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Thread: Earplugs/hearing protection

  1. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted View Post
    Check out the video I posted earlier in the thread, that is pretty much the best way I know.
    I too have found them hard to get back in immediately after taking them out, I think the warmer they are the harder it is for them to stay rolled. This is probably a "feature" so that they expand quickly when inserted in your warm ear I know when I pull one out of the fairing pocket on very cold winter days they are super easy to roll and take upwards of 30-seconds to fully expand.
    Good video...sorry I overlooked it. Since I ordered a box of 200 3M 1100 earplugs, I think I can experiment a bit with 10-20 sets until I get it right. The reward, from what I could tell today for the time I had them in correctly, is a much more stress-free ride up the canyon.

  2. #47
    RK Ryder
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    London, Ontario
    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 !
    Niagara Riders #298 & Knights of the Roundel #333

  3. #48
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    WNY, Further fron NYC, than 6 entire states!
    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    You recommended these plugs the last time this topic came up (two or 3 weeks ago?) and I ordered a set to test as my custom plugs are getting old. My results:

    • They are more comfortable for me in all day rides. My custom plugs start to bother me after 4-6 hours. Foam plugs bother me after 2-3 hours.
    • They are equal or better in attenuation to my custom plugs. The "better" part is that I can yawn or otherwise move my jaw without breaking the "seal". That is not always the case with my custom plugs.
    • They take longer to insert. That's not a big deal on trips, but for quick commutes and running errands where plugs are constantly going in and out of my ears I still use my old custom plugs.

    One question: how long do you use a pair before tossing them for a new pair? They seem to last a long time.
    For me, I grab new ones when:

    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)

  4. #49
    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.

  5. #50
    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.

  6. #51
    Registered User
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    Sep 2005
    Eastern KY
    Quote Originally Posted by walterK75 View Post
    This topic is very subjective and almost as bad as an oil thread.

    I use 3M 1100 ear plugs. The local firemen use them going to a fire when their truck sirens are on. Sirens = 160 db.
    As bad as an oil thread? How can you say that!!!
    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.

  7. #52
    Registered User
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    Sep 2005
    Eastern KY
    Quote Originally Posted by 40427 View Post
    I tried several over the counter types and they all made my ears hurt.
    Had a custom made set at a rally several years ago , they did not make my ears hurt and did the job well.
    I am planning to replace them with another custom set this year .
    The fit is not as good as it once was and even thought i wash them they are beginning to show their age.
    try the Shrek version as they are very soft

  8. #53
    Registered User
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    Sep 2005
    Eastern KY
    Quote Originally Posted by PittsDriver View Post
    OK, I'll be the outlier here and say that if you're at all concerned about your hearing - and you should be - then only a custom molded solution will provide the best protection and the best of those is not cheap. But as I've often said before, I want hearing aids about as much as I want a diaper or a walker and at 53, I've spent most of my life assulting my ears and have started to suffer some hearing loss. I'm very motivated to save the hearing I have left because standing around at a party and not understanding what people are saying will suck.

    So, I went out an evaluated a number of different choices from the foamy OTC style you get at the drug store to ear phones that go in-ear to custom. I decided that custom was light years better in every way. Then looking at the custom ear monitors (because I like music, GPS prompts, and phone calls too) I looked at everything from the low end Westone stuff to the best of the best Sensaphonics (which is what the big names use on stage at concerts to protect their hearing and hear the music). I chose the Sensaphonics 2XLs which had to be ordered by my audiologist at Johns Hopkins. Sensaphonics has a tremendous amount of motorsports experience (almost all the Indy car, F1, NASCAR etc guys use them) so they're very well sorted for using under a helmet.

    I get close to 40 db of passive noise attenuation from these monitors. They'll turn the 90 - 100 db of road and wind noise in my helmet into 60 db or better which is better than a Lexus or Mercedes at 60 mph. And the added benefit is pretty amazing sound quality out of them for my music. The down side - they're $750.

    That sounds expensive for ear phones and it is. But compared to the other crap we spend money on with relentless disregard for rational thought, this is one of the best value purchases I've ever made. If you're one of the guys that has ever said "if you have a $100 head, buy a $100 helmet" then here's the thing, if your hearing is only worth $19.95 at Walmart or $5 for foamies at CVS, then go buy that.
    I'll add some comments to your supposedly "scientific approach": I am 68 & have ~ 35-40% loss in R & L ears with a similar profile each side. I use HA's when in a social situation such as eating out but most of the time they are on the dresser as they are definitely out of place during farm & shop work,etc.. My life style hasn't changed other than to be retired for 10 yrs & types of noise exposure are consistent over a long period of time.I still often operate a string trimmer for hours, chain saws,tractors,saw mill & of course mc's.
    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!

  9. #54
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by flyrider View Post
    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.
    H Leight used to call those "Hearos" plugs, I tried those initially too. I liked them, a lot, but found they didn't work terribly well at cutting the annoying low-end thrum from wind buffetting around a helmet. I have a whole box of the Laser-Lites, if you send me an address I will send you a couple to try out, they really are awesome for folks with smaller ear canals.
    "A good stick is a good reason"
    1994 K75RT
    Moto Pages

  10. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted View Post
    H Leight used to call those "Hearos" plugs, I tried those initially too. I liked them, a lot, but found they didn't work terribly well at cutting the annoying low-end thrum from wind buffetting around a helmet. I have a whole box of the Laser-Lites, if you send me an address I will send you a couple to try out, they really are awesome for folks with smaller ear canals.
    Thanks, but I'll try the HL Quiet Re-usable plugs first. I think their design is better suited to my you don't have to roll them, which keeps your hands off them...or at least off the part that enters the canal. Really appreciate the offer, though...

  11. #56
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    The Old Country
    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 -=-

  12. #57
    Registered User arthurdent's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Central Nebraska
    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?

  13. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by flyrider View Post
    Re: foam disposables. Let's say you ride "x" miles to a spot for you remove your earplugs? Do you put them in a bag, then re-insert for the ride home? Any concerns about ear infections if re-inserting the plugs? I ask, because I read a book by RUSH drummer Neil Peart (a BMW rider...or should I say "ultimate BMW rider", since he rides mega-miles), and he mentioned having problems with ear infections due to the long time the plugs were in his ears. I think he had to wear headphones sometimes on stage, instead of in-ear monitors because of this problem. Just curious...
    I spent a career as an aircraft mechanic, and later a flight engineer, for USAF. there were times were I spent 12 to 16 hours with foam earplugs in, often underneath headsets. Although the military would provide free earplugs, while travelling, it was common to reuse the same ones, sometimes for weeks. I never heard anyone having an ear infection due to earplug, but I'm sure it can happen, given the grubby conditions we were working in.

    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.

  14. #59
    Touring Panpsychist Theo's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Western MA
    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

  15. #60
    Fuse lit.... PittsDriver's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Annapolis MD
    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!)

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