No sooner than government lifted its lockdown, some notoriously noisy bikers have returned to the streets of Tortola. Former Premier and physician, Dr D Orlando Smith has since sought to advise riders that altering mufflers on motorbikes can seriously affect a person’s auditory senses.
Dr Smith made that statement in a post on social media site, Facebook, on Monday, May 11.
“Apart from the disturbance the high level of noise causes in many areas in the community, this practice can result in serious hearing loss to the rider, which can be permanent,” Dr Smith said in what he described as ‘a word to motorcyclists who ride bikes with removed or modified mufflers’.
While explaining his statement further, Dr Smith stated: “The wind noise combined with the noise of the removed or modified mufflers raise the noise level far above the recommended 80 dBAs (decibels). Please take note.”
The average unaltered motorbike makes noise up to 95 decibels
To put it into context, the Centre for Disease Contol & Prevention (CDC) has said a normal conversation is about 60 decibels, and the average motorcycle engine is about 95 decibels.
The CDC further said in an October 2019 publication that “hearing-loss can result over time from damage caused by repeated exposures to loud sounds”
“Noise above 70 dB over a prolonged period of time may start to damage your hearing. Loud noise above 120 dB can cause immediate harm to your ears,” the CDC reported.
It added: “The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for hearing loss to occur. The longer the exposure, the greater the risk for hearing loss (especially when hearing protection is not used or there is not enough time for the ears to rest between exposures),” it added.
‘Unbearable assault to the ears‘
In the meantime, Dr Smith’s statements come a few months after his wife Lorna wrote in a letter to the Police Commissioner and the Governor decrying the same issue.
Mrs Smith, who described the noise as an ‘unbearable’ nuisance brought on by unemployed drag racers during the night-time hours.
She wrote: ““… Sad to say motorbikers (unemployed) who have obviously removed the mufflers from bikes with the result that there is an unbearable assault on the ears of residents of Road Town and McNamara along Road Town to Sea Cow’s Bay drive, daily for this extended period of time.”