Photo credit: Sourav Mishra from Pexels

by Jan L. Mayes, MSc, Audiologist

Boss Magazine has unfortunately shared how to add speaker systems to motorcycles. The idea is to set “a whole different mood” by playing music loud enough to hear over the loud exhaust pipes. There are likely a number of reasons why this is a bad idea, but I’ll stick to noise.

Motorcycle sound levels alone are considered a noise risk to auditory health, even without considering road and wind noise while riding. Some motorcycles are quieter. Federally approved exhausts have been required for decades, and other models also meet stricter European noise standards. But the rider’s auditory health risk will obviously be greater if they add speaker systems to play loud music.

What bothers me most is the imposed secondhand music. In my neighborhood, people riding by on motorcycles are already setting a different mood by playing their music through handlebar mounted speaker systems. I don’t want to hear their loud audio while I’m trying to enjoy my yard or talk to a neighbor.

It’s frustrating because there are bluetooth speaker systems that can be used inside motorcycle helmets. This includes motorcycle hearing protection that is bluetooth compatible. The rider can easily listen to their music without causing secondhand noise pollution as they ride by. Even electric motorcycles won’t be so quiet if the rider installs a speaker system.

I don’t understand why people keep finding new ways to make things louder. Motorcycles with non-approved or modified exhaust systems are illegal. Similar noise standards could stop modified speaker systems on motorcycles from causing more unhealthy pollution.

Jan L. Mayes is an international Eric Hoffer Award winning author in Non-Fiction Health. She is also a science enthusiast and newly retired audiologist still specializing in noise, tinnitus-hyperacusis, and hearing health. You can read more of Jan’s work at her site, www.janlmayes.com.