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Thread: Earplugs/hearing protection

  1. #16
    NC Piedmont Rider ncstephen's Avatar
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    Flyrider,

    As for wear and reuse. That becomes your pattern. My wife is a nurse, teaches it, and is hyperattentive about having things clean and not contaminated. Funny she doesn't bat an eye about my reuse. Typically I use mine about two weeks on the daily commute. They usually aren't grimy at that point but starting to look unfresh. When I get off the bike, I lay them on the inner faring tray next to the instruments. Grab them first when gearing back up.
    The helmet is sitting on the gloves on the top of the handle bar mounts. So jacket goes on, then ear plugs, then helmet then gloves.

    Now as I say this, I also realize from experiences across time, different peoples ears had different wax and oils.

    Find a pattern that works for you, and wear them.

    NCS
    03 K 1200RS (Black is Best)
    03 Honda RC51
    74 Honda CB750 K4

  2. #17
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    I prefer OTC foam versus custom plugs, too.

    My problem is that the custom ones are obviously not so flexible and they contact my helmet, which is uncomfortable. My head is such that I have to reach in and unfold my ears when I first put on helmet. Not a lot of clearance, that is, and probably even less with helmet speakers.

    Methinks custom plugs a solution looking for a problem. There's lots of marketing hype out there directed at people that will spend big bucks to convince themselves they're doing the right thing.

    Yes, if you need your "sound" the best it can be, customs with speakers molded in are likely best ... assuming again proper helmet clearance. You know, like you've got 800 NASCAR horsepower exiting the exhaust right under you at 200 mph and you need to hear your spotter and crew chief.

    I don't understand all the hoorah around custom windshields. I rather think you can take to the bank there's no possible windshield that will eliminate need for earplugs ... unless it's your car's windshield.
    Kent Christensen
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  3. #18
    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
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    Foam works for me...

    I use the same style or brand of foam plugs for riding that I use out on the range when shooting trap.

    My favorite are the green foam ones from Max's, I believe. I do reuse them, and have never had an ear issue because of it.

    I think, depending on your ears, it may be worthwhile trying a few different kinds until you find one that works for you. The shapes and thicknesses do vary some between brands, and everyone's ears are different. The good news is that these things aren't all that expensive, so you can afford to try a few.

    No comment on the custom made plugs because I've never had them, and frankly always had foam ones that worked well for me.
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    Brad D. - Member #105766
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  4. #19
    Registered User richardak's Avatar
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    I tried a variety of foam ear plugs but they always ended up hurting after a couple of hours. I picked up a custom molded pair at the Bend MOA rally and they work great. I can barely feel them after 12 hours on the road. For me, they work great and were a great investment. I forgot the name of the vendor.
    1983 R100RT hacked w/Cozy Rocket My blog
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  5. #20
    NC Piedmont Rider ncstephen's Avatar
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    A question here... just opinions unless there is some data out there.

    One.. Foam disposables, work well, but don't reuse
    Two.. Foam Disposables work well, reuse for a while
    Three.. Custom plugs work well, last a long time

    What is the real world difference concerning ear infections and similar concerns between using disposable foam ones for a while and using custom ones for a long time. Do the custom ones really get cleaned after every ride?

    I say real world in that if (making this up for a standard) the standard is that you clean them with alcohol after every use, does that really happen or is it maybe once /twice month.

    So what is the real difference between having some custom ones that get cleaned sometimes, and disposable that are used for 10 days and then thrown away?

    NCS
    03 K 1200RS (Black is Best)
    03 Honda RC51
    74 Honda CB750 K4

  6. #21
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    I've never tried the "custom" ear plugs, but every otc foam plug I've tried makes my ears itch like a muther! I can't ride very long without pulling over and yanking them suckers out.

  7. #22
    WI Airhead r90r100r's Avatar
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    Custom Ear plugs

    Custom ear plugs past 2yrs, work great or me - never could get good consistent fit with OTC foam plugs. Keep them in their own case in the jacket I always wear!

    Mike Horne
    76 R90/6
    93 R100R Legend

  8. #23
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    I think everyone will agree that wearing earplugs is an important personal safety measure when riding. However, choosing the right earplug can be a chore. The approach I took was to order a sample assortment of many different earplugs before deciding upon the ones I use now.

    HERE is an assortment of up to 35 pairs of foam earplugs for you to explore the right fit for your ear canals.

    BTW -- MCN just had an article about Mighty Plugs, a very unique earplug. I'm sure that they are very comfortable, but I have not found any Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) in the Mighty Plug specifications. The ones I currently use (Moldex Pura-fit) have a NRR of 33.
    Theo

    2009 R1200RT, 2007 Shadow Aero 750 (sold)
    2012 MINI Countryman S, 2004 MINI Cooper S JCW, 2000 BMW 328i

  9. #24
    Registered User PittsDriver's Avatar
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    OK, I'll be the outlier here and say that if you're at all concerned about your hearing - and you should be - then only a custom molded solution will provide the best protection and the best of those is not cheap. But as I've often said before, I want hearing aids about as much as I want a diaper or a walker and at 53, I've spent most of my life assulting my ears and have started to suffer some hearing loss. I'm very motivated to save the hearing I have left because standing around at a party and not understanding what people are saying will suck.

    So, I went out an evaluated a number of different choices from the foamy OTC style you get at the drug store to ear phones that go in-ear to custom. I decided that custom was light years better in every way. Then looking at the custom ear monitors (because I like music, GPS prompts, and phone calls too) I looked at everything from the low end Westone stuff to the best of the best Sensaphonics (which is what the big names use on stage at concerts to protect their hearing and hear the music). I chose the Sensaphonics 2XLs which had to be ordered by my audiologist at Johns Hopkins. Sensaphonics has a tremendous amount of motorsports experience (almost all the Indy car, F1, NASCAR etc guys use them) so they're very well sorted for using under a helmet.

    I get close to 40 db of passive noise attenuation from these monitors. They'll turn the 90 - 100 db of road and wind noise in my helmet into 60 db or better which is better than a Lexus or Mercedes at 60 mph. And the added benefit is pretty amazing sound quality out of them for my music. The down side - they're $750.

    That sounds expensive for ear phones and it is. But compared to the other crap we spend money on with relentless disregard for rational thought, this is one of the best value purchases I've ever made. If you're one of the guys that has ever said "if you have a $100 head, buy a $100 helmet" then here's the thing, if your hearing is only worth $19.95 at Walmart or $5 for foamies at CVS, then go buy that.

  10. #25
    Rally Rat
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    Quote Originally Posted by NCStephen View Post
    The bright green shaped ones.

    NCS
    What shape is "bright green"? I have been walking around Walmart for an hour and can't find them!


  11. #26
    NC Piedmont Rider ncstephen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john1691 View Post
    What shape is "bright green"? I have been walking around Walmart for an hour and can't find them!

    At our Walmart, in the section where the ear care is, near the pharmacy, there will be some generic ear protection and Fluet brand. Fluet brand has about 3 choices. One of those is lime green. They are wide at the base, then narrow then widen a little bit and the round off into the top. A little like a coca cola bottle shape.
    03 K 1200RS (Black is Best)
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    74 Honda CB750 K4

  12. #27
    NC Piedmont Rider ncstephen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PittsDriver View Post
    OK, I'll be the outlier here and say that if you're at all concerned about your hearing - and you should be - then only a custom molded solution will provide the best protection and the best of those is not cheap.
    I got my wife the Westone UM2s. She loves them. They do have great sound. I don't do music while I ride but she does. The rating is in the high 20s I think. They run about 250 I think. Not custom.

    I still use the walmart OVC ones as they have a higher rating, I am comfortable with them, the ride is really quiet on the wind noise. I switched helmets and that helped a lot with the lower frequencies.

    One of the important things is to wear them right. When done right you realize just how relaxed and quiet it can be. When not, you pick up a lot of hissing and buffeting sounds when actually make it feel like you are being buffeted more.

    NCS
    03 K 1200RS (Black is Best)
    03 Honda RC51
    74 Honda CB750 K4

  13. #28
    Registered User stkmkt1's Avatar
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    I use the "howard Leight" Laser Lite ones. You can find them at many home centers, such as Menards. They are packaged under the name of Stanley. Yea, the tool company. They come in a tube-type package of 80 pair, or something like that, for about $12-$15. They have a NRR of 32. They work quite well. I often use the same pair all day. I carry several pair in the sleeve pocket of my jacket. So I always have plenty.

    Problem is, they cut the noise down so much, that I cannot hear my speakers in my helmet. So I'm thinking of replacing the speakers in my new Cardo Scalia G9 with earbuds. i have some Klipsch units that are noise reducing. They allow you to keep the volume down on your phone (or music), but still block out a lot of the wind noise.

    Now I've just got to get the courage to cut the wires on my brand new G9 speakers and install an audio jack on the bluetooth unit to accept the earbuds plug.
    '09 BMW 1200 GSA, 2013 BMW 700GS, 2000 Goldwing SE, '09' V Star 950, '09 Honda Rebel,
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  14. #29
    Rally Rat RTRandy's Avatar
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    Highly recommend The Earplug store.com http://www.earplugstore.com/ They have it all and you can try different types since you can sample a few pair at a time.

    I tried using custom plugs from a local hearing aid store, but found the disposable foam better for my riding. It seemed the custom ones were louder on mid range frequencies.

    Besides the obvious benefit of protecting hearing long term, they help keep me more focused and less fatigued from wind noise all day. They really improve things if you have communications such as intercom or music on board by filtering out wind noise.

    My favorite are a stiffer foam style called SparkPlugs from the Moldex brand and these are the official earplug for Nascar. They have the maximum noise reduction of 33db while the popular Howard Leights Max are the same reduction as well.
    The Howard Leights are a softer style, but the Spark Plugs seem to cut the noise better for me. Best way is to experiment and try different styles. Most important, make sure you know how to compress them properly before inserting.

    I've never had a problem removing my plugs for a gas/meal stop and reusing. Usually I start with a fresh pair each day.

  15. #30
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    This thread got me curious, I looked on Youtube and found this video on how to correctly insert earplugs, best I have found yet:
    http://youtu.be/v60rdMrLoW4
    Funny enough, those are actually Leight's Laser-Lite ear plugs.

    If the plug doesn't expand to fill your ear (you can feel it and over a few seconds you can hear a major difference, or not hear it such as it is) you're not doing it right. Personally, I also stretch them a little when rolling - makes getting them into narrow ear canals easier. Make sure to roll the length portion only, not the bigger flanged end, that part stays out of your ear canal and makes for easy removal. I once had to fish one of the yellow cylinder plugs out of Larry Fears' ear with a Leatherman (I think Jeff Dunkle was holding the flashlight), he switched over to Leight's Max plugs after that
    Ted
    "A good stick is a good reason"
    1994 K75RT
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