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How to protect your ears when on an Airboat?

You'd be hearing impaired, and you wouldn't even know it.

The noise of an airboat prop is like the jet sound of an airplane. In fact, an airboat prop is so loud that it can cause damage to your hearing even when it’s not the main cause of hearing loss. That's why hearing protection is so important.

If you care about your hearing, you have to wear hearing protection when you ride an airboat. It’s the only way to protect yourself from hearing damage. 

If you need to know more about this, then keep reading!

Airboats and Hearing Protection

The noise from a propeller engine can reach over 120 decibels. It causes hearing loss even when it’s not the only cause, such as heavy industry or auto racing. At these levels, exposure to the propeller engine for just 15 minutes can damage your hearing and lead to tinnitus.

Airboats are just the propeller engine!

Airboats and hovercraft

Most people think of airboat rides and think it’s just a comfy, slow, pretty trip. They don’t realize that the noise that comes from the prop engine is nothing to joke about. Think of a jet airplane when it takes off. If you were standing next to the runway every time it took off, how much hearing damage would you have from that?

Now imagine being on an airboat as the prop spins at top speed, taking off every few seconds! You can actually hear your own ear drums rattle in your head from the pressure waves. It goes right through your helmet and doesn’t help much with ear protection either.

How loud in an airboat?

An airboat sound is around 100 – 110 decibels, which is more noise than any jet airplane could make. Many people think that an airboat/hovercraft is just a quiet ride with a lot of wind noise, but the actual sound that comes from the prop engine makes it extremely loud.

It’s common for people to say things like, “I wouldn’t want to be in a car with this engine, but it doesn’t bother me personally because I’m used to hearing it.” This is flat out wrong! The loudest exhaust fans on cars are only around 75 decibels.

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When riding an Airboats, what is the correct protective gear?

It is important to wear protective gear, which includes:

  • A helmet. The helmet must be in good condition and made from a solid material like Kevlar. It should fit securely but not tightly.

  • Earplugs. You can choose between disposable and reusable ear plugs. If the engine has an open cockpit, you should get the earplugs that are suitable for airboats, such as Honeywell/Walker Pro quality earplugs.

  • Hearing protection muffs. (that right 2 sets of ear protection) These protective mufflers are custom-made for use on airboats because they protect the ears not only from the high intensity sound wave from an airboat’s propeller engine, but also from noise coming from the boat’s electronics and gyros (gimbals).

  • Hand protector gloves. They are made from shock-resistant material and lined with Kevlar and are often made of neoprene and/or rubber. Gloves must be tight enough, but not too tight.

Getting the right Ear Protectors when riding an Airboat

So how do you know what type of ear protection to use? They are different for everyone. The manufacturer will have an online calculator that can be used to find out the proper sizes of earplugs for both muffs and earmuffs.


Comfort is the most important thing. The earplugs you use should be comfortable, but if they become uncomfortable, you should replace them. It is an individual matter and it may take some trial and error to find out which one works best for you. It is important that you are comfortable wearing your ear protection and that you can’t hear anything from the engine or the noise from other riders.


Durability is also very important when it comes to choosing the proper ear protection. The ear protection you buy should be able to withstand the rigors of being on an airboat every day and protect your hearing.

Your ears are vital to the quality of your life, so think long and hard before casually going on an airboat ride without proper earplugs. Imagine yourself in a situation where you are sitting for several hours in a high noise environment without any form of protection.


Portability is an important factor when it comes to earplugs. As the name already suggests, you want your earplugs to be easy and compact so you can bring them with you when you are traveling or exercising.


Fitting is another important factor when it comes to choosing the right earplugs. You want your earplugs to be very comfortable, but at the same time you want them to fit as perfectly as possible. If your earplugs are not comfortable or don’t fit, you will be tempted to remove them because they will feel uncomfortable. It is a good idea if you try the earplugs in different temperatures since this will make your ears expand and contract.


Size is also an important factor when it comes to choosing the right earplugs. You can choose between disposable or reusable earplugs, but in both cases you will want them to fit as tightly as possible. Size isn’t just about the circumference of your ear, but also about the diameter. If your earplugs are too loose, they may fall out when you are riding an airboat.

Airboats and Low-Frequency Noise

If you’ve ever noticed how some engines drone on and on, you might consider the noise to be coming from a constant stream of notes. In reality, even though it may seem like there is only one note being played, it’s actually a chorus of low-frequency noise.

The longer an airboat engine is in use, the more likely you are to develop hearing damage. This type of low-frequency sound can cause hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

When you sit next to a whirring fan or feel winds whipping around you on an airboat ride, you might not think anything of it.

Loud Noise Can Permanently Damage Your Hearing

People who treat loud noise as a joke usually end up regretting it later. Loud noises can result in hearing issues and even tinnitus. They can be quite dangerous if they are ignored.

Many people do not take hearing loss as seriously as they should, especially when it comes from something caused by loud noises. People often dismiss the damage as age-related changes or assume that the changes will go away within a couple of years. This is a very dangerous assumption to make because you will run the risk of experiencing permanent damage that cannot be reversed with any treatments or surgery available today.

Ringing In The Ears

Ringing in your ears is a common symptom that can occur after being exposed to loud noises. This noise may be difficult to distinguish from other sounds because it is similar to a buzzing noise, which is most likely caused by something in the ear. If you are hearing buzzing sounds, you should get checked by a doctor to determine what is causing the noise and to find out if more serious damage has been done.

Airboat Hearing Loss Caused By 3 Things

1) Decibel Level

Decibel Level is a measure of the intensity of a sound. The decibel range begins at 0 and increases to 120 decibels.

Airboats typically produce noise levels between 80dB and 105dB, but loud explosions can produce sounds measuring as high as 128dB or more.

Hearing damage is reported when noises reach the 80-decibel mark and exposure becomes dangerous if the noise reaches 100 decibels. Earplugs or earmuffs are required to stay below this level when riding an airboat.

2) Distance

Distance is also an important factor when it comes to the damage caused by loud noise. The further away you are from a sound, the less likely you are to suffer damage. This is why it is recommended that you wear earplugs when riding an airboat because they will protect your ears from exposure to dangerous sound levels.

3) Duration of Exposure

Duration of Exposure is also a crucial factor when it comes to assessing how loud noise affects hearing loss. The more time that a person spends exposed to noise, the more prone they are for hearing damage. This is why wearing ear protection and limiting your exposure time on an airboat ride can be as effective as using earmuffs or earplugs to protect your ears from damage.

Airboat and Myths about hearing

There are several myths about hearing and how it's affected by loud noises. These myths include common beliefs that normal ear protection will not help, that hearing loss is a normal part of aging, or that you cannot do anything to prevent hearing loss from high decibel noise.

Normal Ear Protection Will Not Help

Many people believe that earplugs and earmuffs are not effective at preventing noise-related hearing loss. However, this is a dangerous assumption to make since there are many instances of people who have been protected from damaging sounds by wearing earplugs. Even though they may be very uncomfortable at first, it is well worth the trouble especially if you are exposed to dangerous sounds for prolonged periods of time.

Noise Can Hurt Me Unless Its Loud

One of the most common myths about hearing is that you cannot suffer damage from loud noises unless they are very loud. While it is true that only very loud sounds can cause damage, there are many people who have been exposed to sounds that are far lower than those defined as dangerous but still resulted in permanent hearing damage. It is best to wear earplugs to prevent this type of damage.

Hearing Loss Is A Normal Part Of Aging

Another common myth about hearing is that a certain amount of hearing loss is just part of growing old and there isn't much you can do to stop it from happening to you. However, there are some things that can be done before age begins limiting your ability to hear.

My Hearing Will Come Back If I Avoid Noise

There is a common myth that you will regain your hearing as long as you avoid loud noises. However, there are many studies that show that even if you limit your exposure to loud noises, exposing yourself to very noisy places on an ongoing basis can damage your hearing. This damage cannot be reversed and this type of exposure should be avoided at all costs.


The number of airboat rides in America has increased exponentially over the last 30 years. The growth in popularity and popularity is due to the experience available with the airboats. Airboats are a cheap and fun alternative vacation.

Before you ride an airboat, make sure that you have hearing protection to prevent hearing loss and tinnitus. You should never take these precautions lightly because of the dangers associated with loud noises. Take time to make a purchase or ask your provider for more information about hearing loss caused by exposure to excessive high-decibel noises.

Please Note: Just because an ear defender is marked, for example, "Gunshot" - it will still cover other things, like "explosions"

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3M WorkTunes Connect + Gel Ear Cushions Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Wireless Technology, NRR 23...
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Last update on 2023-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Other Questions

Can my kids ride on an airboat?

Yes, but be careful. The noise from an airboat can cause hearing damage, tinnitus, or other issues. Children are more sensitive to loud noises and therefore more likely to suffer hearing damage from the noise generated from an airboat.

For this reason It's better to use ear protection on children or avoid riding on an airboat altogether.

How do I know if my airboat trip is safe?

If you're a boater, or taking a trip on an airboat, it's important to use caution and common sense when planning your trip. If you are unsure of the safety of your airboat trip, there are ways to avoid danger before heading out on the water.

First, you need to find out how close you will be to the engines and the propellers. This is a crucial aspect that determines how much noise you will be exposed to when riding. If you are on the back of the boat, or if you must ride without a guide, you will have a greater risk of hearing damage and other problems.

What will I see on an airboat?

Airboats are generally used for hunting and fishing. You will see a variety of wildlife, including alligators and turtles. The boat operator may point out other animals such as birds, deer, herons and ospreys.

While on the boat you may see different types of plants along the sides of the river (macrophytes), freshwater fish that live in freshwater habitats (planktivores) or saltwater fish which live near shorelines (pelagic species).

The boat will travel slowly over land to show you sandbars and creeks bordering waterways where mussels have grown into large clusters.


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Nick Le Page

Experience : Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

“Are you having problems hearing? If so, those around you already know it. Hearing loss is no laughing matter, so don’t be a punchline.”

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