Motorcycle helmets hard on hearing
Motorcycle helmets, while protecting bikers' brains, may also be contributing to hearing loss. Scientists mapped the airflow and noise patterns to find out why. The distinctive roar of a Harley's engine is loud, but studies have revealed the biggest source of noise for motorcyclists is actually generated by air whooshing over the riders' helmets. Even at legal speeds, the sound can exceed safe levels. Now, scientists have identified a key source of the rushing din. Researchers from the University of Bath and Bath Spa University placed motorcycles helmets atop mannequin heads, mounted them in a wind tunnel, and turned on the fans. By placing microphones at different locations around the helmet and at the mannequin's ear, the researchers found that an area underneath the helmet and near the chin bar is a significant source of the noise that reaches riders' sensitive eardrums. The team also investigated how helmet angle and wind speed affected the loudness. Future tests will move beyond the wind tunnel to real-life riders on the open road. The findings, described in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, may one day be used to design quieter helmets, saving riders' ears for the enjoyment of hard biker rock, the researchers say.
Source: American Institute of Physics
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- New technique takes cues from astronomy and ophthalmology to sharpen microscope images
- Declining catch rates in Caribbean green turtle fishery may be result of overfishing
- Wolves at the door: Study finds recent wolf-dog hybridization in Caucasus region
- Tamiflu & Relenza: How effective are they?
- Lashing out at your spouse? Check your blood sugar
- Criticism of violent video games has decreased as technology has improved, gamers age
- Hummingbirds' 22-million-year-old history of remarkable change is far from complete
- Ancient 'spider' images reveal eye-opening secrets
- New research finds 'geologic clock' that helps determine moon's age
- Research clarifies health costs of air pollution from agriculture