No matter what kind of racing you do, you will be wearing a helmet. If you are inside the car, wind noise is much less of a problem than if you are on a kart or in an open-cockpit car. However, it is no doubt still going to be a loud experience. So, how can you make your racing helmet quieter?
The 5 ways to make your racing helmet quieter are:
- Choose a good helmet
- Wear ear plugs
- Get a snug fit
- Wear a scarf or other covering
- Wear earmuffs
These are all great ways to reduce the noise you hear in your ears when racing. Although they are not all strictly ways to make your helmet quieter, they do all contribute to an overall quieter time, whether you are in a kart or a car, and I go through them in more detail below.
The Basic Components Of A Kart Racing Helmet
Every kind of racing will require you to wear a helmet for safety reasons. They are designed to protect your head in the event of a crash, and to protect against anything hitting it, such as debris from the track or other racers. They are made up of various different components, and each one plays a vital role in keeping you safe while you are driving.
The bulk of the helmet is what is called the outer shell. This is the part that you see, and it does most of the protecting of your face and head. It is usually made out of hard materials, such as plastic, fiberglass or carbon fiber, and some even feature Kevlar. It provides a lot of protection against hard impacts, but it also plays a key role in making it quieter.
A Smooth Design
This is because the outer shell is made to be as smooth as possible, which means air can pass over it very easily at high speeds. This prevents the rough, loud noise that the air would otherwise make in your ears as it bounces off bumps and inconsistencies in the helmet. Another key component that keeps your face safe from impact while also limiting the noise is the protective visor.
The amount of protection offered by the visor is less than the outer shell, due to the fact it is thinner and usually made out of polycarbonate in order to be clear for you to see through. They offer UV protection as well. Their design is smooth like that of the outer shell, allowing air to pass very easily over your helmet and avoiding it going into your ears.
Then there are various other components, such as soft inner liners and impact-absorbing liners, that help make the helmet comfortable and keep you safe from hard impacts. These are less important for the noise factor though. Other things that may affect the noise levels are vents or fins that direct air through or around the helmet, making them much quieter.
5 Ways To Make Your Racing Helmet Quieter
1. Choose A Good Helmet
One of the obvious ways to reduce the noise levels of your helmet is choosing a good quality helmet in the first place. A good quality helmet is obviously going to keep you safer, and that should be a priority. But there are also noise benefits to be gained from more expensive, high-quality helmets over cheaper, less well made options.
Quality helmets are usually ones that are made to be very smooth on the outside, offering much less wind resistance than cheaper ones. They will usually also feature flaps or vents that redirect airflow through or around the helmet and away from your ears. They are designed to be snug fitting too, which prevents any air from getting up into your helmet and making it louder (more on that in a moment).
2. Wear Ear Plugs
Once you have a good helmet, you will still be subject to some wind noise unfortunately. No matter how expensive or high-quality the helmet is, there is still going to be some wind noise just due to the speeds you will be racing at and the shape of your body and your vehicle, whether it’s a kart or a car. No helmet is perfectly aerodynamic, and so there is always going to be some level of noise due to the wind and engine etc.
This is where ear plugs can really help, as they offer a tight fit inside your ear, preventing a lot of the noise from penetrating through. There are also options on the market with special fillings that allow for the removal of certain frequencies that your helmet cannot prevent from getting through. This means that with a little extra investment, they can offer a very quiet racing experience with minimal obstruction.
3. Get A Snug Fit
Ensuring you get a snug fit is vital if you want to reduce the noise levels in your ears when racing. This will prevent any unwanted air getting up into your helmet and reaching your ears. When air gets into your helmet it ‘bounces’ around a lot, and this can make it very loud. Ensuring your helmet is on tightly will minimize this effect, and therefore make things quieter.
4. Wear A Scarf Or Other Covering
If your helmet is not quite snug, it is probably not the right fit for you. However, even the tightest of fits can still allow some air to get into your helmet. This is where it can be helpful to add some extra material of your own to make the gap a bit smaller, and to limit the space in which air can get in and then move around in order to keep the noise level to a minimum.
Some simple solutions involve wearing a scarf or a balaclava, as these will stop air getting in through the bottom of your helmet and reduce the noise, but they can also make it more comfortable and they can help keep you warm too. They are usually fairly cheap as well, and so they are a very cost-effective solution if you are struggling with noise levels or want a winter-friendly helmet solution.
5. Wear Earmuffs
Wearing earmuffs can be a useful solution if you don’t want to wear ear plugs. They offer a decent amount of noise reduction, while also being very comfortable. They don’t limit the noise quite as well as ear plugs, and this makes them the ideal solution for reducing noise but not eliminating it, such as if you need to hear a radio or just don’t like wearing ear plugs.
They can be quite thick, and so it may not be very practical without removing some protective padding. However, some options come with built in speakers, and this can be ideal if, as I mentioned above, you need to listen to a team radio while racing. They can also be used for music as well, but this is going to obviously be less important for racing than normal driving!
Having a noisy helmet when racing can be both distracting and uncomfortable. If you need to hear team orders through a radio, then too much wind noise can make this impossible. Getting a good quality helmet and making sure you get a snug fit is a great way to reduce the noise levels, but wearing ear plugs or earmuffs can also help.
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