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Good touring earplugs?


Sailorlite

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I've never worn earplugs but I'm thinking that maybe for comfort and hearing preservation I should give them a try.

What's a good earplug for general highway riding. Can I get them at the local Home Depot? (I don't need music/phone/audio capability).

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Most of the foam plugs have similar noise reduction ratings (NRR)of 25-32dB. The important thing is to find some that fit and you can insert properly. Many like Hearos, but you may have to try a few different ones to find what's comfortable for you. I think Aerostich still sells a sampler pack to try a number of different ones, if you can't find something you like at the drug store or home improvement warehouse.

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I used some of the foam earplugs often used in construction or for other general use. It really cut down on the noise, but left me able to hear enough of the outside world. It was the first time I used earplugs while riding and they really made the difference. I found I was not as tired when I finished a daily ride as I had been in the past.

 

Mike

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I found the ones at the local longs Drug store that have 25 db reduction work better for me than the ones with 30+ because at 25db I can still hear other sounds. For short commutes I am useing some blue ones for swimming that are the hard style. These tend to make my ears hurt over long distances however. I think getting the starter pack from Aerostitch is a very good idea and may do that myself. I never needed ear plugs on Bonbon, or Smokey, but with Pepper it is a necessity.

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Joe Frickin' Friday

I like Howard Leight Max plugs. Highest NRR I've seen (33), comfortable, cheap (12 cents a pair!), disposable (use a clean pair every riding day). On trips, I pack one pair per day, plus a few pair as spares. I keep two boxes of these things on hand: one in the basement for working with power tools, and one in the garage for riding and for mowing the lawn.

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Wanting to avoid the partial deafness of my father, I've worn plugs ever since I started riding. After being frustrated with the insertion hassle, etc. with foam plugs, I got some custom molded plugs a few years ago. The comfort is WAY better (for me at least) and they don't have a tendency to come loose as I'm putting on my helmet.

 

There are various vendors for these custom models, but I will put in a "plug" (pun intended.. tongue.gif ) that one of our members here, "Arizona Al" just happens to make 'em and does a superb job. thumbsup.gifgrin.gifthumbsup.gif

 

YMMV

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I like Howard Leight Max plugs. Highest NRR I've seen (33), comfortable, cheap (12 cents a pair!), disposable (use a clean pair every riding day). On trips, I pack one pair per day, plus a few pair as spares. I keep two boxes of these things on hand: one in the basement for working with power tools, and one in the garage for riding and for mowing the lawn.

 

I clicked on the link and right away noticed this

 

List Price: $29.60

Price: $23.35

You Save: $6.25 (21%)

 

Availability: In Stock. Ships from and sold by PK Safety Supply.

 

3 used (eek.gif) & new available from $22.99

 

I think I'll take the new....... lmao.giflmao.giflmao.gif

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Ideally, NRR 33 plugs would be the best. That said, plugs that actually fit well are more important and better than a high NRR, per se.

 

Every ear is different, so try different sizes, brands, shapes, and NRRs until you find what works best for your ears. Fortunately, these things are pretty cheap.

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We tried every shape and kind of foam earplug they make, we tried wax, we tried the putty kind. They were okay but nothing beats the custom earplugs we had made for us at the motorcycle show here in NY. THe same outfits are usually at rallies. Mine were from Ear-ifics and hubbies were from another vendor, don't remember who.

 

They cost about $70.00 a pair and are worth it. Instead of standing around fiddle-farkin with each plug making sure you squoshed them good and wait for them to expand to make sure they're in your ear canal right you just put in the custom plugs and away you go. Custom fit every time. They doen't loosen up in ear and give you that off-balance feeling, they fit fine everytime.

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Assuming helmet noise is 100dB, then using a device rated at 25dB reduction would give a net noise exposure of 75dB which is well below the generally accepted "safe" level of 85dB for an 8-hour time-weighted exposure (the OSHA level is 90dB but many audiologists believe this is too high). Personally, I like Howard Leight MultiMax foam plugs as they fit a broad range of ear canal widths. If I am going to be wearing a helmet for several days I'll wear my custom molded plugs, but for day rides they're a PITA to lube and store without getting lost. The disposables are more convenient and just as comfortable for short periods of time. YMMV

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Walmart, Flents Quiet Time Comfort Foam Ear Plugs. 33 NRR 50 pair for about $2.50. Nice lavender color, goes well with ear wax. lmao.gif They come in a kind of gold fish bowl looking plastic container. Best ones I've tried so far and I've tried a bunch. Try em first, real cheap.

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I have used Leight plugs for several years and have no complaints. Get them at the local drugstore. They are cheap, relatively comfortable, and effective. The orange ones give 33db reduction, and the blue ones, which I prefer for comfort, are 31db. If you buy them in bulk, the price drops considerably, but I don't want 100 pairs lying around, so I have to pay a little more.

 

When I had my hearing checked recently by an audiologist (she found moderate high frequency loss; I rode 35 years without protection), she advised me that around 14db reduction was sufficient to provide ample protection against hearing loss associated with motorcycling, and I had a pair of custom fitted ones made that provide that level of reduction. They are great until I put the helmet on, and then because they are bulkier than the foam ones, they start to chafe a bit after a couple of hours. So, for longer rides I'm back to the Leights.

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Moldex Rocket re-usable ear plugs. Available from Aerostich or safety supply stores.

 

Easy to use - they have a stem for a finger grip, and made of silicone in a tapered shape. Way easier to insert and extract than the standard foam plug.

 

Comfort is a personal thing, but I've found that inserting and extracting foam ear plugs numerous times during a long ride sometimes causes irritation in the ear canal.

 

No irritation with the silicone Moldex Rockets.

 

FWIW.

 

Cheers.

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Everybody's ears are different. Go to the online Ear Plug Super Store and order one of their trial assortment packs. That way you can figure out what one fits/works best for you - Ear Plug Store

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OK, I just ordered the mondo sampler pack from The Ear Plug Super Store. I think I've learned from this forum that there's nothing particularly special about the motorcycle application and that what fits you might not fit me very well. The most important difference between one plug and another is whether it fits comfortably - not so much its sound attenuating rating. My thanks to all for the thoughtful suggestions.

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I use a variety of the soft foam kind that you crunch up, then insert. I've found that for my right ear any kind will do, but for my left ear which seems to have a smaller canal and is on my awkward side, I must use the stiffest foam plugs, which I buy at Safeway, and I believe are called Flents. These I can make longer and thinner and the stay crunched up long enough to get into the ear. I use them over and over until I lose them or they just look too gross to keep using. The soft ones are cheap, I buy them at a place like Home Depot or Rite Aide in jars of a hundred or so.

 

I use plugs on any ride longer than a few minutes.

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Another potential source of earplugs is a sporting goods store or gun store: basically anyplace that sells firearms. Both Remington and Silenceo used to make "adaptive" earplugs that allowed you to hear normal conversation yet filtered loud noises. I haven't shopped for these in a few years and don't know if they are still made/sold but it's worth a look.

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If you work for a company that has a safety dept or an industrial hygiene office, you proabably can get a handful of plugs gratis. The vendors throw free plugs at safety guys for evaluation & marketing purposes.

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Walmart, Flents Quiet Time Comfort Foam Ear Plugs. 33 NRR 50 pair for about $2.50. Nice lavender color, goes well with ear wax. lmao.gif They come in a kind of gold fish bowl looking plastic container. Best ones I've tried so far and I've tried a bunch. Try em first, real cheap.

 

+1.

I've tried many, many types but the Walmart lavender plugs are definitely the best I have found.

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Walmart, Flents Quiet Time Comfort Foam Ear Plugs. 33 NRR 50 pair for about $2.50. Nice lavender color, goes well with ear wax. lmao.gif They come in a kind of gold fish bowl looking plastic container. Best ones I've tried so far and I've tried a bunch. Try em first, real cheap.

 

+1.

I've tried many, many types but the Walmart lavender plugs are definitely the best I have found.

 

Kinda makes you wonder about the old adege: "You get what you pay for." thumbsup.gif

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I've been using EAR brand plugs and Sound Guard plugs under a headset in the Air Force for 20 years. Sortie durations up to 17 hours... so should be about the same for all day touring. They are both the foam versions and you can get them from a variety of sources. Sporty's Pilot shop or equivalent will also sell them in the bulk boxes if you end up going through yours quickly.

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I use the Moldex Purafit plugs. You can buy them by the box on the internet for about $24 for 200 individually wrapped pairs. They are very comfortable and very quite. I prefer them over everything else I have tried.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm tempted to try these.

 

earplugs.jpg

They look good and as they are reusable, that's gotta be nicer than the foam ones I'm using now... If I leave them in my pocket for a while, they come out black. Still usable, but they just look disgusting.

 

Anyone tried these?

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Walgreens/CVS has a good selection and on a long trip you can find one of these just about anywhere if your run out.
+1 on Walgreens. Much better selection than the local BMW dealershop and other stores I checked.

 

I've tried a few of the different Hearos and found these work best for me: Hearos

 

As others have said, try several types. I thot foam was best until I found these and realized I wasn't getting as good of a "seal" with the foam plugs. Lots of good brands/types out there. thumbsup.gif

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I like listening to music and I find the Etymotics ER6i earbuds do a great job at sound isolation.

 

earplugs.jpg

 

Those look kind of kinky!

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I like listening to music and I find the Etymotics ER6i earbuds do a great job at sound isolation.
Oh, me too. In fact, I'm probably going to try these for my er6i's because Whip likes the foam tips so much for his er6i's (the foam tips for my er-4p's are sooo much better, but they stick out too far in my helmet to really be usable). Although the custom ones are tempting me again... My problem is that I use my er-6i's for motocycling solo and my er-4p's for everything else. If I could get a custom tip for both, I'd be even more tempted... I'll call one of these days I suppose.
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I like Howard Leight Max plugs. Highest NRR I've seen (33), comfortable, cheap (12 cents a pair!), disposable (use a clean pair every riding day).

 

+1 thumbsup.gif I have AZ Al custom plugs w/ speakers, but when I'm riding w/o music etc, these puppies are the cream of the disposable crop.

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I use foam cylinder plugs - EAR or generic from Home Depot which seem to be fine.

 

One great tip from this site was proper inserting. After rolling the plugs and pushing in your ears pull down on your earlobe with your other hand while holding them in. (Yes you will look a bit like your daughter putting hear earings on blush.gif.) This seems to open up the ear canal a bit, and allow the foam to expand out more. It really locks in when you release the earlobe, and you are set for the day.

 

Happy quiet riding and save those fragile cochlea for the next world tour of your favourite band.

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