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 motorcycle or in an open-wheel car. However, it is no doubt still going to be a loud experience. So, how can you make your racing helmet quieter?
The 7 ways to make your racing helmet quieter are:
- Choosing a good helmet
- Wearing ear plugs
- Getting a snug fit
- Wearing a scarf or other covering
- Installing the right windscreen
- Wearing earmuffs
- Changing your driving position
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 car or on a bike.
The Basic Components Of A Racing Helmet
Safety Is Key
As we have said, 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 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 are even made out of 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 bounced 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 go a long way to keep 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.
7 Ways To Make Your Racing Helmet Quieter
1. Choosing A Good Helmet
One of the obvious ways to reduce the noise levels of your helmet due to wind and air resistance 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 options.
Low Wind Resistance
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 air flow 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.
2. Wearing 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. Nothing 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. Getting 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 has a lot to bounce around in, and this can make it very loud. Ensuring your helmet is on tightly will minimize this effect, and thus make things quieter.
4. Wearing 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.
A Snug Fit
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 also make things feel more comfortable and can help to keep you warm too. They are usually fairly cheap as well, and so are a very cost-effective solution if you are struggling with noise levels or want a winter-friendly helmet solution.
5. Installing The Right Windscreen
If you have a motorcycle, you may already have a windscreen on your bike, but you may also just have handlebars. The trick with the windscreen is to make sure that it directs the air up and over your head and not into it, and so it may take some time to adjust the windscreen height. For very tall people, this isn’t always possible without an absurdly large screen, and so it isn’t always the best option.
6. Wearing 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 thus 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 we have said, 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.
7. Changing Your Driving Position
Finally, you can change your driving position in order to reduce the levels of noise within your helmet. If you are a taller person, especially if you are riding a motorcycle and less so if you are racing in a car, you will want to try to reduce the amount of your body that is exposed to the air coming over your handlebars or your windscreen.
Small Surface Area
Regardless of your height, you will want to make the surface area of your body as small as possible. This can be done by tucking your legs and arms in and ducking your head down. This means there is less area for the air to pass over, and not only can this make you and your vehicle more aerodynamic, but it will drastically reduce the amount of air getting into your helmet, making things much quieter.
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, as well as simply changing your driving position too.