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Do you use any type of in-ear hearing protection while motorcycling?

  • Yes

    Votes: 60 53.1%
  • No

    Votes: 40 35.4%
  • It depends...

    Votes: 14 12.4%

  • Total voters
    113
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Discussion Starter #21
One thing that I noticed wearing ear protection was that after a full day of riding with ear protection I wasn't as tired at the end of the day.
But one thing I did notice and it was pointed out in the article and mentioned in a couple other posts, I didnt feel as beat up on road trips at the end of the day. I never realized how wind noise would affect you like that until after actually trying it. I have to start remembering to use them more often now...
I took a bit of convincing that this function was legit; you could easily ride longer (not necessarily farther...) and fatigue is reduced to some degree. Some of that relates to the level of volume your ears are subject to when you dial up the knob when you're cruising at 65 or 75 MPH for a couple hours at a stretch. Fatigue is coming from all sound sources, not just wind noise.

It's more challenging when you want to try it, and your passenger doesn't feel the hassle is worth the bother to plug in.
 

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Best ear plugs I've had have been ones that were made from a mould of the ear.

Best set was by a company that came to workplace and made them for everybody.
2nd best was ones made by a business that also made/fitted hearing aids.
+1 on that topic. I invested in my hearing and got Big Ear custom moulded ear buds at the motorcycle show in Toronto. They reduce the wind noise very well and they allow me to listen to my tunes at low volume levels. The sound quality is excellent.
 

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got Big Ear custom moulded ear buds at the motorcycle show in Toronto
Just to comment that everyone's different. I have custom earplugs for other uses, I find that on the bike they are too quiet, making my tinnitus get louder and pretty annoying. And they block so much midrange that I can't hear the Sena speakers.

I use Eargasm plugs which filter out the low and high frequency wind noises, but let through enough midrange that I can hear the Sena speakers without difficulty.
 

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Just to comment that everyone's different. I have custom earplugs for other uses, I find that on the bike they are too quiet, making my tinnitus get louder and pretty annoying. And they block so much midrange that I can't hear the Sena speakers.

I use Eargasm plugs which filter out the low and high frequency wind noises, but let through enough midrange that I can hear the Sena speakers without difficulty.
I actually bought ear buds and not plugs. I removed the Sena speakers from the helmet and have the ear buds plugged into my Sena instead. The sound quality of these buds is excellent without having wind noise masking certain frequencies and forcing me to increase the volume.
 

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Pretty compelling article about the benefits of wearing ear protection while motorcycling:

Very worthwhile discussion. I don't want to come across like I'm on an ego trip here but think it is relevant that I've published a few peer-reviewed papers on hearing protection devices (HPDs). So what I'm saying next isn't just me or my opinions (mostly). With that said, here are some comments:
1. Yes, wear hearing protection all the time. Whoever said earlier to consider this ATGATT is spot on b/c MC noise provides cumulative trauma to your ears and this type of hearing loss is permanent.
2. To improve your insert's protection, use a small amount of lubricant and twist the plug. Many insert failures are due to poor placement/user error. You don't just cram it in...there is a technique. "Oto Ease" is one brand sold at drug stores but there are others, and it comes in convenient single-use packets (directed at the hearing aid market initially).
3. In my own measurements I found high levels of noise at highway speeds which came as no surprise. But what was surprising was that when using the FM radio to listen to music the decibel levels increased a lot, like 5-8; from 95 dB to 100+. These were outside-the-helmet values. The takeaway is to keep the music level as low as you can.
4. The article provided by kwthom was both good and bad. It makes a good case for wearing HP. But its inaccurate in several places, to sell their own brand I'd guess. The big issue is, where are the numbers? Can you imagine reading an article about an automobile or MC engine and not getting an engine performance curve, or horsepower or torque specs? HPDs use something called a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) and I didn't see that in the article anywhere. The NRRs vary by brand and model, from 15-35 generally. As a general guide always buy the HPD with the highest NRR unless you can't fit it properly, it causes pain, or you simply won't use that type. Women's ear canals are usually smaller than men's so your wife's choice of HPD could be different than yours.

More could be said but hopefully some of you will find these observations worthwhile.
 

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While I always wear 3M Foam ear plugs while riding, but they are illegal to use in certain states. (Maryland is one of them)

I am sure that the law is directed to cagers, but there is no exception for motorcycles.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
It makes a good case for wearing HP. But its inaccurate in several places, to sell their own brand I'd guess. The big issue is, where are the numbers?
<...>
More could be said but hopefully some of you will find these observations worthwhile.
Toward the end of the article:

Note: We are not sponsored or have any affiliation with Alpine Hearing and make no money from sales
This article updated: May 2020
I found the article by way of another motorcycle forum - thought the general topic would again be of use for those that aren't using ATGATT for the ol' ears.

Especially in this group of riders; most (including myself...) having some loss of hearing over the decades.

Going this week to an audiologist to get ear molds made for custom-fit IEM's. I'll write up something on that for a future blog entry.
 

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I had my audiologist make custom fit ear plugs about 10 years ago. I'm still using those custom ear plugs. I agree that ear plugs are part of ATGATT. I started using the foam plugs decades ago, Unfortunatly not soon enough to prevent permanent hearing loss. The custom fit plugs are far supior to the foam style.
 

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While I always wear 3M Foam ear plugs while riding, but they are illegal to use in certain states. (Maryland is one of them)

I am sure that the law is directed to cagers, but there is no exception for motorcycles.
You can use the custom molded ones in Maryland. But as you said the foam ones are illegal in MD. California has the same law as Maryland. Earplugs are completely illegal in Alaska of any kind.

But other than that they are full legal in every state. Ohio just changed their law, I was the guy that got that to happen. Took two years but I got to hang with the governor a couple months back when he signed it into law.
 

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Never took care of my hearing when I was younger. Construction work, power tools, dirt bikes, chainsaws, firearms, etc...It's had the expected effect.
Started using earbuds with snowmobiles to keep the noise levels down (more track rotational noise than engine noise if Trail riding) and to listen to music and/or hear my phone notifications.
Began using them with the bikes soon after starting getting into street bikes. Control the wind noise, keep listening levels lower and greatly reduced riding fatigue. I've never had a street bike loud enough to cause any audio concern. I just don't like wind. It irritates me to listen to it even when I'm doing yard work and just seems to wear me out more when riding.
 

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This will always be a subjective question and answer because there is no way to quantify it with any meaningful data. Any answers will always be opinion, not fact. And there are many variables, helmet, amount of bike and wind noise, typical riding speeds, the type of earplug, not to mention differences in individual hearing. Every bike and every rider is different.

There is no doubt that the noise on a motorcycle can be detrimental to your hearing, so from a health standpoint, yes they are beneficial. But as far as being safer goes, there is no certainty there.

What kills me is that guys wear earplugs to protect their hearing, and then turn the music up to ear splitting volumes.
 

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I actually bought ear buds and not plugs. I removed the Sena speakers from the helmet and have the ear buds plugged into my Sena instead. The sound quality of these buds is excellent without having wind noise masking certain frequencies and forcing me to increase the volume.

I use Pluphones ear buds connected to my Sena 10S. My hearing is so bad that it's the only way I can hear the Sena at speeds over 40 MPH.
 

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But as far as being safer goes, there is no certainty there.
One thing I will say is that on the highway, without plugs, the wind noise blocks everything out. I can't hear anything else, including the engine.
With my Eargasms the wind noise is blocked, but midrange sounds are more audible. I can hear the cars around me, sirens, etc. Not a lot, but much more than with the wind noise blocking everything else out.
 

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Check your state law it is illegal to were any ear plug if it blocks or reduces sounds that alert the driver of possible danger. This thread appears every time a ad appears. Before someone says how about the rider who can not hear, if an police car or other emergency vehicle is in emergency and the rider or driver can not hear to move over, he will be responsible for the accident if it occurs. These laws have been on the books for years,
 

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Ear protection lowers all sounds equally.

If the horn siren was loud enough to be heard over the ambient 'sound', it will still be be loud enough to be heard with hearing protection in place.

Devices that fit in or over the ear and are a sound source, or headphones producing sound, are a different story - and much tougher to evaluate since they are both producing sound and reducing outside sounds.
 

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Definitely YES. Even deaf people drive very well.

prs
 
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