Experience the thrill of motorcycle riding while staying safe! Wearing a helmet may offer protection, but the wind noise can certainly still make for an annoying ride that can be loud enough to cause hearing loss.
Discover how to make your helmet quieter for a comfortable and secure ride.
For the quietest ride with a motorcycle helmet, buy a full-face helmet that fits you well, and add a balaclava or earplugs. If it’s not too hot, close of the helmet’s openings like the air vents & add a windshield.
Read on for more options & why these things help for quieter motorcycling adventures.
What Makes Motorcycle Helmets Loud?
Noise is one of many reasons why many riders feel uncomfortable wearing motorcycle helmets and eventually ditch them. The noise of the engine, the traffic, & the occasional horn-honking is obvious noise even if you’re not wearing a helmet, but some things make the experience in a helmet louder.
The sound of air being displaced inside the helmet, around your head, especially if you are wearing a full-face helmet, can reach up to 115DB – which is not only uncomfortable but also damaging.
Did you know the design of the helmet can make it louder or quieter. Helmets with more vents or openings tend to be louder, as air can flow through them and create more noise from more air.
While modular helmets are nice because you can flip up the chin for a quick drink or just a break, but a full-face helmet has less breaks in the design which can serve as additional air vents essentially even if not much.
The type of material used in the helmet’s construction can also affect noise levels. Hard materials can reflect sound waves more effectively than softer materials, which can absorb sound.
The fit of your helmet can also play a role in how loud it is. Helmets that are too loose can allow wind to flow through the helmet and create more noise as it bounces around, but you definitely don’t want to wear a helmet that’s too tight.
Finally, the speed at which the motorcycle is traveling can affect helmet noise. As the speed increases, so does the amount of wind noise generated.
So, if you’re looking for a quieter helmet, consider one with a more aerodynamic design, made from softer materials, and that fits properly. And don’t forget to protect your hearing with earplugs or other noise-reducing devices!
1. Use Ear Plugs
Stuffing something in your ears can help avoid unwanted noise. We have done this before, and we do this often, so why not do this when we are riding a motorcycle? Buy a pair of custom-fitted earplugs that are comfortable and help cancel our noise.
Moreover, earplugs are portable, one-size-fits-all, and are hardly visible. So these tiny things will hinder nothing and help you avoid some wind noise.
Similarly, a pair of noise-canceling earmuffs can harm no one. They are not so expensive and are available in a wide variety in the market. They can help form a protective layer around your ear, and ear muffs with less padding can easily fit under a helmet.
There is a concern that you might not hear enough surrounding noise to be safe, but have you ever tried using ear plugs to sleep? They are not 100% noise reducing in my experience!
2. Buy the Right-Sized Helmet
Most people don’t understand the importance of buying a good helmet. It might not be obvious if you’re newer to riding, but helmets are not one size fits all. They come in several designs, shapes, and sizes – and not all are suitable for everyone.
If you wear a helmet too tight, you are going to feel uncomfortable & those pressure points are no joke over the course of a ride. However, a helmet that is too loose is also not the right choice & lets in more road noise to bounce around which will definitely NOT make your motorcycle helmet quieter.
Remember, sound bounces around. Limiting space inside your helmet is what prevents wind having a space to swirl around, so wear the right sized helmet that fits your head and neck area to reduces vibration and air travel INSIDE of the helmet.
You’ll also want the inside foam tight against your cheeks – not full on pressure but a snug fit giving you chipmunk cheeks to limit what makes it around your head for a well-fitted helmet.
Proper head measurements is a good start, and you can get help with that at a gear shop. I’ve been surprised by how different a Medium HJC felt against a Medium Sedici. Click here to read about what to look for since helmet sizes are NOT universal.
3. Buy the Right Helmet
The noise we want to target here is the wind that truly causes the discomfort you might be experiencing with a helmet. The more wind you let in, the more of that noise you’re contending with.
An open-faced helmet flat out doesn’t have a front or chin curtain area – you’re missing out on key wind blockers here to make your motorcycle helmet quieter!
So if you want to reduce the noise levels for yourself, you’ll want to consider a more complete full-face motorcycle helmet if you are searching for the quietest helmet. A closed helmet will reduce the level of wind noise at the start.
If you make some phone calls, you could get lucky & have a motorcycle gear shop that has an in store wind-tunnel. Then you can test out the well-fitted options in your quest to find the quietest motorcycle helmets & be able to test out the helmet manufacturer and store salespeople’s claims.
4. Close Your Helmet’s Wind Vents to Make Your Motorcycle Helmet Quieter
If it’s hot outside, I can see you rolling your eyes right now. I get it. I also like to be able breath & not soak my helmet, so you have to pick & chose which options will work for you.
If you want the best wind noise reduction without having to buy a new helmet, a quick solution could be to close the air vents that you have open on your helmet. The tighter seal will make for a slightly quieter ride by keeping the wind out & not swirling around in your helmet.
Even if you do this to give yourself a break from the noise for a bit can help make your motorcycle helmet quieter – even if temporarily.
5. Get a Windscreen
Windscreens allow wind to flow upward and over the rider’s head, so it can do wonders for your stamina for a long ride. It can also work wonders with your hearing by blocking wind.
That said, I picked the wrong windscreen height for my Vespa, and I have to ride differently to keep it from sending all the air straight to my helmet!
So look-out for the right height because some combinations of the helmet, rider, and windscreen height can increase wind noise called wind buffeting. The right size & height of the windscreen will make it a better wind deflector altogether because stopping wind from hitting your helmet is a sure-fire way to make your motorcycle helmet quieter overall!
6. Keep the Visor Closed! 🤦♀️
The helmet visor is the clear, front part of the helmet, which acts as a shield to protect your face when you are on the bike. It is movable and must be closed to make sure your eyes are protected from debris, and in case of an impact, your face remains untouched.
However, apart from this, there is one more thing the visor can help with – and that is the noise. Keeping the visor open while riding the motorcycle can result in air entering the helmet and circulating around your head.
While this might seem obvious, I mention it because when I use my windshield I sometimes FORGET to close my visor when I’m in la-la-land enjoying the ride. *face-palm*
7. Get a Scarf or Balaclava
This is the most cost-friendly and, surprisingly, quite effective option to help cancel out wind noise when riding a bike. You can either wrap a scarf tightly around your neck or wear a balaclava to cover your head and neck – and tuck it in your helmet.
Wearing a covering such as a scarf or balaclava will help reduce the air entering your helmet by filling up the neck area a bit more, which eventually will reduce the vibration and noise you will make.
The science behind this is that anything covering your helmet from the bottom will decrease the amount of air entering the helmet – and this will eventually reduce the noise you hear because of the wind and vibration. It also covers your ears with cloth if over your head & cloth adds another layer of sound-absorption before it travels to your ears.
8. Buy a Helmet Skirt or Better Chin Curtain
There are accessories specifically built for helmets. Often, they are meant to keep you warm or dust out of your helmet, but they also serve as a potential effective solution to reduce the wind that reach inside your helmet. They are like a lightweight wind blocker.
However, I’d do some research here & opt for a chin curtain over a helmet skirt as the skirts I’ve seen do not have great reviews – particularly for wind helmet noises.
Ride Safe and Comfortable
Riding safely and comfortably is my top priority, and I get that the helmet is the essential safety gear for motorcycle riders as part of that safety part.
Even if motorcycle helmets can be noisy and uncomfortable at times, but noise can be helped even if not eliminated!