Do I Need Earplugs for ATV Riding?

Ross Ballot
by Ross Ballot
Photo Credit: lassedesignen /

Whether or not you need earplugs while ATV'ing is a very personal decision, but protecting your hearing should be thought about more than it is. As proponents of preventing hearing loss and simultaneously enjoying the sounds that four-wheelers make, earplugs can go a long way to keeping quading enjoyable. Should you wear earplugs? Here are some things to consider.

Photo Credit: Nor Gal /

Noise Level: ATVs can generate a lot of noise, especially if they are high-performance or if you're riding at high speeds. Prolonged exposure to loud engine noise can lead to hearing damage over time. If you find the noise uncomfortable or if you're riding for extended periods, wearing earplugs can help protect your hearing.

Terrain and Speed: Riding on rough terrain or at high speeds can increase the overall noise level. If you frequently engage in this style of riding, earplugs may provide added comfort and protection.

Personal Sensitivity: Individuals vary in their sensitivity to noise. Some people may find ATV engine noise bothersome, while others may not be as annoyed. If you feel discomfort due to the noise, earplugs can be a good solution.

Local Regulations: In some areas, there may be regulations regarding the use of ear protection while operating recreational vehicles. Check your local laws or guidelines to ensure compliance.

Communication Needs: If you ride in a group and need to communicate with others, consider using communication devices that allow for clear communication while still providing some noise protection.

Hearing Protection: ATVs can produce loud engine noise, and prolonged exposure to such noise can lead to hearing damage over time. Wearing earplugs helps protect your ears and can prevent long-term hearing issues.

Comfort: The constant noise of an ATV engine, especially at high speeds or on rough terrain, can actually be exhausting and uncomfortable. While wearing earplugs themselves may be uncomfortable, they can reduce the overall noise level so they can make your ride more enjoyable.

Concentration: Lowering the noise level can help improve concentration and focus. This is important for maintaining situational awareness and reacting to potential hazards while riding.

All said, it's important to find a balance. While earplugs can provide benefits, they also reduce your ability to hear important sounds, such as warning signals, approaching vehicles, or communication from fellow riders. We recommend choosing earplugs that offer noise reduction without completely blocking out all sounds. In addition, consider using communication devices that allow for clear interaction with others while still providing some noise protection.


Ultimately, the decision to use earplugs while riding an ATV is a personal one, and it may depend on factors like your sensitivity to noise, the type of terrain you're riding on, and local regulations. If you're unsure, you can consult with experienced ATV riders in your area or seek advice from professionals who specialize in off-road recreation.

Ross Ballot
Ross Ballot

Ross hosts The Off the Road Again Podcast. He has been in the off-road world since he was a kid riding in the back of his dad’s YJ Wrangler. He works in marketing by day and in his free time contributes to Hooniverse, AutoGuide, and, and in the past has contributed to UTV Driver, ATV Rider, and Everyday Driver. Ross drives a 2018 Lexus GX460 that is an ongoing build project featured on multiple websites and the podcast and spends his free time working on and riding ATVs.

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