‘Even at 10mph you’re actually causing some noise trauma to your ears’: cycling and hearing loss

Struggling to catch all the banter on group rides can be frustrating – but it shouldn’t be a source of shame or stigma. Chris Marshall-Bell calls for greater openness around hearing loss

On the left is a cartoon of a cyclist unable to hear their friend on a bike ride, on the right is a cartoon of a cyclist using a hearing aid
(Image credit: Future)

This article was originally published in Cycling Weekly's print edition as part of the WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT series tackling taboos and raising awareness of cycling-related health issues.  

Dave Mellor knew he had a problem with his hearing after finding himself avoiding conversations for fear of humiliating himself. “Going out in a group, riding side by side, is all about having a bit of craic with your mates,” he tells me over the phone. “But over time, I had stopped engaging. I’d be out on social group rides and forever saying, ‘Say that again’.” Struggling to hear clearly enough to chat while cycling is a common problem, but it’s one many riders are reluctant to admit. 

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Chris Marshall-Bell

A freelance sports journalist and podcaster, you'll mostly find Chris's byline attached to news scoops, profile interviews and long reads across a variety of different publications. He has been writing regularly for Cycling Weekly since 2013. In 2024 he released a seven-part podcast documentary, Ghost in the Machine, about motor doping in cycling.

Previously a ski, hiking and cycling guide in the Canadian Rockies and Spanish Pyrenees, he almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains. He lives in Valencia, Spain.