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View Full Version : Ear wear - plugs, phones, buds, commando



BetterLateThanNever
12-26-2009, 08:47 PM
Wanted to get some opinions from forum members on ear wear... to plug or not to plug. I personally have rarely worn ear plugs, most of my driving in the past was short urban legs, either for work or errands. Sometimes on longer or freeway rides I would use plugs. Now I'm planning longer rides and trips and I'm rethinking.

Another connected question has to do with earphones, whether blutooth, noise canceling, intercoms or otherwise. How do you feel about these items? Is it a good idea to be listening to music while riding? Or talking on the phone? Do you carry on conversations over a bike-to-bike system? Much of this technology is new since I learned to ride... I didn't ride for a number of years and I've come back to it with an entirely new generation of equipment, accessories, and options to choose from.

Any thoughts are welcome, thanks in advance!

r11rs94
12-26-2009, 09:54 PM
Short answer is, I always wear plugs, I listen to music usually on longer trips, I'm on call a lot for my job so I need the phone. This lets me ride more, but I try not to talk much on it while riding and will pull over if I can safely. I have no problem hearing the phone,GPS or music with the ear plugs in, even at highway speeds. The ear plugs are your run of the mill custom fit plugs that you can get at most rallies or from a local ear Dr. Blue tooth is the way to go. No wires to plug in. I run everything through my GPS. Gee I guess my answer was not so short. Welcome back to the wonderful world of motorcycling. :thumb l

PAULBACH
12-26-2009, 10:08 PM
Short answer is, I always wear plugs, I listen to music usually on longer trips, I'm on call a lot for my job so I need the phone. This lets me ride more, but I try not to talk much on it while riding and will pull over if I can safely. I have no problem hearing the phone,GPS or music with the ear plugs in, even at highway speeds. The ear plugs are your run of the mill custom fit plugs that you can get at most rallies or from a local ear Dr. Blue tooth is the way to go. No wires to plug in. I run everything through my GPS. Gee I guess my answer was not so short. Welcome back to the wonderful world of motorcycling. :thumb l

Good summary!

Do wear ear plugs otherwise you put your hearing at risk

sit
12-27-2009, 01:26 AM
I go for the much lowe tech approach. I always wear ear plugs if I am going to be at highways speeds, if just running tot he store, not going over 35mph, I skip the plugs. As for music, I have a pair of cheapo speakers in my helmet I run my ipod through on longer trips. Even with ear plugs in, I can hear the music no issues.

When I first started to ride, I did not wear ear plugs. That lasted about two long trips. Now I wear them all the time. I find it helps keep you fresh and you mind from going numb due to the noise. I buy the foam type at the local store that have the highest rating I have yet to find. I always carry a couple pairs with me. When they get dirty, I toss them and pull out another pair.

jeff488
12-27-2009, 01:42 AM
:thumb on wearing plugs at highway speeds.
I have just started to listen to tunes on my Zumo using cheap ear buds.
Not so hot an idea. Too much road noise intrudes.
Anybody have a better idea that doesn't cost a bunch?

widebmw
12-27-2009, 03:51 AM
In California,
the section below says you can wear ear plugs.
I have heard of a person getting a ticket for having music going to both ears.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wearing of Headsets or Earplugs
27400. A person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, or earplugs in, both ears. This prohibition does not apply to any of the following:
(a) A person operating authorized emergency vehicles, as defined in Section 165.

(b) A person engaged in the operation of either special construction equipment or equipment for use in the maintenance of any highway.

(c) A person engaged in the operation of refuse collection equipment who is wearing a safety headset or safety earplugs.

(d) A person wearing personal hearing protectors in the form of earplugs or molds that are specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels. The plugs or molds shall be designed in a manner so as to not inhibit the wearer's ability to hear a siren or horn from an emergency vehicle or a horn from another motor vehicle.

(e) A person using a prosthetic device that aids the hard of hearing.

Amended Sec. 45, Ch. 594, Stats. 2003. Effective January 1, 2004.

BetterLateThanNever
12-27-2009, 05:50 AM
In California,
the section below says you can wear ear plugs.
I have heard of a person getting a ticket for having music going to both ears.


Thanks for posting this, it was going to be a follow-up question as far as what the law allows.

Thanks also for the other responses above. Any particular brands/models of earplugs? I've just used ones from an industrial safety supplier, found them at a job.

Also curious about other ear-bud/ear-phone options...

Thanks and keep the comments coming, I really appreciate learning more from folks with experience!

BetterLateThanNever
12-27-2009, 05:51 AM
... Welcome back to the wonderful world of motorcycling. :thumb l

Thanks, it's a blast to be back!

J Brase
12-27-2009, 02:18 PM
My setup, for what it is worth, is custom molded, wired earplugs from MOA member Bob Weis. http://www.earplugco.com/

I run satellite radio, the Garmin voice and the radar detector audio all through a Mix-it 2 from MOA member John Brown. http://www.mixitproducts.com/

(Notice how I support the good guys?)

John

Crow18
12-27-2009, 03:42 PM
I've been using a pair of Shure SE-115 sound-isolating earphones. I think mine are an earlier version, but the SE-115 is what's currently sold at the $99 price point. I don't actually listen to music when I ride, but when I was commuting I would put them in before getting on the bike and keep them in all day (I shared a room with four passive-aggressive guys and their speaker phones). Sometimes I even plugged them into my iPod.

I would say that, as hearing protection, they are about 80% as effective as the Moldex Rocket earplugs I use otherwise. As earphones, they are all I could ask for, and allow me to whittle away my remaining hearing with the noises I choose.

When I'm travelling, I put them in if I want to sleep on a plane, and they very nicely cut the engine noise and all but the worst squalling baby sounds. I suspect the $450 SE-530 headphones would also stop the kid in the row behind me from kicking the back of my seat, but only if I wrapped the cable around hisÔÇöbut I digress.

58058D
12-27-2009, 04:12 PM
I swear by Bob Weis' earplugs and was really glad to see the link as I had lost it over the years. My latest pair finally bit the dust on the wiring and now are used only for plugs, no music. I miss that. They can be pllugged into any standard jack and require very low volume to enjoy wonderful sound while protecting your ears. No problem hearing sirens, either, so I have never had an issue with John L.(well, not for earplugs...). I just noted that Bob's price has only gone up $10 in the past 12 years. Great deal for a custom setup.

jasontdi
12-27-2009, 05:00 PM
http://www.etymotic.com/

Best plugs I've ever used. Plus they are SMALL and you can get different size tips for them to tailor the comfort. They have just as much attenuation as the custom molded ones I use as well.

jstrube
12-28-2009, 06:14 AM
I bought the filtered S plug:

http://plugup.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=37

I love them. They are easy to wear, let in a conversation while you are stopped, as they are "filtered", eliminate harmful wind noise & allow you to use helmet speakers, like the Scala Rider set I have. Going down the highway, I can have a perfectly normal conversation with my buddy, without shouting, his voice just appears in my helmet. I can hear emergency vehicles & other cars just fine as well.

I would buy another set of these plugs if I lost these. :clap

Donster
12-28-2009, 01:39 PM
For me, disposable foam ear plugs from Northern Tool and Supply (NRR 29 dB) work as well as anything, and they're cheap. I buy them by the box and keep a handful in my jacket pocket.

But the thing that cuts down wind noise the most is the 2-in. taller and wider Z-Technik windscreen I recently mounted. At speed, it's nice to hear the engine hum instead of wind noise that drowns out everything.

criminaldesign
12-29-2009, 11:39 PM
i listen to tunes while riding. I do wear only one bud at a time which looks like I'm doing the right thing in California. I don't do that for legal reason though, I like to have a free ear to hear with. Cheapo ear buds here too.

Manfred
12-30-2009, 12:49 AM
I've been using these inexpensive custom in-ear headphones (http://www.earfuze.com/product.html) since early this year. Pretty good noise reduction (not as much as good ear plugs) and good enough sound for inside a helmet.

I also do not wear ear protection for short runs in town. But always on the road.

LENRT1200ST
12-30-2009, 03:35 PM
Ok, so here's the thing. I once saw a fellow mowing his lawn, of course he was riding a very loud machine, but he was listening to an ipod w/ earbuds.

What occurred to me was this. If the music is loud enough to block the mower, then isn't the added sound level (ipod + mower) more harmful than the noise of the mower itself?

I'm sure the ear buds eliminate some of the mower's noise, but I just didn't know how this would work out to hearing protection unless the buds had really good external noise attenuation.

This would seen to me to be an even greater concern where in helmit speakers are used, as I doubt they attenuate much of any external noise. Music or ipod sound output would necessarily need to be louder than the external noise to be enjoyed by the listener.

Curious,

Len

JIMSHAW
12-30-2009, 05:12 PM
Wanted to get some opinions from forum members on ear wear... to plug or not to plug. I personally have rarely worn ear plugs, most of my driving in the past was short urban legs, either for work or errands. Sometimes on longer or freeway rides I would use plugs. Now I'm planning longer rides and trips and I'm rethinking.

Another connected question has to do with earphones, whether blutooth, noise canceling, intercoms or otherwise. How do you feel about these items? Is it a good idea to be listening to music while riding? Or talking on the phone? Do you carry on conversations over a bike-to-bike system? Much of this technology is new since I learned to ride... I didn't ride for a number of years and I've come back to it with an entirely new generation of equipment, accessories, and options to choose from.

Any thoughts are welcome, thanks in advance!

I use the inexpensive, throw-away, soft foam 30dB earplugs that anyone can buy on the Internet for $25 for about 400 prs. They work fine, and I don't have to worry about losing them, finding them, not having any, and all that.

Putting them in my ears BEFORE putting on my helmet is one of the hardest habits I've ever tried to develop. Typically, I get all suited up, connected up, booted up, zippered, velcroed, snapped, buttoned, belted, buckled, hatted, etc., then get on, start the engine. But, what! It's all that noise. Rats. Forgot the earplugs. Do part of it over.

As to listening to stuff while riding, beware. I don't play an engineer on TV, but I am one.

Shaw's Law of Motorcycle Audio: The frustration level of riding will increase geometrically with the number of things you want to listen to on the road.

Starting with the equipment: Adding wired sound for one item (say, your GPS) will add wires to your helmet, GPS, and some kind of helmet-to-ear speakers. Adding an intercom doubles the complexity. Adding music doubles that. Adding bike-to-bike communication triples all the previous. Then, adding radar audio warnings doubles it again. Connecting a cell phone triples all the above. Forget CB; it will bring your frustrations to the middle of the Richter Scale.

Or, you can use wireless connections. This doubles everything again, making it pretty unlikely that you will ever get it all to work together, all the time. There will always be some anomalous disconnects or weak batteries, or something wrong.

Everybody has a different solution, but don't forget the Law of Audio, above.

The best solution I know is to just wear the earplugs. If you want music, play it in your head. If you are lonely, talk to yourself. If you just have to listen to Howard Stern, submit yourself for psychological counselling.

If you want the maximum enjoyment from your riding experience, take all the money you'd spend on audio stuff that probably won't ever work right, and spend it on gasoline.

Gasoline almost always works.

Jim

angysdad
01-02-2010, 12:02 AM
I wear plugs anytime that I will be riding for an hour or more. An article in the ON a few years ago, writen by an ear specialists, compared riding a motorcycle (highway speed) to working in a factory. After four hours of riding in a day, permanent hearing damage occurs.
Go to a safety supply shop and buy a couple of examples of each type of disposable plugs they have and try them out. Buy a box of the ones you like best.
PUT A PLUG IN IT!!!

Happy New YEAR!

univibe88
01-02-2010, 02:13 AM
Once I started wearing plugs I wondered how I ever rode without them. I like these a lot: http://earplugstore.stores.yahoo.net/silnatrubear.html

stkmkt1
01-02-2010, 04:19 AM
:thumb on wearing plugs at highway speeds.
I have just started to listen to tunes on my Zumo using cheap ear buds.
Not so hot an idea. Too much road noise intrudes.
Anybody have a better idea that doesn't cost a bunch?

Go to Walmart and get some noise reducing buds made by Koss. I think they are around $28. Seem to work quite good with my Zumo and the sound is pretty good too.

Manfred
01-02-2010, 03:01 PM
For most of my riding - without music - I've been using these for several years: http://www.earplugsonline.com/

billfiler
01-02-2010, 04:02 PM
After trying and sending back a number of the higher end off the shelf plugs, I went to the audiologist and got some custom molded. It was for me the best solution by far. I got 1 pair with speakers and 1 pair without both custom molded to my ears. They work really well and weren't that expensive. I paid $200.00 for the pair with speakers but that included the appointment, the molds being made, and the earphones. I wear them 95% of the time. They fit so well that I use them as ear plugs a lot of the time and if I feel like listening to music or need to listen to the GPS I just plug them in.
If you are going to listen to music, this is the best approach. I'm a musician and am very conscious of my hearing. I can listen to music while riding at the same volume as if I were sitting in my living room. If you try to use normal earphones you will have to turn the music up so loud that you will definately damage your hearing over time.

Bill
07 R1200RT
09 KLR

marcopolo
01-03-2010, 01:08 AM
I never get on the bike without using custom-molded earlpugs; it's a habit now and I don't even think about it. When I want to listen to my iPod (on long trips), or my GPS, I have custom-molded in-ear plugs that both reduce noise and provide sound.

BetterLateThanNever
01-03-2010, 01:21 AM
Thanks for all these suggestions, I really appreciate the input!

Am trying some industrial safety plugs on rides now, and am considering a visit for custom molded plugs. I had forgotten but a friend of mine had recommended these years ago... he's gotten turned onto them for regular music/audio use because his daughter had a hearing problem and had various hearing aids over the years. He said they were REALLY comfortable and allowed him to hear the music well at low volumes.

Like billfiler I'm a musician and maybe a little hyper conscious of my hearing. Never worried about it back in the day, but now I know I'm not getting another set of ears at 40! :lol

ColbyDeHoff
01-09-2010, 09:17 PM
I've used a variety of disposable plugs from local hardware stores and home centers. I finally settled on Max Lite from Howard Leight by Sperian. The safety guy at work gets them for me by the box. They're by far the most comfortable for extended wear and provide excellent protection. I rarely ride without them. Even the 5-minute trip to the grocery store is more enjoyable with plugs.