By Richard Ellin, MD, FACP
Question: Love the site! Keep up the good work. My question is: I have some nerve damage in my ears and wind noise can be bothersome at times. I sometimes wear foam ear plugs but was wondering if any other alternatives are available. Thanks in advance. — Steve A.
Dr. Richard Ellin Responds: Here are some thoughts from one of my Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) colleagues regarding how to manage wind noise when one has some hearing loss:
If Steve has sensorineural hearing loss (the most common type, associated with aging or loud noise exposure), this often causes recruitment, which is an amplification of noise, especially high-pitched noise.
Steve might try musicians’ earplugs, which can be obtained from an audiologist who dispenses hearing aids. These will dial down the sound like a volume control, but still give him sound fidelity. That would allow him to still hear road noise as well while riding.
My ENT colleague also checked with an audiologist he works with, who provided the following advice:
He could also look into getting earplugs that are developed for motorcyclists. They are specific for wind noise but would still allow awareness of traffic and voices. Westone is the company we use, and they have a great website. He would need to work with an audiologist to get an impression of his ears (they are custom fit), but they would be a safe solution.
Richard Ellin, MD, FACP, is a board-certified specialist in Internal Medicine who practices in Alpharetta, Georgia. He received his medical degree and completed residency at Emory University, and has been in practice with Kaiser Permanente for 26 years. He is also an avid cyclist.
Next Article: Why is My Cadence Higher on the Trainer?
Casey K says
I have used Cat-Ears for several years and suggest giving them a try. They attach to your helmet straps and are surprisingly effective. I have no association with the company – I just like the product!
Several of our group always wear Ear Pops, https://www.earpops.com/product/bandless-ear-muffs-earpops
They greatly reduce the wind noise. We wear them all summer too.
My cycling buddy uses something similar to “Cat-Ears,” They are easy to make yourself with some fake fur purchased at a fabric store, I even made him a pair.
Leon Webster says
I am an old guy who got to hear all the good bands but now has to wear hearing aids. My hearing aids were expensive but they have some advantages for cycling. They have various profiles, that one can use, and I constructed one that favors sounds from the rear. This cuts down on wind noise and still lets me hear sounds of traffic and riders behind me. The second advantage is that they can use blue tooth pairing to connect to my iPhone. I some times use Ride With GPS routes that are downloaded to my iPhone, and I get the verbal cues through my hearing aids. This is more understandable to me than when I have the phone in my jersey pocket and use the phone speakers.
Annelle Beall says
Thanks for this. I recently obtained hearing aids, but I haven’t had a chance to ride yet. My concern was 1) wind noise, and 2) using with GPS. I feel hopeful, now, that this will be a positive experience.
Kevin Bersch says
I also recommend Cat Ears. My brother used to remove his hearing aids when riding because of wind noise. Since we all started wearing Cat Ears he says the wind noise is no longer bothersome.
David Keller says
I use a small ball of cotton. It let me hear quite well but still gets rid of the wind noise.
Edward Rubinstein says
I have hearing loss in one ear probably from doing first aid at too many rock concerts. I wear my hearing aid while riding. I also use a skullcap under my helmet (hair loss too). I just tug one side of the skull cap over the hearing aid and wind noise is not an issue.