    Pabst, those earplugs are only -25db. Noise is measured on a logarithmic scale, not a linear scale. The point being that you can hear the difference between an earplug that attenuates at -30 db and -33 db. They are not as close as the numbers seem to indicate. There are other earplugs with a cord that will work better than those.

    I'm always puzzled by noise cancellation earplugs like the Bose QuietComfort 20. They make their claims...but I see nothing indicating how much noise they can actually cancel. I have no idea whether they just work great for the music quality, or whether they'd keep my ears from losing their hearing or from getting tinnitus.

  17. djorkaef

    djorkaef n00b

    Feb 16, 2020
    You are confusing SNR rating with NRR rating. I said the SNR rating is over 37db.
    Earsoft FX really has SNR -39db, see
    3M 1100 is -37 db SNR
    Please tell me which ones???? I have been looking after stronger plugs for years, adding a cord will surely not help reducing sound. There is no plug or anything with an SNR over -39db.
    The only thing you can do is add earmufs to earplugs, but those surely don't fit underneath a helmet.

    It is a European SNR vs US NRR rating system, different official benchmarking tests.
    As a general rule, you must divide that rating by 2 to have a real world value. Or even less then that:
    Let's say it still blocks 15-20db.

    At highway speeds, noise can get 105-120db.
    At 100 kilometres per hour (63 miles per hour) sound levels range between 103 dB and 116 dB.

    That means if you are doing a highway section, you are exposed to about 85-100db for several hours continuously, even when having these plugs in perfectly.
    That is a problem for tinnitus patients. And not even just for tinnitus patients.
    Anything above 80db can cause permanent damage when exposed for long times.

    Sound Pressure Level Sound pressure Permissible Exposure Time
    115 dB 11.2 Pa 0.46875 minutes (~30 sec)
    112 dB 7.96 Pa 0.9375 minutes (~1 min)
    109 dB 5.64 Pa 1.875 minutes (< 2 min)
    106 dB 3.99 Pa 3.75 minutes (< 4 min)
    103 dB 2.83 Pa 7.5 minutes
    100 dB 2.00 Pa 15 minutes
    97 dB 1.42 Pa 30 minutes
    94 dB 1.00 Pa 1 hour
    91 dB 0.71 Pa 2 hours
    88 dB 0.50 Pa 4 hours
    85 dB 0.36 Pa 8 hours
    82 dB 0.25 Pa 16 hours

    I hear positive reviews about the Bose noise canceling a lot in this thread, but I wonder if that is actually used by tinnitus patients or just by people that like music on the road.
    I would be surprised if those can cancel out -15db.
    I also wonder if these would fit underneath a helmet without putting pressure on the ears after hours. If so, it might be a good idea to combine foam + Bose.

    Things that make it temporarily worse in my experience: salt, coffee, sugar, sport, exposure to loudnes
    Daboo likes this.
  18. MATTY


    Jun 23, 2014
    England On the Scotish border
    Quietest bikes are naked anything with no fairings on it of any kind. Best with fairing have been Tiger 800xcx and old Sprint sport 900 1990s , but Naked bikes are the way to go for long distance riding. Helmets i can only sujest what i use Bell star from 70s AGV ago from the 70s and three more recent AGVs and an LS2 enduro helmet. best out of those is the AGVs or the bell star. Wear a scarf.
  19. dtysdalx2

    dtysdalx2 Knowledge is horsepower...

    Aug 1, 2004
    Moneyapolis, MN
    Tinnitus really has got more annoying the last month for me. Boy, you aren't kidding it can suck. Got the Lipoflavinoid pills and they help a little. I take the blue pill with Melatonin before I go to bed and it helps.

    Too bad it's another one of those things you don't think much about until it's too late. :umph

    I'd give up riding in a minute to keep the big eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee noise down.
    DOGBRETH and Matt-J2 like this.
  20. Beemer Dood

    Beemer Dood Been here awhile

    Jul 24, 2015
    Los Angeles, Ca

    I'm a firearms instructor and I have almost never had a student, of any level, who knew how to properly insert foam ear plugs. I've been on hundreds of group rides and have NEVER come across even one rider who knew how to properly insert them. So I'll have to disagree with you, for many if not most who are using foam ear plugs, it IS about "not knowing how to insert" them.

    If he's been diagnosed, I'll agree. But absent that diagnosis, many if not most, DO NOT KNOW how to properly insert them.

    I've not read all the posts here, but I've certainly not made such a statement.

    Are we concerned with SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) ratings here? Or is NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) what's important?

    I'm gonna have to go with the obvious. Foam ear plugs should not be inserted "so deep that [the wearer can] not reach" them for removal. If they are, they have not been inserted properly. And so it seems that knowing how to PROPERLY insert them is vital.

    Based on your last statement, I'll disagree.

    Some of them are.

    Apples and oranges. Foamies are tossed (well they should be) after a few uses. That might be every day if you're removing them at every stop, and they are subject to "leaks" every time they're inserted. And with MANY users, "moving your jaw CAN create a leak."

    Given that so few people know how to properly insert the foamies, even some who think they know how, custom molded plugs are a good option for many. Replacing them annually is a small price. How often do you change your oil?

    Using hearing pro when riding is a compromise. You don't want to stop ALL the noise. You want to be able to hear the sound of horns, engine noises (your own and those of cars around you) and many other sounds.

    I suggest filters, rather than plugs. They reduce the harmful noises but still allow some noises, radio, music, car horns, etc., through.

    Two brands of top rated filters are NoNoise and Ear Peace.