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Thread: EAR PLUGS........what's the best / easiest to use ..??

  1. #16
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Custom-made plugs are generally of hard material, and my helmets don't have enough clearance around my ears to avoid pressing on them uncomfortably. I get by fine with the HL orange ones from Walgreens.
    Kent Christensen
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  2. #17
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    Custom-made plugs are generally of hard material, and my helmets don't have enough clearance around my ears to avoid pressing on them uncomfortably. I get by fine with the HL orange ones from Walgreens.
    My molded ear plugs are less than flush with my ears...so if I can get a helmet on, the earplugs will clear too! If my helmet pressed that hard on my ears even without ear plugs, I'd be looking for a new helmet.
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
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    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    My molded ear plugs are less than flush with my ears...so if I can get a helmet on, the earplugs will clear too! If my helmet pressed that hard on my ears even without ear plugs, I'd be looking for a new helmet.
    Or new ear plugs. No idea what Ikchris thinks earplugs are made of. I have some custom plugs that are pretty soft, however I wear the foam plugs most of the time.
    '03 R1150R, '03 F650GS, '97DR200SE,'78 Honda CT-90, '77Honda CT-90

  4. #19
    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    Custom-made plugs are generally of hard material, and my helmets don't have enough clearance around my ears to avoid pressing on them uncomfortably. I get by fine with the HL orange ones from Walgreens.

    FWIW... the iPlugs earphones can be specified as low profile (flush to the ear) for use with full face helmets. We have no problem with discomfort with ours, and these are inside Schubert C3 and C3W helmets.
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
    MSF #127350 NAUI #36288

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 05Train View Post
    Don't screw around with your hearing, get yourself a custom-fitted set and be done with it.
    +1; Fit is Always Perfect

  6. #21
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 71565 View Post
    I've been riding since 1962 (!) and just now am thinking of joining the "never ride W/O earplug" crowd........I just bought a beautiful 1999 R1100R with the BMW "factory" windscreen .. the wind noise inside my Shoei Multitec is unbelieveable / so I guess earplugs are the best solution ??
    what's the general opinion / what really works...please....thanks !!

    from the swamp..
    JPFITZ
    If you are still reading this thread, I guess you get the picture: our ear canals are as unique as our fingerprints. What works great and is comfortable for one can work lose, or never seat, or be truly uncomfortable for another.

    I would suggest you buy SMALL quantities of as many brands/models of "disposable" ear plugs as you can find on the net. Pay attention to all those annoying details of moistening the plugs, lifting the ear lobe with the opposite hand as you insert the rolled up earplug, holding it in place with your index finger while it expands (and, as noted, too fast when hot and very slow when cold.) Also remember to pull out on the chin straps when you put on the helmet so you don't dislodge the plugs. Then perform the "stomp test." If your tromping feet sound like a bass drum in your head, the plugs are doing their job. Better to find this out before you hit the road, DAMHIK.

    Custom plugs are not the solution for everyone either. I have two pairs and both are great when a helmet is not in the picture. Actually the left plug always does its job, but the right one is too easily dislodged despite my care in donning the helmet. So I use a disposable plug in the right ear.

    I, like many but certainly not all, find earplugs a PIA. But they are worth the hassle, not only to protect your remaining hearing but for the peace they offer you on the road. Unless you are lucky, expect to spend some time and dollars finding the perfect solution for you. As a musician with some hearing loss, I have to tell you if I couldn't find effective ear plugs, I wouldn't ride.
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  7. #22
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    I just read the Wiki on "noise induced hearing loss" & some interesting comments on anti-oxidant vitamins reducing hearing loss. Might be worth more research for someone that has something to save.
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

  8. #23
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    I carry three different types on my multi-day trips as I've found none that stay comfortable day after day. So I switch back and forth. For me, with my eccentric ear canal shape, the most comfortable are the soft silicone plugs that you hold in place till the material fills the canal. But having that warm moist air trapped behind them results in some itching long term.

    Most external ear infections are fungal. A trick I learned in the Marine Corps where we wore plugs endlessly is to instill a couple of drops of alcohol (single malt works fine) or an astringent like witch hazel or dilute vinegar in each ear at the end of the day. Death to fungus! Hint: witch hazel instead of alcohol or vinegar if you have any sores or irritation in your ear canal. DAMHIK.
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
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  9. #24
    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=glenfiddich;847420]

    Most external ear infections are fungal. A trick I learned in the Marine Corps where we wore plugs endlessly is to instill a couple of drops of alcohol (single malt works fine) or an astringent like witch hazel or dilute vinegar in each ear at the end of the day. Death to fungus! Hint: witch hazel instead of alcohol or vinegar if you have any sores or irritation in your ear canal. DAMHIK.[/QUOTE


    This is a very common problem to swimmers and divers (Swimmer's Ear). There are commercial products like "Ear-Dry" or "Swim-Ear" that accomplish the same thing. I always keep a couple of bottle of that stuff in my dive bag and the bike first aid kit.


    For anyone looking for sample of the foam-type ear plugs, Aerostitch has a couple of sample packs to try:

    http://www.aerostich.com/catalogsear...ance&p=2&q=ear
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
    MSF #127350 NAUI #36288

  10. #25
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    [QUOTE=ka5ysy;847421]
    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post

    Most external ear infections are fungal. A trick I learned in the Marine Corps where we wore plugs endlessly is to instill a couple of drops of alcohol (single malt works fine) or an astringent like witch hazel or dilute vinegar in each ear at the end of the day. Death to fungus! Hint: witch hazel instead of alcohol or vinegar if you have any sores or irritation in your ear canal. DAMHIK.[/QUOTE


    This is a very common problem to swimmers and divers (Swimmer's Ear). There are commercial products like "Ear-Dry" or "Swim-Ear" that accomplish the same thing. I always keep a couple of bottle of that stuff in my dive bag and the bike first aid kit.
    Clearly you were in the army, not the Marines!

    Thanks for serving.

    Pete
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  11. #26
    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    Custom-made plugs are generally of hard material, and my helmets don't have enough clearance around my ears to avoid pressing on them uncomfortably. I get by fine with the HL orange ones from Walgreens.
    +1

    I had a custom pair made for me at a bike show last year but didn't have my helmet with me. Just putting the helmet on jarred them loose and there is no way they would ever work with my speakers installed in the helmet either. I was really hoping for the custom ones to work but alas, no. I have tried many different kinds much like Paul and they all eventually fall out or if they do stay in cause the inner ear to to be very painful after a couple of hours. I still use them but on long trips i can only stand them every other day because of the ear pain.
    Ken
    [2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blue) - Mine]
    [2007 R1200RT (Sand Biege) - Hers]

  12. #27
    Registered User 88bmwjeff's Avatar
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    IMO, choosing the right solution here is like choosing the right pair of boots. You must try them on, so to speak. I would start with the foam type, they are inexpensive and you can try different levels of blocking to find the level you like. Overall, I found foam earplugs (when installed properly) to be a bit more quiet than the custom plugs, but not as comfortable. My left ear canal is narrower than my right, since my ear usually hurts when I wear foam earplugs for a long time (e.g. 4+ hours). Installing foam earplugs is more difficult.

    I had a pair of custom earphone/earplugs made and they are more comfortable than the foam. They cut out the wind noise sufficiently to have the music on the lowest setting. I later decided to have a regular pair custom earplugs made by the same person; however, one earplug is just not perfect. However, if I coat the earplug in a light amount of petroleum jelly, the plugs go in easier and block out more noise. Vaseline makes a small tube for lips that I keep with me.

    While I prefer the custom earplugs, I do carry the foam type and use them occasionally.
    Jeff in W.C.
    1988 R100 RT (the other woman)
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  13. #28
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Yeah... BUT

    OK, here we go...
    This is going DEEP.


    Like many folks, I, too, have hearing loss, from a very noisy life. Between work & fun, it is now both frustrating, and sometimes embarrassing, to not hear well enough for normal communications- much less communicating when it's critical in loud [work] environs.
    Of course, you never miss the water, til the well runs dry! So these days, I do what I can (mostly) to protect my hearing, and will actually go get tested and buy hearing aids in 2013!

    Having said that, I've been using the compressible "waxed" foam plugs which expand in the ear canal, same as have been mentioned in this thread, the E-A-R Classics. They are maybe the most effective at cutting db levels, in a disposable or non-custom ear plug. I get mine in handfuls from the EMTs where I work.
    BUT as was also mentioned, all ear canals differ! Like snowflakes, no two are the same. The throw away plugs I use, will not fit into my GFs ear! Furthermore, a buddy uses them too- but because they stick out from his ear, they rub against his helmet liner, making perhaps more noise than without them in! He cuts them down so they don't protrude from his ear.

    [MY] Conclusion: Custom Plugs. These (many of these) allow certain levels of sound to pass thru, but block harmful db levels. You can get them at many bike rallies, or at your local audiologist- heck maybe at Sears or Walmart, IF they have a Hearing Center. They are going to be under 100.00 and made to fit YOUR ear. Boom. Done. There are definitely custom ear plugs in my future.
    Here is a link to some research on ear plugs & hearing protection from WebBikeWorld's review site:

    http://www.webbikeworld.com/Earplugs/earplugs.htm

    A new helmet isn't the fix either- here is another link to a WBW.com helmet noise study:

    http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcyc...lmet-noise.htm

    There are various devices to add to your gear kit, that help block the noise levels, like neck-rings, or collars, and whatnot- but who needs all the extra gak?

    The Laminar Lip was mentioned- and I have a couple of them- which I find to be relatively effective.

    However; tho no one has gone too deeply into it, the excessive noise is most likely the windshield- more specifically, the turbulence caused by the vacuum behind the windshield. This vacuum-induced turbulence, is known as the Von Karman Vortices. Yes, ear plugs will help, but the problem will remain. In fact, the problem of noise, may be exacerbated by additional issues with buffeting and stress, which create a bigger problem- fatigue. This is true, especially if you ride long distances!

    A new windshield is likely the best overall fix; a "lip" may help, but you should STILL wear hearing protection, just the same, IMO. Here are a couple links on the subject of turbulence, laminar Lips, Von Karman Vortices, & windshields:

    Scientific/engineering gobbledeegook, RE: VK Vortex:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A1..._vortex_street

    Laminar Lip review:

    http://www.webbikeworld.com/laminar-lip/

    Finally, a GREAT article on both Von Karman Vortices (in layman's terms) and windshield consideration/choices on a per-rider basis:

    http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/Fairing.html

    To the original poster, here is all the possible information you may need to fully understand your problem with the noise you are experiencing...
    I've posted much of this before, but here it is again.

    FWIW:

    WeBikeWorld has an EXTENSIVE site with all manner of tests and reviews. Of course, it is but a single source, yet seems legit. It IS rather complete, if not exhaustive. Wiki, is what it is- a crowd sourced and completely up-datable information base. I think (HOPE) that mostly, it's accurate- if some one finds inaccurate info, they can easily update it.
    The CalSci article, I've seen around the web, but have never seen it in conjunction with their windshield chart/info. Seems they want to sell you a windshield, but they do well in explaining aerodynamics and VK vortices, AND give you a chart on choosing the proper windshield for your height.

    Cheers!
    Happy reading.
    Have a great day.
    Last edited by bmwrider88; 01-05-2013 at 05:46 PM.
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  14. #29
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Might as well go with the purdy ones. Howard Leight, Laser Lite. Boxes of 200 pairs from Amazon for $20 or so. Very soft material.

    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

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  15. #30
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    bmwrider88-I kept saying I'd get HA's for about the length of time there has been the technology to help high freq loss in a decent way which is something like around the 1990's for my type loss.I'm @ ~35% high freq loss R & L. Mine help but no sort of miracle either. In a noisy restaurant (the worst type social situation for me & others to hear) I find myself turning them down if it gets pretty loud.Simple things like table selection help more for me.If people will simply turn toward me when speaking it also helps a bunch. In a car, as driver, I wear the right side and take out the left side of my BTE HA's. Sadly but true,hearing loss is one of those "silent disabilities" that lacking acknowledgement from others means they don't accommodate you.Even close family members will think you were "not paying attention" when you should have & so forth. My "dirty/noisy hobbies/work habits" also mean that I often leave the HA's in the box where they're safe.
    I bought mine on ebay from the common source,i.e.,somebody dies & their heir sells them . I had researched the brand(Phonak) & specific model beforehand,took them to a local pro,paid for another hearing test(a waste but part of the deal to fit them) then they were programmed for my loss & got new tubes and soft canal ends. Bottom line is I saved many $1,000's of dollars & got the latest thing too. There are also HA's that people buy, change models for no really good reason and sell -sort of like the low miles trade in's that make no sense other than perhaps,more money than brains notion.
    www.hearingaidforums.com is a good source of info and dialogue r.e.,hearing loss & HA's. Many pros there to comment & also many dumbkofpts like me.
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

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