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Motorcycle noise reaches dangerous levels

Posted - Sep. 1, 2004 at 2:40 p.m.



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GAINESVILLE, Fla., Sep 01, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- University of Florida researchers Wednesday said the noise generated by motorcycles can reach levels that can damage hearing.

Tests of 33 motorcycles, the audiologists said, showed nearly half produced sounds above 100 decibels when throttled up -- about equal to a chainsaw or rock concert.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has reported noise at 100 decibels is safe for only 15 minutes and permanent hearing loss can occur with longer exposure to noise above 85 decibels.

"Almost all of the motorcycles we tested reached action-level noise, which in the workplace would require ear protection," wrote researcher Joy Colle. "The loudest bike we tested measured 119 decibels with the engine revved."

At 119 decibels, the safe exposure level is only 11 seconds.

For motorcyclists, while helmets do not provide protection against noise, an inexpensive set of ear plugs will do the job.

The researchers are using the data to develop an online database so people can view decibel levels by make and model of motorcycle.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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