It’s hard to pay attention to your surroundings and enjoy the scenery on your motorcycle with the pelting sound of wind hitting your eardrums. We’ve all experienced this, but it’s incredibly simple to remedy.
So how do you reduce noise in your motorcycle helmet? There are a few simple ways to get this done quickly and easily:
- Check to see if the helmet fits properly
- Wear earplugs or earmuffs
- Position yourself differently on the bike
- Add in some extra padding
- Wear a scarf
- Close the visor
- Add a windscreen spoiler
- Buy a quieter helmet
While these methods will never eliminate the wind and road noise, they will help reduce it and make it less of a distraction to you. In the rest of the article, we cover each noise reduction method in extensive detail, so let’s get into it!
Reducing Noise in Your Motorcycle Helmet
You’re likely here for one of the following reasons. One, the noise inside your helmet has become so overbearing that you don’t even enjoy riding your bike anymore. Two, it’s a nuisance, but it’s not so terrible that you’re at your wit’s end.
Regardless of where you stand, there are a few reasons why you might want to reduce the noise in your helmet.
Constant exposure to high decibel noise without ear protection can cause hearing damage. At around 63 miles per hour, you can experience sound levels ranging from 103 dB to 116 dB. It’s interesting, but many riders don’t think that the noise is a problem or a safety hazard when they consider riding.
In reality, wearing a helmet protects you from obvious dangers, but it doesn’t do much for your hearing. Studies have shown that a helmet only reduces the noise by as much as 5 dB. Wearing proper hearing protection is essential to your health and longevity on your motorcycle.
Now, let’s talk about how we can reduce those decibels and keep your hearing safe from road and wind noise.
Check the Fit on Your Helmet
When you purchase a new helmet, the first thing you’ll do is see if it fits properly. This is clearly important for safety and comfort. You want to make sure the helmet fits right so it won’t fall off in the event of an accident. Having any space between your head and the padding of the helmet is a safety hazard.
In addition to safety, you’re also looking to see if the helmet feels comfortable. The size of the helmet and the shape should fit well, not create any pressure points, and you shouldn’t feel squeezed either.
When it comes to wind noise, you want to make sure that the helmet doesn’t create too many gaps or openings where wind can access your ears. Of course, there are holes for your ears on the helmet, but they should be as small as possible, and there shouldn’t be a direct path to your ears through the bottom of the helmet.
Ensure plenty of padding around your ears so you can limit the amount of wind that moves through to your ears. The best-case scenario is when you find a helmet that has padding on all four sides of your ears.
Earplugs – A Simple Solution
The simplest and possibly most effective way to reduce wind noise while riding is to wear a pair of earplugs. Put earplugs in your ears, and you can expect to have a noise reduction of as much as 18 dB. When you pair that with your helmet, you’re experiencing roughly 23 dB of noise reduction, which is certainly enough to protect your hearing and also to create a better riding experience.
The best earplugs are silicone or wax. These fit your ears perfectly because you can mold them to the shape of your ears and insert them into the opening without having to put them inside your ears. They stay in place as well. One problem I’ve always had is keeping earplugs in while riding due to bumps and bounces, but the wax option is a great solution.
Earmuffs Have a Dual Purpose
Earmuffs are a great choice when you’re riding in the cold weather, but they also help to reduce wind noise. There are companies out there that sell earmuffs designed explicitly for wearing inside motorcycle helmets. They have a dual purpose of reducing noise and helping keep your ears warm.
If you decide to purchase earmuffs or use ones you already have, make sure they fit properly inside the helmet and don’t push too hard on your ears.
It’s important that you still hear noises for your own safety, so you don’t want to plug your ears and block everything out completely. The goal should be to keep them warm and reduce the noise as much as you can while still remaining safe.
Position Yourself Differently
One thing that many people misunderstand is what creates the road noise. It’s actually the vibrations of the bike on the road that generates the noise. So, if you eliminate the vibration, you can eliminate the noise.
A great way to limit the vibrations you experience is to make sure your whole body is on the padded part of your bike. If any portion of you is resting on the metal, you will create vibrations through the bike, which will heighten the amount of road and wind noise you experience.
Get Some Extra Neck Padding
Here are a few things to understand:
- Noise can access the helmet through your neck
- Even if you have padding around your ears, it might not help
- Even if the helmet fits perfectly, you might still experience noise
So, with those points in mind – we need to add some padding around the neck. This is the area where the noise gets in, so you want to look for a helmet that has plenty of padding around here. If you’re trying to customize your current helmet to reduce noise, then you’ll want to seal any area around the neck where the wind is getting in.
You can purchase padding on your own, you can stuff some padding in there, but I would recommend doing a good job right off the bat and glue some additional pads around the neck.
Keep in mind that modifying a motorcycle helmet can change its effect during an accident, so don’t do anything too extreme and consider consulting with a professional before making any serious modifications.
Stuff Your Helmet
If you’re looking for a simple and cheap solution to the problem, you could take some foam and stuff it into the helmet’s ear holes. Measure it out, cut the foam, and squeeze it so you can fit it in place. As the foam expands, it will fill in any holes or gaps where wind might get in. You can choose to leave it there permanently or remove it after each ride, depending on where you’re going.
Most riders don’t mind the wind noise unless they’re riding on a major interstate or highway. Many of the high dB noise we’re speaking of only occurs at speeds of 60mph and higher.[Related Article: Soundproofing A Car In 4 Simple Steps]
Use a Scarf
As I said, wind accesses your ears through the neck part of the helmet. This area is where the biggest gap is, so it’s the easiest point where wind can work its way up, and with every vibration of the bike, you’re creating small gaps in between the padding where the wind accesses your eardrums.
One way to remedy this is with a scarf. You can wear it all the way up along your neck so the wind can’t get in with the scarf in the way. It’s acting as a shield, and if it’s bulky enough and fits properly, you shouldn’t have to worry about wind noise getting in.
Make sure that if you choose this method, you find a scarf that will fit correctly, stay on, and not require constant adjustments while you’re riding. It will become more of a hazard to you if you need to continually adjust the scarf instead of paying attention to the road.
Keep the Visor Closed
This tip is more so a given than an applicable thing. I would hope if you’re trying to reduce wind noise, you’ve already thought about closing your visor. If you haven’t, well, here you go! The fewer access points the wind has to your ears, the better. The more you can seal yourself off from the road, the less you’ll hear.
In addition to keeping the visor closed, many visors come with ear covers that you can use. You can buy a specific screen with the cover that will extend back to the ear opening on the side of the helmet. These work great together at reducing wind noise.
Use a Windscreen Spoiler If Necessary
This tip is a two-parter. Many people know that a windscreen is a double-edged sword. While yes, it does help reduce wind noise if you’re behind the screen; once you stick your head up above that screen, the noise will be ten times worse than it would be without the screen. For that reason, I recommend getting an extension.
They sell windscreen adjustments and spoilers that you can use to extend the amount of wind protection you have without obstructing your vision. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s like a sun visor protecting your eyes from the sun. Here you’re flipping the spoiler up to create an additional barrier.
The most important thing to remember here is that it needs to fit properly. If the spoiler doesn’t fit right, it will create extra vibration, which will result in more noise and aggravation.
Purchase a Quieter Helmet
Here’s a solution for you! When all else fails, throw it away and try again. Many companies sell quiet motorcycle helmets that already have a lot of these tips and tricks factored in, so you don’t have to modify anything or worry about during further damage.
In some cases, this is the smarter solution, and if you can afford it, I would suggest buying a new helmet that comes with some of these noise reduction features.
It’s on You Now
You’ve seen the hacks and the tips, but now it’s your decision where you go from here. It’s essential to protect your hearing not only for your health but for your ability to ride for years to come. Take this seriously and give some of these tips a try.
If it’s not working out for you, consider purchasing a newer, quieter helmet.