Find an audiologist that is a Westone dealer. They will make a mold of your ears and get you either motorcycle specific ear plugs or they have a wide variety of earphone you can choose from. I have used both for the past several years and I am more then pleased with them.
It makes me wonder if those folks who don't get this booming have plugs that don't really seal as well as they should.
At this point, I'm not sure what to do. Should I try to reshape the plug to eliminate the seal, or just use them for other activities like working in the shop?
BOOMING SOUND: We are clearly talking about two different things:
1. This is "a test" that you have inserted your earplugs properly. A few heavy footsteps SHOULD sound kind of like a bass drum if your earplugs are properly inserted. Try it without the helmet on to get "the sound." Put on your helmet - and be sure to pull HARD to the side on those straps as you ease it past your ears. A few more heavy steps should give the same bass drum effect.
2. If you get a "booming sound" on the bike (something I've never experienced) I would suggest standing up on the pegs to put your head in "clean air." If that completely solves the problem, you have a "windscreen problem." If you experience head buffeting in your normal riding position, you most definitely have a windscreen problem. If standing on the pegs DOESN'T solve the problem, you have a "helmet problem." Find some place safe to ride a few miles without a helmet at speed, be sure your earplugs are well installed - and see if the "booming" goes away. If it doesn't, I'm out of suggestions.
3. I have two pair of "custom" earplugs. Both are great for all high level of sound activities and both LEFT earplugs are great on the bike - but the right one tends to dislodge. Looked at them closely tonight in the mirror installed in my ears. The right one protruded a little farther than it had to. So with a razorblade knife I carved off the un-needed parts so hopefully the helmet won't dislodge it. Three months at least until I can license the bike and see if the solution works in the real world.
An important and difficult topic. If we remember we have the same goal, preserving or enhancing our hearing while remembering we all different, we should all be able to learn and add to this thread.
Can you remove your windshield and try them in totally clean air? Standing may just move the wind noise to a different spot on your helmet.
Is part of your helmet touching the plug? This would conduct the buffeting directly into your ear, like using a screwdriver to listen/pinpoint engine sounds.
'04 K12RS - Hannigan Hack
1. If the booming sound in your normal riding position translates into a "roaring sound" when you stand on the pegs, I suggest your earplugs are not working. Go back to foam plugs (the ones you gave up on in your OP,) be sure to install them correctly - trust you know how or will ask for the lengthy description - and then try riding standing on the pegs at speed. (Before you ride, try the "stomp test," helmet on, which should sound like a bass drum on each foot fall.) If your test ride standing upright has any other sound than a soft wind hiss - man, I am out of suggestions.
2. BUFFETING: Again we need to be sure we are talking about the same thing. 1. The kind that blurs you vision even when there is no wind, and 2. the kind of strong gusty winds which moves your bike around and requires constant steering inputs. I've experienced both. #1 in my experience is ALWAYS a windscreen problem. I eventually sorted it out on my first bikes - Honda CB750's, and haven't had the problem with either my K75 with an Aeroscreen windscreen or the current K100RS. My guess is that issue can best be sorted out for you on the forum for your bike. Mention your height and whether you have a long, normal or short upper body and, since this a popular model, I bet you will get a lot of good advice. When you sort out #1, you just live with #2 until it becomes dangerous.
Hope that is useful.
Here's my take on it after years of using earplugs as a musician, gun enthusiast and emergency vehicle operator. I have had many different sets of earplugs and I feel I have really found the perfect setup for me on my bike.
Currently, I use either "softies" foam earplugs (that are provided for me at work) or my Surefire EP4s (http://www.surefire.com/ep4-sonic-defenders-plus.html) while on the bike. The Surefires are nice because they have a lower NRR rating (24 NRR) which is just enough to bring down the dangerous sound levels, while still letting me hear my music and my surroundings, however their flange design will become uncomfortable on stretches longer than an hour or two. The foam earplugs work really well also and my new Sena speakers are loud enough to get through them for me to hear music, but when stopped it's quite difficult to have a conversation with them in.
Molded earplugs are not always ideal for riding. I have a nice pair I bought with switchable filters for playing music as they do the best job of letting in a good representation of sound while bringing down harmful levels. The problem with these, is in a well fitting helmet, there may be pressure on the filters or flange of the plug. This is not as pronounced with foam earplugs as foam has a great way of not transmitting vibrations as well as a harder filter or material.
The concept of the loud bassy sound you are getting is very simple. With the molded plug in (you can get this a lot with almost all earbuds as well), anything putting pressure on it will transmit the low frequencies through the material directly into your ear canal. A well fitting helmet will often put pressure on this area, causing the sound of wind passing your helmet to be transmitted directly into you ear. This is why I went to a speakers/earplug setup in my helmet rather than just earbuds. It also greatly helps to have a helmet designed to take speakers as it will have recesses around the ears and not put as much pressure directly over your ear canal. I got a Nolan, which allowed me to install speakers without creating any extra pressure.
So if you're trying to reduce "boominess" while retaining a lower overall sound level and possibly listening to music, take a look at your earplugs and how much they come in contact with your helmet. This can be remedied with different plugs or different helmets. Obviously changing helmets is a more expensive choice. My Nolan is nowhere near as nice as my Shoei X11 (especially with no plugs in), but when I have my earplugs in and Sena on, the Nolan is much preferred.
2013 R1200RT 90th - "Tyr" - Purchased 12/13/2013 brand new!
2007 R1200S - "Sexy Beast"
2006 R1200RT "Wōden" - 84k - Retired and sold
I was fitted with Big Ear earplugs at Bike Week, Myrtle Beach 6 years ago and wear them all the time and the fit is great! I find it easier to listen to music with them in and have had no problem with air gaps.
2011 BMW R1200 GSA
Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
Sorry to hear 🙉 that. Even thou my experience was good, after hearing this I will probably try a different vendor. There is no excuse for a merchant treating a customer like that! It's a small world when specialized products are involved. I will factor this in for future purchases!
2011 BMW R1200 GSA