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Safe music listening at interstate speeds


JayW

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My ENT physician friend has advised me to not even try to listen to music on my bike because he says the volume required to hear it above the ambient noise inherent in riding a motorcycle may damage my hearing over time. He is not a motorcyclist himself though, and on long days in the seat, I sometimes find myself wishing for something to listen to.

 

What about these 2 options?:

 

1. Noise-cancelling earphones

2. Listening devices that swimmers use that attach to the bony part of the head and conduct sound down to the ear ossicles through "bone conduction". With these one could still wear ear plugs.

 

At this point I nearly always wear ear plugs when I ride, my hearing is normal, and I want to keep it that way. Any experience out there with either of the above, or other comments are welcome.

 

Jay

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Wear professional in ear monitors with foam ear pieces that expand and cut out the noise. We use them on stage and it's much louder there. I listen at quite low levels and use Shure E5 ear buds. Sometimes directly to my iPod and sometimes hooked up to my autocom.

 

Your ENT is correct even if he is ignorant of motorcycles. Take care of your ears!!!!!!

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The Dbs of wind noise is higher than the music I listen to. A properly fitted in ear listening devise, be it custom moulded or off the shelf cuts the wind noise and adds audible entertainment.

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I agree with the Etymotic 6i. I would add that Etymotic also makes very dense foam ear plugs with a sound channel tube of plastic in the center. You can order them from the Etymotic web site. They come in sizes. The replace the standard soft plastic plugs that come with the Etymotics. Having used both custom molded plugs and the foam etymotics, I prefer the foam etymotics for comfort and sound deadening.

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ETYMOTICS http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er6i.aspx They work--block ambient noise and reproduce sound/music very well.
I can put these on, turn on music in my driveway at a standstill and not touch the volume on the freeway. they block noise that well. I don't do that, because I generally only listen to music out of urban environments. If your ENT tells you that listening to music using in ear monitors, while at a low volume, will damage your hearing, that's another story.
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Hi Jay, I just got back from 7,188kms in a circle ending up at home again and wouldn't consider a trip like that without my 'tunes'. Which come into my ears via the Garmin 376c with XM radio, Autocom and my 'Big Ear' moulded ear plugs with built in speakers, that I had done at Daytona 2 years ago. Before that I was using the EB-6's and although the fidelity might be marginally better with the EB-6's they were a pain to use under a helmet. If you just happen to touch the feed wire they can become dislodged from the ear canal and then its off with the helmet and start over.

 

The 'moulded' ear plug, and there are a few manufacturers out there, fit perfectly every time and more importantly, fit flush with the ear making it very easy to use under a helmet.

 

I installed a Radio Shack $5.00 volume control pot inline and double sideded taped to the underside of the windshield 'up-down' control to enable me to instantly reduce the volume if conditions require all my attention.

 

Back on the slab its PBI or Top Tracks purring in my ears keeping me awake and happy.

 

Jim W.

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Wow, I didn't know there were so many other good options. I'll do some cost comaprisons and then make a decision. The noise-cancelling earbud approach seems like an elegant solution, and the prices have come way down, but I guess they haven't caught on for some reason.

 

Thanks for all the responses.

 

Jay

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I like my hearing too and so rode for years with a pair of E-A-R Ultrafit earplugs (25dB rating). Super quiet on the highway, but I wanted some music (can only sing to myself for so long).

 

So bought a pair of the Etymotic ER6i earbuds (34-36 dB isolation) and absolutely love them! Use with an XM Roady2 (set to mid volume) and an inline Radio Shack volume control which stays near its lowest setting almost all the time.

 

Had trouble when putting on the helmet that it would pull the earbuds out by the wires. Then figured out that if you wrap the wires over top of ear and down the backside then the helmet won't tug them out anymore. No problems since.

 

The "fit" comparison between the two brands above is nearly identical, so if you're worried about spending $80 USD at Amazon on a pair of earbuds, try out the E-A-R for $3 USD a set first.

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PhillyFlash

Another plug for custom speaker ear plugs, whether AZ Al's or someone elses. You can find Al all over the western US at various rallies or gatherings, or locally if you're passing through the Phoenix area. Others out there make similar ones. The best advantages are that they are made to fit your ear, so they are more comfortable for all day riding; they block the ambient sound, so you do not have to turn the volume up to damaging levels; and the sound quality is fantastic. Once you get a set of custom speaker earplugs you'll wonder how you were able to live without them for so long.

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Another plug for custom speaker ear plugs, whether AZ Al's or someone elses. You can find Al all over the western US at various rallies or gatherings, or locally if you're passing through the Phoenix area....

 

Hmmm. Could be tough since I live in the East, but I'll put this on my things-to-check-out list for the next trip I take out West, or maybe I can find a similar product here locally.

 

Thanks.

 

Jay

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I personally tried custom made earphones. I could NOT STAND something inserted so deeply into my ear for more than about 2 hours. I have eytomic ER-6i and I love them..

 

I had a pair made at the Lima rally and they guy there (Bob?) makes up a temporary pair for you to try out for a bit. After two days of using them I couldn't stand them in my ears any longer. The ER-6i was a better choice for me. Great at reducing wind noise...

 

Another less expensive choice is the Altec Lansing from amazon. They licensed the ear part from Eytomic.

 

Altec Lansing

 

I also have a pair of them and they work just as well and have a little better sound IMHO than the ER-6i

 

Mike

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Another plug for custom speaker ear plugs, whether AZ Al's or someone elses. You can find Al all over the western US at various rallies or gatherings, or locally if you're passing through the Phoenix area....

 

Hmmm. Could be tough since I live in the East, but I'll put this on my things-to-check-out list for the next trip I take out West, or maybe I can find a similar product here locally.

 

Thanks.

 

Jay

 

You don't have to see Al in person, though that would probably be best, and a few bucks cheaper. I just arranged to ship him ear impressions, which I'm getting made at a local hearing aid dispensary. Al will then use those impressions to have the plugs made at a lab. Once back from the lab, Al will core them and install the "sound tubes" (my words) etc., and ship them to me.

 

He was very helpful when I exchanged e-mails, then when we spoke on the phone.

 

I just installed an Autocom, and I can't use the in-helmet speakers with my custom-molded earplugs -- just too uncomfortable. I've been using those plugs for two years now, with no discomfort whatsoever. I also have ER-6is, which I've tried with every sort of eartip, but they don't block out enough ambient noise for my liking, and they're not as comfortable for me as my custom-molded plugs. I'm giving Al's plugs a whirl. I like the idea that the transducers are not in your ears (like ER-6is), but are down at the Y junction. I plan to remove the Autocom in-helmet speakers, once I get Al's plugs.

 

I'll let everyone know how I like them when I get them.

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+1,

let's hear it for Al's custom molded earplugs. I have an XM radio and comfortably listen with the Audio Level set at '4'. 4 is not too high although when throttling down for in-town speed, I tend to find the soundlevel a bit high (not excessive though) and either switch the unit off or turn the level down a notch.

 

Jurgen

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