Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Hearing loss and motorcyclists

  • Andrew W. McCombe (a1), Jonathan Binnington (a2), Adrian Davis (a3) and Helen Spencer (a3)

Motorcyclists are known to be exposed to excessive wind noise levels when riding. The potential adverse effects of this exposure on their hearing was investigated. Temporary threshold shift (TTS) was assessed by asking 18 riders to undertake a standard test run of one hour at a steady 80 mph, and performing audiometry before and immediately afterwards. Permanent threshold shift (PTS) was assessed by performing pure-tone audiograms on a highly screened group of 246 motorcyclists and comparing their hearing thresholds with those of an appropriate control group obtained from the MRC National Study of Hearing.

Significant TTS was found at 0.25, 0.5,1 and 2 kHz. The greatest TTS occurred at 1 kHz, with a mean hearing loss of 10.3 dB. The hearing thresholds of the motorcyclists were significantly worse than the controls at 0.25, 0.5, 1 and 2 kHz, andwas most marked at 0.5 and 1 kHz where their hearing loss (PTS) was, respectively, 3.7 and 3.6 dB greater than expected.

These findings demonstrate evidence of both temporary and permanent hearing loss from motorcycling and present a strong argument for the need for some form of remedial action.

Corresponding author
Mr A. W. McCombe, Department of Otolaryngology, Frimley Park Hospital, Portsmouth Road, Frimley, Surrey GU16 5UJ.
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Anon (1981) Recommended procedures for pure tone audiometry using a manually operated instrument. British Journal of Audiology 15: 213216.

A. C. Davis (1989) The prevalence of hearing impairment and reported hearing disability among adults in Great Britain. International Journal of Epidemiology 18(4): 911917.

N. M. Lalande , J. Lambert , L. Riverin (1988) Quantification of the psychosocial disadvantages experienced by workers in a noisy industry and their nearest relatives: perspectives for rehabilitation. Audiology 27: 196206.

A. W. McCombe , J. Binnington , T. S. McCombe (1993b) Hearing protection for motorcyclists, Clinical Otolaryngology 18: 465469.

A. W. McCombe , J. Binnington , D. Nash (1994) Two solutions to the problem of noise exposure for motorcyclists. Occupational Medicine 44: 239242.

W. K. Van Moorhem , K. P. Shepherd , T. D. Magleby , G. E. Torian (1981) The effects of motorcycle helmets on hearing and the detection of warning signals. Journal of Sound and Vibration 77: 3949.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 5 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 97 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.