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When do you use earplugs and what kind


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I just received my new RoadRUNNER magazine and there's an interesting article on hearing protection. I wear earplugs when I'm out for a long ride but not generally on my 30 minute commute. That appears to be in line with the article recommendations. What is your experience?
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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I wear earplugs or well sealing earbuds for trips over a half hour.
 

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I wear them on most of my long rides. I sometimes forget.
 

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Any time I'll be on the highway more than 5 minutes, even if it's just going across town.
 

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Until we meet again
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Too much hearing damage already (guns, rock concerts and headphones). I wear the custom fit "Big Ear" plugs 100% of the time. They cost me about $75 at the motorcycle show this past winter.
 

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Always. I already have a high frequency hearing loss from running with the windows down, riding in noisy military helicopters & hunting without ear plugs. I really don't want to lose any more so I wear plugs every time I ride.
 

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I'm wearing foam disposables and they fight fatigue are cheap and don't impair hearing.I think they help.I will try a set of moldable ones from wally world but I am gonna make holes for my Sony in ear speakers.
 

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I always wear disposable foam earplugs. I also have some custom molded ones that I have never really used. I little tough to get in and out and are uncomfortable. I suppose I could get use to them if I tried but for me the foam are easier to use.
 

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With earplugs, I couldn't hear my Wee-Strom so well.

The additional risk that my helmet imposes on me, first by impairing my hearing, and second by making a lot of noise itself, is substantial.

I will not add to that risk by further impairing my hearing with earplugs.

If you suggest that noise will damage my hearing, try another tune, because that one simply does NOT play here, not at all. I have been riding 47 years, without helmet and with, never with earplugs. My hearing is excellent.

I like the sound of my stock Wee-Strom, and I need to hear engines, sirens, bells, horns, voices, and all the noises that traffic makes, in order to know what is happening around me, react properly to those events, and arrive safely.

Keith
 

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What kind of ear buds are those? They seem really nicely ergonomically fitted to the ear's shape, so as not to irritate the little flap of the ear, whatever it's called. I did buy some of the Skull Candy Ink'd Smokin' Buds recently though (they're cheap) and they work pretty well. Great sound when off the bike, too.

Foam earplugs work best for me, though. I don't know about other people, but apparently my ear canals constantly change shape and size as I turn my head side to side, up and down, and as I move my jaw. The custom fit earplug speakers I have just don't seal as well as the foam ones - I can tell - and if they are fitted right for one position of my ear and jaw, they aren't in some other position. The foam ones flex and give to allow for this. This changing ear canal shape and size also causes pressure changes in my ear when sealed with an in-ear speaker, which affects sound (like when you change altitude going up or down big hills quickly, or in a plane).
 

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I never do. They hurt my ears and I cant deal with the vacuum feeling they create on my ear drum. I have tried to wear them but just cant deal with it.
You should try some good really soft, small diameter plugs - they shouldn't hurt or cause any noticeable discomfort.
 

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The additional risk that my helmet imposes on me, first by impairing my hearing, and second by making a lot of noise itself, is substantial.

I will not add to that risk by further impairing my hearing with earplugs.

If you suggest that noise will damage my hearing, try another tune, because that one simply does NOT play here, not at all. I have been riding 47 years, without helmet and with, never with earplugs. My hearing is excellent.

I like the sound of my stock Wee-Strom, and I need to hear engines, sirens, bells, horns, voices, and all the noises that traffic makes, in order to know what is happening around me, react properly to those events, and arrive safely.

Keith
Yeah Sure you must take only short trips, you are incorrect in your assumption that your hearing is perfect and not affected by wind, as for all your reasons you can hear all of those sounds with ear plugs in and can actually hear better with plugs in then out. but then you have been riding 47 years and have learned nothing???? I personally never get in or on anything mechanical that is loud and fast without ear plugs.
 

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Well, a bit different from the poll question- I where Max Lite disposable foam earplugs on any ride longer than 20 minutes. Why 20 minutes? That's my commute time to work, half of that city street, have freeway.

Didn't see the article you mentioned, but Rider magazine did an article about 2 years ago now. 21 makes and models of helmets. BMW road bike as the test mule. Sound measuring equipment rigged up at the entrance of the ear canal. Consistently, they were able to measure (and I think I'm remembering this properly, I can't find that issue) 100db at 70mph with every helmet, full face, modular, 3/4, 1/2, face shield, no face shield. 100db was the best they measured. For the work environment, OSHA limits that kind of exposure to 2 hours in an 8 hour shift. See here:
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=standards&p_id=9735
Scroll down just a little way to see the time/db chart. Look at the time limits at just 102db, and 105db. You know there are some bikes/helmets/conditions that will be putting that kind of sound level at the ear. And don't just look at that one chart, read the supporting documentation and footnotes.

You only get one set of ears, just like eyes. Someone who doesn't protect what he has and cannot replace is just a fool, no matter what your personal opinions on the subject may be.

And for anyone that says, "My hearing is already bad, I don't worry about using hearing protection...", that just does not make any sense. That's like saying half my hair is already on fire, I may as well let the rest burn off.

For those that have high sensitivity to ear pressure from ear plugs, like others have said, use an ultra soft plug like the Max Lite plugs I use (green color). I can't use "standard" foam plugs for more than just a few minutes- too much pressure. The Max Lite I can have in my ears all day long without any discomfort or other issues, and they offer up to 30db of noise reduction. Look what that does on that OSHA chart.
 

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And for anyone that says, "My hearing is already bad, I don't worry about using hearing protection...", that just does not make any sense. That's like saying half my hair is already on fire, I may as well let the rest burn off.

dude, that is the funniest thing I have heard today. The visual cracks me up.
 

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If you suggest that noise will damage my hearing, try another tune, because that one simply does NOT play here, not at all. I have been riding 47 years, without helmet and with, never with earplugs. My hearing is excellent.

Keith
Honest, I'm not trying to pick a fight, Keith. But are you able to back up your claim of excellent hearing with a hearing test from an audiologist? (You don't owe me an answer, just getting you to think about it for yourself.) Like I said before, you only have one set of ears, and you cannot replace what is already gone, or what you might be continuously losing. Protect what you have before it's too late, even if you have been on the road of life (bike or not) for most of your average expected lifespan. You can't correct hearing loss, but you can prevent further damage.

Audiologist testing is very inexpensive. Ask your family physician to refer you to one and get your hearing checked. You'll thank yourself.

I was provided an audiologist test from my employer. The day I took the test, I rode my motorcycle to the appointment. I walked into the technician's office, took off my helmet, pulled out my earplugs for him to see, and passed the test with flying colors across all frequency ranges. He told me not to stop using those plugs. That was 2 years ago at age 37.

Stay healthy!
 

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Commuting - no; Touring - yes

I don't wear them on my daily commute. Anything over 30 minutes means I pop the plugs in. I vary between disposable, custom fit and ear buds for music. Depends on where I'm going and what I'm doing.
 

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Almost always.

I wear them anytime I will be going above about 40 mph. In town I don't wear them, but my town is less than 2 miles across in any direction and the speed limit is 35mph or less.
My HJC helmet really generates a lot of wind noise. I've noticed that without plugs, even after a short 15 minute ride, my ears feel like I've been at a concert or on the firing line.
My ears are still ok, but I do have constant ringing from too much shooting without hearing protection in my youth. I'm not willing to lose any more.
I notice that with the plugs I hear highway sounds, i.e. horns, exhaust, other cars, etc better. The wind, even at lower speeds (45-60 mph) is quite deafening.
Time for a new helmet, I know, but right now $0.05 for earplugs, beats ponying up for a new helmet.
 

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Huh??? What??? What'd he say???? (Sorry...had to be done!)

I don't wear them if I'm riding back roads/non-highway, even if I'm out all day.

I do wear them on any highway trip lasting longer than 30 minutes. (Plus they make me feel like I'm going faster than I really am...don't really understand that phenomenon.)

The one's I like are Mack's Pillow Soft Earplugs:

http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/cvs/gateway/detail?prodid=393512
 
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