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Thread: Custom Molded Ear Piece. . . FAIL

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    Custom Molded Ear Piece. . . FAIL

    After years of fooling with foam ear plugs I finally decided to splurge and pay the big bucks for a set of custom ear pieces. I bought them from a company called "PlugUp". When I received them, they looked good, but I soon found out that riding with them was unbearable. It felt fine wearing them around the house, but with the helmet on they were Painful! I think part of that problem was my Arai helmet putting a little too much pressure in the wrong place. I'm now using a Shoei and it's a lot better.

    The bigger problem is the noise while riding! Wearing these things actually creates more noise than without. It sounds like I'm sitting inside a drum, and it's maddening. What seems to be happening is that the plug is actually transmitting sound into the bones in my jaw. Cocking my jaw one way or another eliminates the noise, but of course I can't ride that way.

    What's really annoying is that I can't even get PlugUp to respond to my emails, so I've given up trying to resolve this with them. At the Salem rally, another company making custom plugs offered to brush some kind of silicon filler on them to, in effect, tighten them up. Although it was a very nice gesture, it didn't help. Now I'm starting to wonder if maybe they're just too tight. I realize that they need to be tight enough to seal, but with this drumming, roaring sound I'm experiencing, they're really worthless to me. Has anyone experienced this kind of problem with custom ear pieces? Do you think maybe using some fine sandpaper I can reduce them somewhat? At this point I'm not too worried about ruining them, as they're really unwearable, at least on a motorcycle. I'd appreciate any ideas you all may have.

  2. #2
    Cal
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    Go to a reputable audiologist, ask for earplugs for motorsports and be done with it.
    Cal Garcia
    Suches, GA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cal View Post
    Go to a reputable audiologist, ask for earplugs for motorsports and be done with it.
    Thanks Cal, but not the response I was looking for. I'm not up to spending another $250 just to have the same outcome. Besides, the person I purchased these from at PlugUp is an Audiologist. . . how reputable, I'm not sure. I'm afraid if I can't fix these, I'm just going to go back to foam plugs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BONWIT View Post
    Thanks Cal, but not the response I was looking for. I'm not up to spending another $250 just to have the same outcome. Besides, the person I purchased these from at PlugUp is an Audiologist. . . how reputable, I'm not sure. I'm afraid if I can't fix these, I'm just going to go back to foam plugs.

    Two friends tried 'custom' plugs...do not remember the brand. Both went back to drugstore foam type...

  5. #5
    Just me rad's Avatar
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    I think you nailed it regarding pain, a proper fitting snug helmet that may not have recesses in the ear area and it may be pressing on the ear plug. I know that has happened to me with certain ear buds under my helmet.

    As for transmitting sound, could be a result of them touching the helmet, or them just working well. I know when my foam ear plugs are well set in my ear my footsteps feel/sound like they are booming in my head and I figure this is a result of the sound being transmitted through my bone structure. However, I never get any of that booming noise from anything I do while mounted on or riding the motorcycle.

    Is there material in your helmet lining near the ears you can remove without damaging the helmet?

    Do you have another helmet to try? An old one perhaps to try as a test.

    Don't give up on them to quick.

  6. #6
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    If these are the earplugs that look (and feel) like somewhat hardened Silly Putty, IMO it would be tough to make them work under a helmet. I have them and I also have a $500.00 pair of quick noise canceling type which are a little "more firm"....So fragile I got tired of having them repaired.
    I think you could run yourself a test and use either no helmet or a half helmet to diagnose the way things are working for you.
    The real stiffness of this type of ear protection works better to protect the ear but pressure on the plug or surrounding tissue is something I find very uncomfortable. The foam type has some give.
    If you happen to see my thread on Tinnitus, at this point, earplugs make it seem like I have two empty 55gal drums over my ears.
    OM
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    RK Ryder
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    I feel your frustration. Been there done that, with three different companies. Never again. My last set from Big Ear were the worst (and most expensive). Must be just us as many report that custom ear buds/plugs work well for them. Getting them modified was no better than the originals. My safety supply stores earplugs block far more noise than my pricey molded plugs.

    End of Rant.
    Paul
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  8. #8
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_F View Post
    I feel your frustration. Been there done that, with three different companies. Never again. My last set from Big Ear were the worst (and most expensive). Must be just us as many report that custom ear buds/plugs work well for them. Getting them modified was no better than the originals. My safety supply stores earplugs block far more noise than my pricey molded plugs.

    End of Rant.
    +1
    I used to post here, but now I don't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rad View Post
    I think you nailed it regarding pain, a proper fitting snug helmet that may not have recesses in the ear area and it may be pressing on the ear plug. I know that has happened to me with certain ear buds under my helmet.

    As for transmitting sound, could be a result of them touching the helmet, or them just working well. I know when my foam ear plugs are well set in my ear my footsteps feel/sound like they are booming in my head and I figure this is a result of the sound being transmitted through my bone structure. However, I never get any of that booming noise from anything I do while mounted on or riding the motorcycle.

    Is there material in your helmet lining near the ears you can remove without damaging the helmet?

    Do you have another helmet to try? An old one perhaps to try as a test.

    Don't give up on them to quick.
    No, there's nothing in the helmet touching the plugs. I've tried it with two different helmets. . . same result. I would guess that testing without a helmet would show some improvement because the air noise would mask the booming. In fact, the noise is less noticeable if I stick my head outside the windshield into the slipstream. The GS windshield does produce some buffeting, and that makes it worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    If these are the earplugs that look (and feel) like somewhat hardened Silly Putty, IMO it would be tough to make them work under a helmet. I have them and I also have a $500.00 pair of quick noise canceling type which are a little "more firm"....So fragile I got tired of having them repaired.
    I think you could run yourself a test and use either no helmet or a half helmet to diagnose the way things are working for you.
    The real stiffness of this type of ear protection works better to protect the ear but pressure on the plug or surrounding tissue is something I find very uncomfortable. The foam type has some give.
    If you happen to see my thread on Tinnitus, at this point, earplugs make it seem like I have two empty 55gal drums over my ears.
    OM
    Like I said, the comfort issue was solved with the new helmet. The big problem is the booming.

  11. #11
    Registered User Jim Rogers's Avatar
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    Just a Question

    Are you guys having these custom plugs professionally fit or are you getting these 'fit kits', making the molds yourselves, sending the molds in, having the company make the plugs from the molds you made and then sending you the 'custom fit' plugs?
    Gear Up and Ride Safe
    Jim Rogers
    2010 R12GSA aka Heidi
    Yorktown, Va

  12. #12
    Just me rad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BONWIT View Post
    No, there's nothing in the helmet touching the plugs. I've tried it with two different helmets. . . same result. I would guess that testing without a helmet would show some improvement because the air noise would mask the booming. In fact, the noise is less noticeable if I stick my head outside the windshield into the slipstream. The GS windshield does produce some buffeting, and that makes it worse.
    Sorry

    I have custom molded ear "buds" that are really just custom molded ear plugs with inserted speaker tubes. For just plane old noise reduction I use the highest rated foam ear plugs purchased in lots of 200. Each set is used for only one full day of riding then disposed of.

    Best of luck in your quest for good noise suppression.

  13. #13
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your troubles, sucks to spend that kind of money for poor performance. Ive had good luck molding my own, using a Radians kit bought on amazon. Works very well for only 10 bucks, after the second try. The first pair I made I used to much material and it sat just a little to proud of my ear and would pickup noise from the helmet and the bow on my glasses would become uncomfortable after a time. Second pair I understood better how to work the material and this pair works great, much more comfortable than foam plugs for me.
    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
    And we never even know we have the key

  14. #14
    Registered User cehlbeck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cal View Post
    Go to a reputable audiologist, ask for earplugs for motorsports and be done with it.
    I asked my audiologist the same question! I was told to stay away from the foam ones. If you go custom, she recommended one with a valve in them to allow some sounds through. But what they realy recommended were Etymotic musician's earplugs at only about $14.00 a pair. I was already wearing them having gotten them from Aerostich. Aerostich only sells the large sized though. The company has a website at www.etymotic.com and I wear the Ety plugs.

    I tried the home self molding kind and they really cut out sound around the house while trying them out. But on the bike they seemed to make the wind noise WORSE along with having to turn the intercom UP a lot. When I put the Ety Pugs in the wind noise was reduced greatly, you can have "gas station" conversations, and I was able to turn the intercom back down. A word of warning, they'll pull some gunk out of your ears but you can clean them.
    Chris Ehlbeck
    BMWMOA 168990
    Chris & Donna's Motorcycle Journeys

  15. #15
    Just me rad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cehlbeck View Post
    I asked my audiologist the same question! I was told to stay away from the foam ones.
    Just a quick guess, you have an audiologist that does not ride........

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