When Steve turned professional in 1976, at the age of 22, it was the start of a hugely successful career in racing spanning nearly four decades at the track, whether on a bike, in a truck or in the commentating box! Little did he know that back in the early days when his focus was on going faster, that the exposure to loud engine noise and the buffeting of high speed winds was setting him up for hearing problems in later life.
It was only in the 1990’s, when he started commentating, that he became aware of the importance of protecting his hearing and by that point, he believes that he’d already done the damage.
The loud engine noise can be deafening so anyone in and around a track should wear some form of protection. Steve gets mad when he sees people in the paddock not taking precautions, and parents whose kids wear ear defenders but don’t for themselves, ignoring the damage they’re exposing themselves to.
In fact for riders, over 30mph wind noise creates more damage than engine noise. Even with the best helmets on the market, buffeting wind noise levels are known to reach and exceed 97db at 70mph! Todays’ Health and Safety Executive recommend in Industry wearing hearing protection at 80dB. It’s compulsory at 85dB!
‘I’m Steve Parrish, this is a message for people who ride or enjoy watching or playing loud sport such as shooting to look after your ears. Its advice that I wish I’d had, as I wouldn’t be in a position I am now. I didn’t look after my ears and have paid the price. If I’d just looked after them when I was younger then this may not have happened, so I very much regret it. I would often be on my bike, revving the engine or racing round a circuit not wearing earplugs, thinking I’m cool and manly stepping up a gear, but that’s just rubbish, looking back it was stupid. So look after your hearing and wear hearing protection.’