Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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gentlegreen
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby gentlegreen » 22 Jul 2013, 6:56am

I notice that another cycling forum has put any headphone threads in with the helmet ones. :D

As a committed listener to music while cycling, the OP rang alarm bells because they seemed to be wanting to be cut off from the outside world.

Having music playing has always made physical exertion by this totally non-sporty person that much easier and eased me into actually improving my fitness. The fittest I ever got was pounding the boards at the local rave-type events in my late 30s (wearing earplugs and staying away from the speakers).
So in 26 years and over 40,000 miles of cycling I have never set out without music - unless I'm on a group ride.
I find it difficult to separate shoes, gloves (I never ride without full gloves) and music as essentials. Wearing a helmet comes second. Were it to become illegal, I would start breaking the law for the first time. That applies to helmets as well - even though I had my first fall involving concussion a few years back (I was wearing a helmet). Since then, I greatly upped my game where bike maintenance is concerned and deliberately don't wear one on weekend rides.
(I mention the dreaded "H" word because I think it's related)

When I first started cycling - after 10 years as a motorcyclist, I was purely a commuter, a large chunk of my commute is on a converted railway path, and the suburban roads I still use are very quiet - and since the madness of the school run got properly under way, I've re-engineered my routes so I see even less traffic.
I have over the past few years sometimes doubled or tripled my mileage - still on shared paths and country roads - mostly on a Sunday - though clearly that isn't always possible - but I have to confess I have no experience of cycling through miles of city traffic during the rush hour. Doing this vicariously through watching cycle-cam videos makes me wonder if I could actually do it.

I only briefly tried listening to music on my motorcycle - the crash helmet and the engine noise means you're already cut off from the real world - quite frankly I've lost my nerve where ever getting on a motorcycle again is concerned.
Whenever I'm obliged to drive a car, I'll open all the windows - - whatever the time of year - or I feel too cut off from the world while driving such a potentially dangerous vehicle - what else is all that waste heat from the engine going to be used for ? I will listen to music to make it less of an ordeal.

So do I take my safety on a bicycle too lightly ?
Certainly when I started riding 36 years ago, I remember "relying" on the crackle of my FM radio to tell me about cars that got near.. and I remember playing the music loud and singing along ...

I only once tried in-ear phones - I think I lasted about half a mile... being so cut-off gave me claustrophobia - so I've always chosen "leaky" on-ear phones - and my current ones are so leaky that sometimes I have to untangle the mostly electronic / ambient music from the real world - but I do occasionally gain some advantage from hearing vehicles approaching - though not to the extent that I consider I'm taking unnecessary risks. And clearly on busy roads, I may even take the earphones off.

My afore-mentioned experience with "repetitive beats" in the late 90s changed the sort of music I listen to and the way I listen to it - and I'm also these days much more engaged with my cycling.

So it's a mixed bag. It depends on the rider and the road conditions ... morally we start on higher ground because it's about our own safety whereas cars are inherently dangerous and coincidentally cut the driver off from their surroundings - which air conditioning must surely have made even worse - add the distractions of passengers and gawd 'elp us, mobile phones ...

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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby Edwards » 22 Jul 2013, 8:21am

I wear glasses when cycling and get wind noise from them, sometimes to the extent I can not hear vehicles behind. Thus I am interested in the wind noise reduction.

To reduce wind noise with headphones then you need to cover the ear and headphones. I find the Puritan style skull cap does a good job.
Be a bit hot in this weather.

I am wondering why some people have not started their thread about not wearing headphones as their advice and opinions are obviously not being listened to?
A bit like talking to yourself.
Keith Edwards
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gentlegreen
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby gentlegreen » 22 Jul 2013, 9:03am

Perhaps I'm going deaf, or perhaps I don't ride fast enough, or perhaps the people experiencing "wind noise" are cycling up more hills ?
Or perhaps my choice of headphones prevents it ?
I simply can't actually remember the last time I was bothered by wind noise.

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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby Vorpal » 22 Jul 2013, 10:01am

Posts about whether cyclists should wear headphones have been moved to viewtopic.php?f=1&t=77990

Any further posts about the debate will be removed from this thread. The OP politely asked people *NOT* to post about whether cyclists should wear headphones, but only to help with his/her question about wind noise.

Thank you
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby mark a. » 22 Jul 2013, 10:22am

For some reason I hadn't looked at the Cat Ears website before. Now I have, I like the idea. I doubt they'll work with these headphones (can you wear a helmet and these headphones at the same time?) but you can just put them on your helmet strap and leave them there.

Not that I'm ever really going fast enough to have much of a problem with wind noise!

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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby Brucey » 22 Jul 2013, 10:26am

gentlegreen wrote:Perhaps I'm going deaf, or perhaps I don't ride fast enough, or perhaps the people experiencing "wind noise" are cycling up more hills ?
Or perhaps my choice of headphones prevents it ?
I simply can't actually remember the last time I was bothered by wind noise.


I guess I have just become used to it for the most part. Yesterday I was doing evens (just, briefly :roll: ) into a slight breeze and I noticed/thought about wind noise and did some experiments. Moving my head at different angles changed the wind noise dramatically, and making a little 'fairing' ahead of my ear using my fingers seemed to reduce it considerably.

If your 'airspeed' is less than 15mph I think wind noise isn't normally a big deal. At higher speeds it may become more intrusive.

cheers
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cmt
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby cmt » 25 Jul 2013, 6:18pm

Hi,

Thanks for all the responses and sorry for the delay in replying.

Having read through, I think I've determined that it's the high-profile nature of the cans I'm using that's causing the majority of the problem, coupled with a lack of acoustic damping under the plastic.

The Cat Ears look like a useful solution, but I don't often wear my helmet* so they're not my first choice. I think the only solution that doesn't involve buying new headphones would be to buy/fabricate a cover for the headphones similar to that used on microphones.

I'm surprised at the lack of solutions available in this regard, commercial or DIY. If people are wearing headphones when cycling I would have imagined that reducing wind noise would be beneficial by allowing users to reduce the volume, thereby allowing for a safer balance between music and road noise. I guess the general feeling about this practice has diminished research in this regard.

So, thanks again for the responses, and an extra special than you to the moderator who filtered out the inappropriate ones - I wish all forums were so considerate :)

Cheers!

* Please, no comments on this revelation.

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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby AlbionLass » 25 Jul 2013, 6:21pm

Bone conduction headphones?

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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby gentlegreen » 25 Jul 2013, 6:35pm

cmt wrote: If people are wearing headphones when cycling I would have imagined that reducing wind noise would be beneficial by allowing users to reduce the volume, thereby allowing for a safer balance between music and road noise. I guess the general feeling about this practice has diminished research in this regard.

I reckon I have the perfect solution - and I've been cycling and music listening for 26 years.

Get yourself some KSC75s - phones that really breathe.

Did you already say what sort of music you're listening to ?

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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby thelawnet » 9 Jan 2020, 12:38am

I happened to go out with some headphones on today. I got some of these for Christmas

https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/sony-wh-ch700n

They are IMO not that great as headphones. I think they cost £67, the Sony RRP is just a nonsense.

I used to have some of these

https://www.7dayshop.com/products/7days ... x-7dayadhf

and I was quite happy with them but they broke eventually.

Anyway I really bought them for use on the plane. Unfortunately it turns out you need to buy a separate adaptor which costs £20-£40 if you want Bluetooth on a plane. But it turns out that Bluetooth is definitely a boon because you can't really be doing with wires unless you are sitting still, so they are quite handy generally.

And they do have a microphone. So I was on a call when I went out today, and it was handy because I didn't need to hang up. The noise cancelling doesn't seem to help with wind noise - when I turned it off the wind noise seemed to go down? I assume the Noise Reduction is not designed for cycling though.

They do keep your ears warm, which was a small bonus, but they don't seem all that comfortable after an hour or so but I don't know if any such headphones are. I don't think I'd make a point of wearing headphones when cycling, but it seems like they could be useful on occasion. I will have to do some further testing.

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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby fullupandslowingdown » 9 Jan 2020, 1:29am

interesting resurrection of an old post.
Reading the responses, I'm surprised no one mentioned dead cat furries :o as much utilised by sound recorderists.
These dramatically reduce the wind noise picked up by mics.
By way of illustration, particularly in winter I allow my sideburns to out-bush Wolverine's and when I do finally trim them down to normal length, the difference is very noticeable. It takes me a few days of riding before my ears relearn to filter out the wind noise caused by air flow past my lug holes. I imagine that the original poster, will, no matter how careful he is have at least a small air gap between cans and head allowing the wind to flow. When we lean over as in riding, the tendons and muscles in the face are stretched differently compared to standing straight. And as several have said even the outer body of the cans generates noise as wind passes over it.
So either glue fur (artificial of course) over the cans, and the head band too as this will generate noise which is transmitted down to the ears too. Or go Russian and wear a fur hat.
None of us should under estimate the level of background noise on the road, in traffic it can be near or at Health n Safety levels for action i.e hearing protection. So I advise people not used to wearing any type of headphones when cycling (or walking/running) to set the volume whilst out on the road to where you think it's right so you can hear it. Then go back indoors and quietude, and check how loud the headphones actually are. Unless your cans are blocking a lot of road noise, you'll probably find the volume is actually at hearing damaging levels. We can't grow new ears.....

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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby Vorpal » 9 Jan 2020, 7:51am

fullupandslowingdown wrote:interesting resurrection of an old post.
Reading the responses, I'm surprised no one mentioned dead cat furries :o as much utilised by sound recorderists.
These dramatically reduce the wind noise picked up by mics.


We used to have frequent attempts by spammers to post about cat ears for noise reduction. It's possible that anyone who tried to post about them, and wasn't already a member was assumed to be a spammer. :lol:
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby mjr » 9 Jan 2020, 9:22am

fullupandslowingdown wrote:None of us should under estimate the level of background noise on the road, in traffic it can be near or at Health n Safety levels for action i.e hearing protection. So I advise people not used to wearing any type of headphones when cycling (or walking/running) to set the volume whilst out on the road to where you think it's right so you can hear it. Then go back indoors and quietude, and check how loud the headphones actually are. Unless your cans are blocking a lot of road noise, you'll probably find the volume is actually at hearing damaging levels. We can't grow new ears.....

I am pretty sure it's far beyond work safety levels on many 40mph roads. It's quite noticeable when you've been on some greenway or country road and approach a main road.

I think the best options are earplug-type headphones (I use them in London very infrequently) or using a speaker in a bar bag or basket and listening to music among the wind noise.
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 9 Jan 2020, 9:52am

Wind noise cancellation mode on my hearing aids works pretty well.

I can even just turn down the outside world, and listen to stuff streamed straight into them...

Does it make me safer/less safe on the road? I'd argue that it doesn't. What information does my hearing (even when it was good) actually give me?

In an urban environment - basically none, there is so much noise around. It possibly alerts you to an emergency services vehicle a bit earlier...
On a busy non-urban road - basically none - see the urban environment
On a quiet non-urban road (or maybe urban at night) - it'll tell you that a vehicle is approaching... But what will you do differently?
Pull out more centrally on the road? Cower in the gutter? Get off and climb the nearest tree?

OTOH I'd suggest that a (pair of) wing mirror(s) gives the opportunity (it doesn't have to be taken) for greater situational awareness than hearing ever could.
I'd be far more likely to suggest that someone added mirror(s) than removed headphones.
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Re: Reduce wind noise when wearing headphones?

Postby andrew_s » 9 Jan 2020, 11:13am

There is no perfect answer - you get some wind noise just from your ears, without any headphones, earphones or helmet.

Probably it's best to use a headband over the top of in-ear phones, perhaps better with a fluffy surface on the outside.
In the summer, it can be cotton to soak up sweat.