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An old friend and his wife have taken up motorcycle riding in their retirement days.
He frequently asks for my inputs on subjects commonly seen here on the boards.
When he asked about hearing damage and the options....I sent him my thoughts and plans about it.

I decided I would post this in case someone on the board might find it of interest.
These are just my thoughts on the subject....so unless you feel I am putting someone in danger....
don't beat me up over technicalities. It's just a hobby!

With age creeping in and hearing creeping out.....
I am looking for ways to reduce the stress on what ears I still have.
The problem is that we like to hear music while riding.....but....
Any music you play has to be loud enough to overcome the road noise around you.
The road noise is already loud enough to damage hearing if subjected to it for long periods.
So, adding the music just makes it louder and even more damaging to the ears.

I've always thought it good to wear ear plugs while riding the noisy highways on a motorcycle.
Pat and I have been wearing them when on the long highway stretches and it does cut the background noise....
and we both agree we feel less "stressed out" after coming off a 200 mile stretch of highway speed noise.

Sometimes the ear plugs cuts the sound too much!
So we have to be selective of which type of ear plug we use....
The rubbery types that usually have little flanges on them cut the sound so much you can't hear much of anything.
That's not good for two reasons....safety.... and it cuts out your music along with all the other sounds.
The foam squishy type ear plugs seem to work the best... as they take out the background howl and growl of the highway speeds....
but allow the sirens, horns, intercom and music to come through pretty well.

Unfortunately, they tend to a make the music rather dull as they notch out some frequencies that make the music sound good.
Also, you are still fighting the problem of having to run the volume up until what comes through the ear plugs
is loud enough to override the highway sounds....at the risk of again stressing the ears.

And running the volume high adds the chance of having the music distorted because the small fairing speakers
or even smaller headset speakers cannot provide high volumes without distorting.
And distortion is an even greater cause of hearing stress than just the howling and growling of the highway sounds.

So, it would be best if you could block out the damaging and undesireable outside noises....
while introducing a low volume music on the inside, where it doesn't have to be loud enough to pass through the ear plugs.

There are a lot of "earbud" "in the ear" headphones that have become popular due to their use with ipods and MP3 players.
The cheaper "in-ear" types of these "earbuds" aren't really fitted in your ear...
they just have a foam tip that gets compressed in the ear.
They help block out a little outside noise, and they will stay in place if you're careful.
Many of them tend to stick out from the ear to some extent.
Since they are not very well seated in the ear... and they stick out some.....
it can be difficult putting on a helmet without knocking them loose.

Some versions, frequently more expensive versions, of the "earbud" "in-the-ear" types
use the rubbery flanged materials and tend to block out more outside noise.
However, many of them also stick out from the ear some and are in danger of getting knocked loose by the helmet....
or of having the helmet rubbing against them and causing you discomfort.

So, we need something that has a reasonable noise blocking ability....
has a speaker inside the noise blocking part...
is fitted to the ear so it is sort of locked in place....
and does not have any parts sticking out to be bumped by the helmet.

Custom fit earphones, that can do this.....
usually cost hundreds of dollars.....
require a trip to a specialist for sizing and fitting...
and are expensive to repair when they are damaged (like getting the wires caught and pulling them out).....
So, in keeping with the "Wing riders are cheap" custom....
I've never really given the high dollar stuff much consideration.

Well, the EarFuze folks are offering a "do it yourself" fitting kit with "in-the-ear" speaker elements....
a part that you custom fit to your ears.....
that blocks more outside noise and holds when in place....
and leaves nothing sticking out to bump on the helmet......
and it goes for $35.

I've read several reviews by motorcycle riders and they all seem to be happy.
I am currently painting new helmets.... HJC Symax-II models to replace the 7 year old Symax that have served well.
I have already purchased new headsets and modifed them by replacing the helmet speakers with speakers from Koss KSC-50 headphones.
I chose these as I had previously used the older version (KSC-35) headphone speakers in the old helmets (and they performed well for 7 years).
I'll have to install the new headsets in the new helmets and this will be a good time to modify the wiring to accept jacks for plugging in earbuds.
So I ordered two Earfuze kits and will see how they work for me and Pat.
They have a nice little video of how they are fitted to your ears.
http://www.earfuze.com/index.html

I didn't tell my friend how I got pointed towards the Earfuze kits.....
But since I'm now posting this on the board.....
I should give a "thank you" to Fred Harman for starting a thread asking for inputs on in-ear headphones....
and another thanks to David (TexanTrail) for posting the reply about the Earfuze products.
 

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For the reason you have stated, I just run my 70's music thru the speakers and crank them up. I made a living playing music some time ago and appreciate good sound, however, I realize I'm not going to have Carnegie sound in a beer bar environment. I just accept the music the way it is and enjoy. I have upgraded all my speakers. My ears are still intact and I can also hear whats going on around me. Cheers...:doorag:
 

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music

I use the speakers now on the 1800. Prior to that though I used bose head phones. When i went from earbuds to headphones it was absolutely amazing the difference. I am hard of hearing anyway (higher ranges) as a result of running loud equipment and firearms. Yes I do know NOW that this was some what preventable.

I wear a 1/2 helmet and can use these with it. I wore them when I took my trip to NZ and wore them 6-8 hrs at a stretch. Very comfortable, not heavy great sound. I think I paid $139 at Target.
 

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www.mic-mutes.com try this works great for me and if my wife wants to talk to me she can unmute the mics. ride safe mike in ga..:thumbup:
 

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Ear buds are good, but they have to be wired in to a helmet headset. I do get tired of the wind noise drowning out the music in the ear phones.
 

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I use Edsets, in my 3/4 helmet (volume between 12 and 15) and in my Schuberth C3. No problem at all with the hearing of music.
 

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DreamCatcher, Nice write-up! I went thru everything you talked about and glad you could put it into words. I started with helmet speakers, then foam earplugs (which I believe everyone should use when riding, but that's a different story). Bottom line for me was I had a set delivered for less than $35. Cheap enough to see if they were for me. If I didn't like them, I wasn't out a lot of money. Well I liked them and they are perfect for every day use. If they lasted only a year, I could get a replacement each year for almost ten years and still be ahead.

Caution should be added about the cords. They can be caught pretty easy with your hand or fingers. I would guess that would be the same with most others.

PS., It's David, Not Dennis ;)

And emsp3611, I have mic-mutes on my bike also. Good compliment for whatever you are listening thru.

David
 

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In some states wearing headphones/ear buds while driving is a legal no no.:cop2:
 

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Great write up George !!

Maybe you or David (or anyone else that has done this) can tell a techno newby how to modify the jack to plug into the audio side of the 5 pin din connector like I have on my edsets ?

Has anyone come up with a way to "dress down" the wires so that they aren't so easily damaged ?

I think I'll order a set or two.

Thanks for the info !
 

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Great option for those who want earmolds. I'll stick with foam eartips though.
In some states wearing headphones/ear buds while driving is a legal no no.:cop2:
Yup. And in some it is a grey area. Most of the time, you'll need to be breaking some other law to get tagged for it though...
 

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Great write up George !!

Maybe you or David (or anyone else that has done this) can tell a techno newby how to modify the jack to plug into the audio side of the 5 pin din connector like I have on my edsets ?

Has anyone come up with a way to "dress down" the wires so that they aren't so easily damaged ?

I think I'll order a set or two.

Thanks for the info !

Podo,
I have the 3G from Edsets which has a 3.5mm plug. Edsets has adaptors you can use.
http://www.edsets.com/edsets_adapters As far as dressing down the wires, I really haven't done anything except be carefull.
 

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We currently have J&M headsets with the normal cord to hook up and have molded ear plugs. These work pretty well, but the Fuze souds very interesting. Has anyone adapted these to work with the J&M type of setup? If so, how was it done? These sound like a great option.
 

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Thanks for the info Dreamcatcher! I'll be interested in how well you like them. Keep us informed. They look like a nice set-up.:yes1:
 

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I am looking into buying these wholesale if the price is right to offer them for sale on my website. My only question is:

How do I use them with the 5 pin headset hookup I currently have? I'm using J&M headsets but would prefer these.

Ron DeLaughter
Cowhide Covers
www.cowhidecovers.com
 

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I know that headphones are illegle in some states, but I have heard that deaf people can still drive. So I guess that I don't get it. Headphones or deaf. Either way some can hear a little and some hear nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all the inputs folks.....
Here's a few comments in reply.


For the reason you have stated, I just run my 70's music thru the speakers and crank them up. I made a living playing music some time ago and appreciate good sound, however, I realize I'm not going to have Carnegy sound in a beer bar environment. I just accept the music the way it is and enjoy. I have upgraded all my speakers. My ears are still intact and I can also hear whats going on around me. Cheers...:doorag:
Hey Stick.....glad you can hear the speakers well at highway speeds.
I can turn it up until I hear it....but....the sound pressure level is already at damaging levels before I even turn up the music. When I turn up the speakers it just adds more damaging decibels to what's already swamping my ears.
After many decades of cycle noise and industrial noise my hearing has bad spots across the frequency range. So when there is noise present my ears cannot pick out the good sounds from the noise. I have to get rid of the noise if I want to understand anything I hear.

www.mic-mutes.com try this works great for me and if my wife wants to talk to me she can unmute the mics. ride safe mike in ga..:thumbup:
I agree with you about the mic-mutes being a good thing. Unfortunately it's not noise coming in the mic that is my problem. It's as I described to Slick above.

Ear buds are good, but they have to be wired in to a helmet headset. I do get tired of the wind noise drowning out the music in the ear phones.
Thanks for another report that the buds may be my savior Sailor. I have installed some excellent speakers in my headsets and when there is no heavy ambient noise... those things sound VERY good. My ears just can't filter out the noise when it gets heavy.... so even the good speakers only help some.

I use Edsets, in my 3/4 helmet (volume between 12 and 15) and in my Schuberth C3. No problem at all with the hearing of music.
Yeah putty... I've heard the Edsets and I put their helmet speakers right up there with headsets that have been converted to speakers from Stereo headphones. I wish my hearing could still pick the good sounds out of the mixture of music and road noise....in years past, when the hearing had not deteriorated, I was like you and enjoyed the helmet speakers.

DreamCatcher, Nice write-up! I went thru everything you talked about and glad you could put it into words. I started with helmet speakers, then foam earplugs (which I believe everyone should use when riding, but that's a different story). Bottom line for me was I had a set delivered for less than $35. Cheap enough to see if they were for me. If I didn't like them, I wasn't out a lot of money. Well I liked them and they are perfect for every day use. If they lasted only a year, I could get a replacement each year for almost ten years and still be ahead.

Caution should be added about the cords. They can be caught pretty easy with your hand or fingers. I would guess that would be the same with most others.

PS., It's David, Not Dennis ;)

And emsp3611, I have mic-mutes on my bike also. Good compliment for whatever you are listening thru.

David
Sorry about the name mix up David...... and thanks for your post in that other thread.... it pointed me to the EarFuze stuff and that got me to think my way through the situation (as I described in the starting post.)


In some states wearing headphones/ear buds while driving is a legal no no.:cop2:
I may be having trouble hearing some things Cap...... but I hear you loud and clear on this one. :lol:
I have ridden all the lower 48 and I have to admit I have not made an effort to determine what each states law is.....
I know it's no justification...but I have cars that are so quiet you cannot hear much of anything outside them when they are all closed up....and
"v65_ points out another twist. After all these years I still feel I can hear what's going on around me in all the various listening modes I've tried..
(except for some extremely quiet ear plugs that I only used two times and discarded). I'll give this ear-bud thing a try and if it doesn't allow enough external sound to let me be safe.... I won't use them either.

I know that headphones are illegle in some states, but I have heard that deaf people can still drive. So I guess that I don't get it. Headphones or deaf. Either way some can hear a little and some hear nothing.

Great write up George !!
Maybe you or David (or anyone else that has done this) can tell a techno newby how to modify the jack to plug into the audio side of the 5 pin din connector like I have on my edsets ?
Has anyone come up with a way to "dress down" the wires so that they aren't so easily damaged ?
I think I'll order a set or two.
Thanks for the info !
I think you've hit the weak points podo....more jacks/plugs...modifications to wiring... wires easily tangled and damaged....
I have a nice electronics workshop and can fiddle away many hours making
things as rugged as I can....
and I imagine the most efficient connection for the ear-buds it to emulate Ed's
method and add the necessary jacks to the existing cables.
Fabricating this stuff is not complex but not something to tackle if you don't have some familiarity with the subject.
Like David says below..... Edsets may be able to provide the adapters needed.
And along with being careful with the small wires.... try to tie the wires down in a fashion that helps relieve strain at the points most susceptible to damage.

Podo,
I have the 3G from Edsets which has a 3.5mm plug. Edsets has adapters you can use.
http://www.edsets.com/edsets_adapters As far as dressing down the wires, I really haven't done anything except be carefull.
I am looking into buying these wholesale if the price is right to offer them for sale on my website. My only question is:
How do I use them with the 5 pin headset hookup I currently have? I'm using J&M headsets but would prefer these.
Ron DeLaughter
Cowhide Covers
www.cowhidecovers.com
Now that's the old entrepreneur spirit Ron....
As for the connections.... if you aren't into Do-it-yourself wiring projects...
I'd take TexasTrails advice above....and check if Edsets can provide the adapter you need.
 

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I have a lot of experience with both the custom made earphone and the Earfuze kits. I am of the opinion (everyone has one) that you get what you pay for.

While the Earfuze kits do work, and I have made several sets for myself and friends. They are a step up from headsets, but in no way do they compare to a quality made set of custom earphones. They are not as good at blocking the outside noise, they are not as comfortable to wear for long periods, and the sound is not as good.

I even found a company who makes the rubberery stuff and tried several different ear plugs. Myself, I'll stick with the custome made ones.

Burt
 

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I do not play an Audiologist on TV; but I am one in real life. Ed of EdSets sells a nice ear bud adapter for the 5 pin DIN couplers on the Wing and his set-up allows continued use of your microphone. If installed properly into a properly fitted helmet, the in the helmet speakers do offer a decent signal to noise advantage. They must rest right up against teh external ear for fidelity and S:N advantage. The best in the ear speaker systems such as the Etymotic Research ones with stock sound excluding cuffed or foam tips are very effective for most folks ears -- but we are not all the same. The major hearing loss risk is not highway noise, nor even amplified intercom or music, but wind baffle. The only real solution is to greatly reduce that baffle. Oddly enough, I have found that 3/4 helmets are quieter than flip face or full face "for me"; but I hate to see folks compromising safety for hearing protection. Also beaware of local laws and use of sound systems and do take great care while getting used to driving mostly by sight awareness.

I use the Tulsa Extra Tall swept back windscreen. I did not initially like the "look through" the screen requirement, but my passengers loved the quiet ride. This thing really makes the Wing quiet. Even the external speaker sound system becomes functional at modest cruise speeds. I also placed Tulsa mirror wings to keep the swirl baffle of wind off of me and the passenger from around the sides. I do not konw if other tall sields are as quiet, Alan at Tulsa once mentioned his original swept back design to be his quietest so far in regard to baffle protection. The tall shield does let you hear rear tire noise more, but that is mostly an annoyance and not a risk and can be greatly reduced with Cobra tires. If your sound excluding ear cuffs of your Etymotic buds do not fit well enough to exclude ambient noise, then your audiologist can possibly offer lager foam plugs such as those we use in diagnostic procedures. If you have or suspect loss of hearing and have no audiologist, then that is a flaw you need to correct pronto -- sensory hearing lost, is lost forever. Age related hearing loss (presbyacusis) typically is not a factor in our riding years. Socioacusis certainly is, loss of hearing due to lound lifestyles we lead, our medications, our diets, our illnesses, etc. Typically, hearing loss of aging becomes a factor in our 70's. Socioacusis begins in the nursery. I have made custom speaker systems in hearng aid shells and was not impressed with noise exclusion or fidelity -- but then again, I was already spoiled by the Etymotics that Mead Killion designed.

prs
 

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My comment on the customs. I've been wearing custom molded earbuds for years and have never pulled the cord out of the buds. I route the cord under my jacket so the plug comes out the bottom of my jacket. I pull up enough slack at the top of the jacket so I can turn my head fully both directions. All day comfort. As for the benefits and pitfalls, prs is far more knowledgeable in those areas.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I do not play an Audiologist on TV; but I am one in real life. Ed of EdSets sells a nice ear bud adapter for the 5 pin DIN couplers on the Wing and his set-up allows continued use of your microphone. If installed properly into a properly fitted helmet, the in the helmet speakers do offer a decent signal to noise advantage. They must rest right up against teh external ear for fidelity and S:N advantage. The best in the ear speaker systems such as the Etymotic Research ones with stock sound excluding cuffed or foam tips are very effective for most folks ears -- but we are not all the same. The major hearing loss risk is not highway noise, nor even amplified intercom or music, but wind baffle. The only real solution is to greatly reduce that baffle. Oddly enough, I have found that 3/4 helmets are quieter than flip face or full face "for me"; but I hate to see folks compromising safety for hearing protection. Also beaware of local laws and use of sound systems and do take great care while getting used to driving mostly by sight awareness.

I use the Tulsa Extra Tall swept back windscreen. I did not initially like the "look through" the screen requirement, but my passengers loved the quiet ride. This thing really makes the Wing quiet. Even the external speaker sound system becomes functional at modest cruise speeds. I also placed Tulsa mirror wings to keep the swirl baffle of wind off of me and the passenger from around the sides. I do not konw if other tall sields are as quiet, Alan at Tulsa once mentioned his original swept back design to be his quietest so far in regard to baffle protection. The tall shield does let you hear rear tire noise more, but that is mostly an annoyance and not a risk and can be greatly reduced with Cobra tires. If your sound excluding ear cuffs of your Etymotic buds do not fit well enough to exclude ambient noise, then your audiologist can possibly offer lager foam plugs such as those we use in diagnostic procedures. If you have or suspect loss of hearing and have no audiologist, then that is a flaw you need to correct pronto -- sensory hearing lost, is lost forever. Age related hearing loss (presbyacusis) typically is not a factor in our riding years. Socioacusis certainly is, loss of hearing due to lound lifestyles we lead, our medications, our diets, our illnesses, etc. Typically, hearing loss of aging becomes a factor in our 70's. Socioacusis begins in the nursery. I have made custom speaker systems in hearng aid shells and was not impressed with noise exclusion or fidelity -- but then again, I was already spoiled by the Etymotics that Mead Killion designed.

prs
Huh? Whud yuh say? :joke:
Thanks for the detailed post prs.....:thumbup:

Now....if I can just figure out why my hearing doesn't work when the wife says..
"Take out the trash."
But.... let someone in a crowd of twenty thousand say..."Hey, check out that baby!"
and I'm ALL EARS!:shrug:
 
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