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I ordered a new helmet today, got the Nolan N104. Kinda pricey but they're a reputable manufacturer and it has features that I'm sure I'll like. I always wear a helmet so I want something that will be comfortable. Anyway, while doing my homework, I read a review that said (paraphrasing) "you should always wear earplugs when wearing a helmet or you could suffer permanent hearing damage". Do what!? Really? I can see how a noisy helmet at sustained high speed might do that, but really? Even with a helmet on I'd rather have the benefit of what hearing I had left (due to the helmet being on) than render myself functionally deaf w/ earplugs. Thoughts, feedback?
 

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I frequently wear disposible earplugs while riding and I always wear a full face helmet. I can actually hear what is going on around me better with earplugs in. They cut down the noise level of the wind, but I can hear most things better, just at a little lower volume. This is especially true while riding on the interstate.
 

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If the wind noise is loud enough, I'd think you'd be doing more damage not using plugs. I'm guessing the answer lies with that damn windscreen we have to deal with.
 

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:confused:


My ears still ring with a full face helmet and ear plugs. Wind noise is LOUD.
 

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Ditto that. I MAY not wear them if I am making a short (15 minute) low speed trip but I try to always have them in if I am getting on the highway or going to be riding more than a few minutes. I wear them EVERY day when I commute (an hour each way).

I also can hear a lot better with them in because they cut down on the snap, crackle, and popping of the wind. I can hear my bike better most of the time too - which is good in case it starts making any odd noises.

I frequently wear disposible earplugs while riding and I always wear a full face helmet. I can actually hear what is going on around me better with earplugs in. They cut down the noise level of the wind, but I can hear most things better, just at a little lower volume. This is especially true while riding on the interstate.
 

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Ringing ears.

:headbang: I rode 220 highway miles today and my ears are ringing. I will have earplugs next time.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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It's a basic. I always wear hearing protection when doing highway speeds for more than a few minutes. It does allow easier hearing of important stuff like passing vehicles and sirens and it protects hearing. People here who have not protected their hearing report having various degrees of tinnitus. If you don't want your ears ringing constantly, wear hearing protection, helmet or not. Wind noise damages hearing in either case.
 

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Good thread then, I never did but will now. Too late on the tinnitus for me, but it is something you get used to. If I could turn back time...
 

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Hearing damage is cumulative. One ride without earplugs won't do noticable damage, but it definitely adds up and it's not reversible. As others have noted, blocking the wind noise with earplugs does make it easier to hear other sounds.
 

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Golden Monkey hit it on the head or ear bone! when shooting guns, working around loud equipment, rock concerts,flying private airplanes, noisy bikes and your helmet while riding all that noise is slowly but most certainly wreaking havoc on your ears.
When your young and dumb nothing matters but the moment but when you get older all those moments start to wear on you.
Ear plugs can be very comfortable and easy to get used to. They also block out the a-hole in the next tent snoring at a rally. But if you don't use ear plugs eventually you won't hear stuff like that anyway!
 

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Shorts trips, like 20 minutes or less with little to no freeway I don't use plugs. But other than that, I wear plugs. On my 80 mile freeway trip today I wore plugs and still used my helmet speakers for music. I can hear pretty much like normal. There are some tones (depending on the plugs) that you can't hear. One main thing I can't hear with any plugs in, is the chain. Without plugs, I was like, wtf is that?? You can hear all the traffic still though. The wind noise on this bike is far worse than my sportbike, and good earplugs will eliminate most of it, with, or without the vents open. Some plugs still let lots of noise into my ears with the vents open. I'm putting together a spreadsheet of all the plugs I'm testing out. Approx. 30 or so. Glad I went with a variety pack, because some plugs are by far better than others. I will post my results when I'm done.

Even running powertools for a certain amount of time can cause hearing problems....

Also, please learn how to insert ear plugs. Most people out there don't do it correctly.
 

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Ear plugs are part of my personal protective gear. Using ear plugs or not is much like using a helmet in areas that do not require their use. You will or you won't. The way many choose to ride and especially those who decline all the protection available for the head, the threat of hearing loss may be a moot point.
 

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I've been riding for 15 years, learned in Germany on the Autobahn and am "suffering" from slight hearing loss which I contribute to not wearing earplugs for the first 10 years of my riding journey.
YMMV but I suggest wearing earplugs and cleaning or replacing them. Its too late if your neon ear plugs have freckles which are black/green.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
When I go shooting, I wear earplugs and earmuffs. I guess I'll have to add earplugs to the gear list.
 

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I always wear earplugs when riding on blacktop. About half the time when riding off-road. Depends on my intended speed.
 

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Cheap foam earplugs and a full face helmet make for a really peaceful ride. No comparison with a ride over about 30 MPH without them. I find the wind noise quite annoying even at moderate speed. The odd part is that the ear protection eliminates all the annoying noise such as the wind and yet I feel that I can hear the important stuff better. Seems a bit odd, but rather than over analyzing it I just use the cheap hearing protection and enjoy the ride. Cheap foam earplugs cost next to nothing so I'd encourage riders to give them a try and see if it makes for a more enjoyable ride. Probably the least expensive accessory you can find.
 

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I always wear my custom plugs when riding on the open road. Around town I don't bother as speeds are lower.

Even if they didn't help protect your hearing they make it far easier to ride big miles - you get off the bike a lot fresher.
 

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Has anyone tried out the Fuze custom earphones. They look like they offer some hearing protection. It's funny, I bought the Oneal Fastrack II helmet for the bluetooth feature but it turned out to be the noisiest helmet I've ever owned so I need to wear hearing protection on most rides. I'm hoping the fuze earphones corrects that.
 

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Wind noise in a helmet can vary tremendously from rider to rider. Much of the noise comes from the bottom of the helmet, and the rider with a long thin neck will have a different experience from a rider with a short stocky neck in the same helmet on the same bike. The angle you hold your head, upright or forward, also matters. And, of course, the model of helmet matters.

Earplugs attenuate sound, not eliminate it. If you find that the sound is eliminated, get a hearing test...you've lost more hearing than you realize...sometimes there are corrective measures that help. The foam plugs attenuate certain frequencies more than others. I liked EAR plugs when working, and found that I could hear some things better (ringing telephone) and other things less well (hiss of leaking steam or compressed air).

I don't like the EAR brand plugs when riding. I feel disconnected from the bike. The orange tapered plugs (don't know the brand) work better for me, and I do like Etymotic brand plugs with their even frequency attenuation (also worn by musicians).
 
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