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Thread: Custom Molded Ear Piece. . . FAIL

  1. #31
    Registered User 88bmwjeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobmws View Post
    Be sure to keep up with your hygiene, wash the vaseline from your ear and the earplug. There are anti-bacterial lubricants sold for hearing aid users. One brand is Oto-Ease, about the consistency of mineral oil, comes in a small bottle, one drop is usually sufficient. Find these products at the drugstore.
    Thanks. I'll look for some next time I go to the drugstore.
    Jeff in W.C.
    1988 R100 RT (the other woman)
    "I got my motorcycle jacket but I'm walking all the time." Joe Strummer

  2. #32
    Rally Rat nytrashman's Avatar
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    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.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobmws View Post
    Disclaimer: I sell custom molded plugs as a part time venture.

    The booming noise is called occlusion and indicates that you are getting a very good seal. The same effect happens with foam plugs that seal well and hearing aids. You should have the same effect if you stick you fingers in your ear. That's why you will see a singer cover one ear, they can better hear their own voice. Like Tinnitus, some folks are more sensitive to it than others.

    Some things I have learned about custom molded plugs in the last 15 years:
    If you are having an issue wearing custom molds under your helmet, wear them without the helmet while cutting the grass, snow blowing, or even vacuuming. This will separate a fit and seal issue from the external force from a helmet.

    An earplug makes a seal deep in the ear canal. When you use the foam ones the best seal is achieved when the plug is inserted so it is almost flush with the canal opening. A molded plug needs to be at the same depth for a good seal. Note that a molded plug is a fairly stiff material. Any pressure on the outside of the ear will cause the mold to rock a bit. This can create a leak in the seal and cause a pressure point in the ear or the canal. Your helmet is made with a relief for your ear, unfortunately 'your' ear may no be exactly where the manufacturer has placed this relief. You can adjust your helmet by peeling back the liner material and trimming the foam padding, NOT THE COMPRESSIBLE SAFETY MATERIAL, until there is no contact at all with your ear. This also works to give clearance for eyeglass wearers.

    You can temporarily break the seal of a molded plug with a large jaw movement, like a large smile or a yawn. These actions cause the ear canal to distort and change shape. An over the shoulder head check can do the same. If the plug has sufficient depth it will reseal when the canal returns to it's natural position. A properly inserted foam plug will not have these issues.

    All earplugs, foam and molded have a noise attenuation curve. Noise reduction increases as noise frequency increases. Most molded materials have a NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) of 26db. The NRR is measured at low frequency, where wind noise is. A 26db rated plug will be reducing sound by 30-34db at mid range, where the speaking voice is. This is why it is harder to hear conversations with your plugs in.
    Foam plugs can have a NRR as high as 33db. Remember NRR is at low frequency and will be in the 40-44db at speaking voice levels.
    The higher the NRR, the more effective an earplug will be.

    Bottom line, if you have an ear canal that allows you to comfortably achieve a seal and wear a foam plug, you won't see much benefit from a custom mold, unless you want a set with sound delivered inside the plug. On the other hand, if your canal won't allow you to use a generic plug, a custom mold may be for you.

    Happy Holidays and Great Rides to all.
    This is a very good explanation of what's going on, but I'm confused. You say the booming noise (occlusion) is normal and it indicates that I have a very good seal. You also say, like tinnitus, some people are more sensitive to it than others. Well, I have tinnitus, but have grown accustom to it. I don't think I could ever get used to this "bass drum in my head" experience I've had with these plugs. Like you indicated, I can temporarily break the seal with a large jaw movement, but I find it actually gives me relief from the base drum and I still get some noise reduction. Wearing these plugs when using power tools, or other non-motorcycle activities doesn't bother me like it does on the bike.

    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?

  4. #34
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Comments on a complicated subject

    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.
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCKRider View Post
    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.
    Doug, I'm riding a GS with a stock windshield, so there's going to be some buffeting. Even with a larger/better windscreen, I think you're going to get buffeting if it's a gusty/windy day (and it's always windy around here). It is a motorcycle after all. Standing on the pegs turns the bass drum into a loud roar.

  6. #36
    Curmudgeon At Large Bobmws's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BONWIT View Post
    This is a very good explanation of what's going on, but I'm confused. You say the booming noise (occlusion) is normal and it indicates that I have a very good seal. You also say, like tinnitus, some people are more sensitive to it than others. Well, I have tinnitus, but have grown accustom to it. I don't think I could ever get used to this "bass drum in my head" experience I've had with these plugs. Like you indicated, I can temporarily break the seal with a large jaw movement, but I find it actually gives me relief from the base drum and I still get some noise reduction. Wearing these plugs when using power tools, or other non-motorcycle activities doesn't bother me like it does on the bike.

    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?
    Quote Originally Posted by BCKRider View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by BONWIT View Post
    Doug, I'm riding a GS with a stock windshield, so there's going to be some buffeting. Even with a larger/better windscreen, I think you're going to get buffeting if it's a gusty/windy day (and it's always windy around here). It is a motorcycle after all. Standing on the pegs turns the bass drum into a loud roar.
    Do you get the booming with out your helmet, like when working in the shop?
    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.
    Bob Weis
    '04 K12RS - Hannigan Hack
    www.earplugco.com

  7. #37
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobmws View Post
    Do you get the booming with out your helmet, like when working in the shop?
    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.
    BONWIT, these are good questions and I hope you will answer them so people here can suggest other solutions. Again, I think you have TWO PROBLEMS and neither should be accepted as "just a fact if you ride a motorcycle."

    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.
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  8. #38
    Registered User natrab's Avatar
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    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.
    Nate R
    2013 R1200RT 90th - "Tyr" - Purchased 12/13/2013 brand new!
    2007 R1200S - "Sexy Beast"
    2006 R1200RT "Wōden" - 84k - Retired and sold

  9. #39
    Boxer n Cruiser jfmoore430's Avatar
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    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.
    John

    2011 BMW R1200 GSA
    2009 BMW G650 GS

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmoore430 View Post
    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.
    Big Ear replaced my first set with a second pair. They're great for walking and listening to music; absolutely useless for blocking extraneous noise. Glen Hood the owner, was totally dismissive of my complaint that his product, while under warranty, needed to be replaced or tweaked. Needless to say, I was very disappointed with the product and the failure to honour the warranty.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
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  11. #41
    Boxer n Cruiser jfmoore430's Avatar
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    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!
    John

    2011 BMW R1200 GSA
    2009 BMW G650 GS

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