As others have said, Howard Leight Laser Lite earplugs work well for me on most rides (with no irritation). On especially annoying windy days, I use Howard Leight MAX earplugs for noise reduction. These I can not wear for as long a period as the Laser Lites possibly because I have small ear canals.
My earplugs never get dirty. I have three tiny carry cases, each holding two pairs of earplugs. Two cases rest in my left pocket as backup and the active one in the right pocket. Usually throughout the course of a ride, I switch between the two pairs of earplugs in the right pocket. This seems to allow the foam to go back to it's natural shape to permit re-use at the next stop. When one of these pairs wears out, another case of earplugs goes into the right pocket.
Water from the camel pack, spit but preferably I try to use mineral oil carried in a small bottle in the glove box, goes into the ears before the earplugs.
Had four sets of custom made earplugs/speakers made over the last eight years. Found them to be pricey and ineffective at reducing wind noise. Been told that my ear cartilage is softer than most and hence a good seal can not be made.
My jacket and tank bag, as well as panniers always have far more earplugs for a trip than most my riding companions think is necessary, but I never wish to run short of this inexpensive, but essential safety item.
Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
Treasurer of the Forest City Motorrad Club #159
Knights of the Roundel #333
1. I drop them and can't get the imbedded gravel/dirt out
2. I leave then in the sun on top of the tank bag while stopped and they melt to the consistency of finger paint
3. My grand kids think they are play dough and mix it with other colors
To be truthful, I get a new set probably after 7-10 days of use (not 7-10 uses)
I've had the best luck with Howard Leight Max foam plugs. I roll them like in the video Ted posted.
I saw a tip either here or on advrider to carry a small bottle of "swimmers ear" stuff from the drug store to lube the ear plugs before putting them in. 95% alcohol. I used to just spit on them, but I like the swimmers ear stuff better.
Well, shoot...the 3M 1100's didn't work. I played with about 10 pairs and rolled the heck out of them, and still couldn't get them in my ear canal. So my wife and I compared ear canals. I could drive a truck through hers...but mine are so narrow you can hardly see them.
So now I have a box of nearly 200 pairs of foam plugs. Maybe my neighbor, who has a construction business, can use them.
I've order 10 pairs of Howard Leight "Quiet Re-usable" plugs to try. They don't require rolling, as they have an integrated stem that allows you to insert them like a Q-tip. The stem doesn't protrude, so is complementary with helmets. I'm hopeful. Those roll-up plugs are too much work, and would be a PITA on the road. Also, the Howard Leight "Quiet" plugs are washable...NRR is 26 db. Adequate, and sure better than nothing.
Will report back my experience.
As a 68 yr old guy with noise induced hearing loss I have to say that there is always room to talk about how to best protect your hearing.I've used many brands of ear plugs over the years & yes, some are more comfortable & some are easier to get "right" but the important thing is to use them! In their own way they are an ATGATT item IMO. Picking out the ones that work best is , I suppose a subjective thing but worth discussion as it's about our hearing & that's a bit beyond the oil thread stuff in the food chain of human cares?
I use the Shrek version, purple ones & the baby blue ones too from Wally world.
I have been proactive toward preservation of my remaining hearing for many years, particularly since the 1960's during which I was exposed to everything from lots of guns(still true recreation wise),helos , heavy industry farm machinery, meat packing,race cars & mc's.During the 1950's I id no use hearing protection yet was an active gun user for hunting and competition. My hearing profile as recently as early this summer closely resembles my flight physicals from the early 60's. During this period I've utilized a combo of mostly plugs but often also used earmuff protectors too.
My point is, that never during that time did I use anything that was custom or particularly expensive , yet I have been able to preserve my hearing . I think what matters is IF! you protect. Of course comfort matters & is a variable. My wife e.g., is very sensitive to which ear plugs but I find most to be fine with me.
I do prefer plugs during hot weather to avoid the heat of muffs. I reuse them until I lose them. I'm sure no medical type but after all your ear channel is exposed to the environment. I read an article a yr or so ago in Rider magazine wherein this guy was talking about how you can get this "exotic bacteria" via dirty ear plugs. I googled it and it happens to be one of the most common in the whole world & found in pretty much all soils throughout the world! Bottomline is it would be hard to remain unexposed to the stuff. Mine seem to look grungy soon after I start using them as the foam picks up grundge. I wouldn't use one after it was dropped in a gas station restroom(yuk!) but otherwise mine get reused & yes, this tightwad washes them occasionally. It is true that they don't roll up for insertion after washing but if you lay them aside they eventually return to original condition as they lose that moisture. If thats a problem for you, obviously lay into a supply of them & keep buying more. The main thing is IF! you use protection!
"A good stick is a good reason"
I'm using custom moulded ones for years now. I lost my first pair (one of them that is) during a trip where I didn't insert the left one properly (for the first time, don't know what happened) and at the next tankstop it was gone.
Now I have a new pair and you could order a colour, so I picked red. I thought that's easy when I drop them somewhere. Try to find transparant plugs when you drop them in a field or something...
I always clean them regulary with alcohol because I don't want to risk infection. Don't know if it's likely to happen, but I don't want to take chances with my hearing.
-=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-
I really like the Shrek version (see avatar ) I haven't had much luck with the 3m 1100 style either.
Put em out on the flea mkt?
When I ride my BMW, I have an O'Neill helmet, which I swear is the loudest helmet I've ever owned. The wind noise is thundering when the windshield is lowered. Ear plugs make for a comfortable ride. I use the orange foam conical type available at Walmart. A jar full has lasted me for a very long time. They are cheap, and they're always a Walmart around.
Whatever you choose, make sure they are comfortable, otherwise you won't use them for long.
I keep my foamies in an old style, squeeze-open coin purse. I used to use "snack-sized" sandwich bags but they were still a bit of a hassle to open and close. I figure a container of some kind may be a tad cleaner than at the bottom of my jacket pockets or handlebar bag. My next 'stich order will include this spring-loaded, squeeze-open, $4 gem:
2009 R1200RT, 2007 Shadow Aero 750 (sold)
2012 MINI Countryman S, 2004 MINI Cooper S JCW, 2000 BMW 328i
I did another all day ride yesterday with my Sensaphonics. I pretty much had them in all day but for a short lunch stop and a couple of short breaks in the riding and they're as comfortable when I took them out at the end of the day as they were at the beginning. The big difference I found with these over the Westones or others is that they're made of a softer silicone. I also use a very tiny amount of Neosporin + Pain relief on them and they slide in easier, seal completely, and feel more comfortable.
Cons: They take a minute to get them on and get my jacket back on with the cord routed properly to my hat (Sena SMH10 w/ear phone conversion). I also wish they would have made them with a short cord but that wasn't an option. I have about 4 feet of cord to go from my ears to my helmet so I loop it down my back and never know it's there but it would be easier and less fuss with a short cord.
I'm pretty picky amount my comfort and convenience and I'm sold on these things. Sound quality is amazing, noise attenuation the best available and all day comfort - what's not to like (other than the price!)