Riding with headphones on, YES or NO? - ZX6R Forum
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post #1 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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Question Riding with headphones on, YES or NO?

I'm a newer rider less that 2 years
When I'm around town, I don't use my headphones unless I need GPS
But on the freeway, I always use them
Is this a bad habit that should be broken? If some guys recommend ear plugs, but what is the difference if they play music or not??
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post #2 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 06:49 AM
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Headphones add more noise to your ears in almost all cases.... that deafens you sooner. If you are young, you will not notice the effect to the same degree as you will later in life.

Wind noise on a motorcycle at speed is already above the point where sustained exposure will damage your hearing. if you add headphones, and turn the tunes up enough to hear them, you will have ringing, and potentially actual pain after exposure. Both should be an indicator that you are doing harm to your hearing.

Ear plugs generally reduce the amount of background noise which impacts your hearing. This typically does not have a lot of impact on the sound of horns and sirens. Simply reduces the fatigue your hearing suffers in a loud background noise level.

Active sound cancelling ear buds would be the best way to reduce damage to your hearing and listen to anything else at the same time.
Second best are sound isolating ear buds.
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"Basic stuff fellas. Use your head for something other than to break your next fall."

"There's this adage that we have 2 ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately with the Internet people have taken this old adage and turned it around. They have two eyes and 10 fingers so they think they need to post 5 times as much as they read. And since they have 10 fingers and one brain, they only have to think 10% of the time! "
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post #3 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 07:18 AM
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Pretty much all ear buds now are noise cancelling. If you're using those and have the volume low then I don't see it being a problem, but I would be more concerned about lowering your level of awareness than anything.
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post #4 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capitalcrew View Post
Pretty much all ear buds now are noise cancelling. If you're using those and have the volume low then I don't see it being a problem, but I would be more concerned about lowering your level of awareness than anything.
I'm always interested in active noise cancellation.... I have a set of active noise cancelling over the ear Bose headphones which make plane flights nearly pleasant. I'd like to do the same, with my helmet and have yet to find a setup that is convenient enough to warrant the expense.

Ear buds in general haven't worked out all that well for me, due to the cords... if my helmet fits right, the cords get pulled on as the helmet goes over my head. If the bud it tugged out of my ear, it can't work as intended and I have difficulty reaching it to set it up properly.

I only know of a couple of brands of buds, with active cancellation. Most use noise isolation (passive) -- blocking noise rather than removing it.

Because I haven't found an over the ear headphone I can integrate into my helmet, with active noise cancellation, I ride with foam ear plugs to reduce the overall amount of noise I get hammered by when riding.

Situational awareness is a trained thing.... I'm sure someone can make the argument that they can pay perfect attention when they have their jams blasting; me, I do best with less noise overall. There's enough music going on in my head already that I don't need an external source. Between my imagination, and the visceral soundtrack from the bike and the environment, I feel very little need for another distraction.
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"Basic stuff fellas. Use your head for something other than to break your next fall."

"There's this adage that we have 2 ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately with the Internet people have taken this old adage and turned it around. They have two eyes and 10 fingers so they think they need to post 5 times as much as they read. And since they have 10 fingers and one brain, they only have to think 10% of the time! "
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post #5 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 07:42 AM
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I got the two terms mixed together, you're right.

I don't think the music would reduce my level of situational awareness either I guess, it just removes one more form of input that you're able to convert into usable data. I listen to what is going on around me as much as I watch, so as much as I would love to listen to music while riding I will continue to skip it.
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post #6 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 08:27 AM
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Try using one earbud with music and the other without. I find that I can hear enough music with one ear to be satisfied. And I can hear sirens and cars with the other ear.
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post #7 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 08:29 AM
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If you find the right buds( low profile) and the ones that have the rubber plunger type, they stay put when you pull your helmet on. The cord runs down the neck and into the pocket that keeps the phone safe. The phone has the music on it.
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post #8 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 09:32 AM
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Bluetooth units work so much better. Worth it
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post #9 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 09:57 AM
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I find this to be a question one has already answered for themselves. If you need your tunes to 'get it on', this sort of person is a tough sell to do otherwise. I should note that when I get behind the steering wheel(s) of my car/truck the music has gotta be there. I'm a calmer driver. But not so on a bike.

Now don't get me wrong, I love music; I have a nice collection of guitars, amps, pedal boards, mics, rhythm instruments, etc. I have been a member of 'garage bands, jr./sr high school bands & choirs, as well as my college choir, and various church choirs throughout the years. Music is my 'other hobby', alongside motorbikes.

But I believe most would agree that skillfully riding a motorbike is vastly more challenging than piloting an automobile. Thus, I always ride with earplugs, but rarely if ever ride with earbuds. Again, the word is "skillfully", not merely parking one's butt on the saddle and stretching the throttle cables.

Over 4-decades of riding has proved to me, that more concentration is required to 'skillfully' pilot a sportbike, therefore earplugs. One will find that after a long day in the saddle sprint-touring, or doing a 100-miles at a trackday you will possess much greater ability to stay focused (no target fixation), and much more readily be able to absorb into "The Zone". This latter state-of-being simply is much more difficult to obtain. Of course, there are always exceptions.

Music robs pieces of your attention, and at 70mph, those are very large chunks of space-time continuum that is null & void from your brain, in my experience, too much time-space. Distractions pile up, one's vision narrows, and the sense that "... things are coming at you too fast... " start to multiply exponentially.

Anyone & everyone has the right to disagree. I have no problem with that. My opinions are formed from tens - maybe hundreds of thousands of miles; regular attendance at various trackday schools, and formerly having been an MSF instructor. "Your results may vary...."

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post #10 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 10:15 AM
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Off topic.
That's some nice gear. I personally have a 59 fender stratocastor

On topic.
I think earbuds are bad mainly for the reasons stated by everyone above me.

Being in the military I have a set of in ear ear defenders for shooting and I use them when riding as they filter out the harmful frequencies. If I want music/satnav when I'm riding I use an interphone in helmet speaker system coupled with my ear defenders so I get the best of both worlds

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post #11 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 10:30 AM
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I use ear plugs. Cuts down on wind and exhaust noise. I dont do headphones cause I like to hear whats goin on around me.
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post #12 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 10:34 AM
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To ZedEx's point, I cannot edit documents sitting at my PC, without some jams going..... I need the layer of 'white noise' which I am familiar with to drown out the office jibber jabber that goes on.

Jibber jabber wins, over reading documents. Can't have that. I put on some Rush, Tom Petty, Smashmouth, Joan Jett, Led Zeppelin, Bob Seger, etc., and get to work.

I ride to be enveloped in the experience. The more completely I get wrapped up in the ride, the more it fulfills that which thirsts.
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"Basic stuff fellas. Use your head for something other than to break your next fall."

"There's this adage that we have 2 ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately with the Internet people have taken this old adage and turned it around. They have two eyes and 10 fingers so they think they need to post 5 times as much as they read. And since they have 10 fingers and one brain, they only have to think 10% of the time! "
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post #13 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 11:04 AM
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Music calms the Beast. I am relaxed and focused when listening to tunes while riding. I am just as focused on the task while enjoying tunes. I have logged as many miles as most. I ride year round. Many, many miles. I ride fast and in control always. I did not always ride with music because I thought it would be a distraction. Many years without music. Now, I love riding with music. I am not distracted, just focused. Just like while working on a computer. White noise, it works and it is more enjoyable. I have proven it to myself. And I can be very hard headed.
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post #14 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 11:07 AM
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Rush for sure. Cygnus X1, Circumstances etc.
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post #15 of 37 Old 03-14-2017, 11:11 AM
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It would depend on the music, and my mood. If I am in a happy place, I tend to stay happy. Flowing.

If I am listening to moody, strident, staccato, thrashing stuff, I tend to ride angry. That's not a good place for me to be in the saddle. That leads me to short choppy inputs, and that upsets the chassis and traction.

"Basic stuff fellas. Use your head for something other than to break your next fall."

"There's this adage that we have 2 ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately with the Internet people have taken this old adage and turned it around. They have two eyes and 10 fingers so they think they need to post 5 times as much as they read. And since they have 10 fingers and one brain, they only have to think 10% of the time! "
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