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Old 10-29-2014, 09:33 AM   #1
Rockhopper Doe OP
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Ear plug questions

So, I've never really used ear plugs. Recently, I've decided to take a preventive approach to hearing loss and started to contemplate using them regularly.

I have a strange ear and most headphones seem to pop out after a while. It is like my ear expels foreign objects.

I found these plugs and ordered a sample set. Surprisingly, they seem to fit well as they're fully malleable and sit in place. However, they block A LOT of noise. In regular street riding, I feel like they block out way more frequencies than I'd like. On the highway, they're great though.

My main question is that on highway riding, I get a low frequency hum due to the air. Sometimes, the hum is quite loud. Obviously, the ear plugs are blocking the sound from the air, but when they get hit by it they produce this hum. So, isn't the hum as bad for hearing as the sound without the plugs?
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Old 10-29-2014, 09:41 AM   #2
windblown101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvr View Post
My main question is that on highway riding, I get a low frequency hum due to the air. Sometimes, the hum is quite loud. Obviously, the ear plugs are blocking the sound from the air, but when they get hit by it they produce this hum. So, isn't the hum as bad for hearing as the sound without the plugs?
Possibly. It's likely though that the only reason you can hear the low frequency hum is that the louder higher freq noise is being blocked. Therefore you're still ahead of the game. But if it's distracting keep looking for a set of plugs that work better for you.

BTW, great call on being proactive about protecting your hearing. A lot of us old farts didn't and the cumulative affects over the years suck.
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:14 AM   #3
pretbek
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I much prefer expanding foam ear plugs than wax-based fit ear plugs. When the wax based plugs lose adhesion with the ear canal wall or shift position, you can lose much of the noise attenuation. Expanding foam plugs are self-adjusting, because they behave like a spring in all directions.
I use Moldex PuraFit (NNR 33).

The hum might be one of these things:
1. Turbulent air flow. Adjust your wind protection so you get either less or more air, but at least a cleaner air flow. Hum or buffeting creates air impacts (noise) that is very hard to reduce.
2. Contact noise. If your ear plugs make contact with your helmet, the buffeting on your helmet conducts those vibrations to your ear where you experience them as noise.

If you want to hear a little bit more when doing only city driving, try slightly "louder" plugs like Howard Leight Max (NNR 30). They still protect your hearing, but let through a bit more sound.
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
...BTW, great call on being proactive about protecting your hearing. A lot of us old farts didn't and the cumulative affects over the years suck.
The way I know I have the plugs in correctly is when my tinnitus is louder than the wind noise

I use 3M disposable foam plugs, but get that resonance effect when one of them is not positioned quite right. Re-inserting it, or sometimes slightly rotating it usually takes care of it.
I've also found that they aren't as effective after 3 or 4 insertions.

filmfan screwed with this post 10-29-2014 at 10:22 AM
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:35 AM   #5
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I hate the expanding foam ones, they give me a headache.
I have a pair that are made of silicone and are tied together by a string.
They have a plastic tube on the string which is used to push them in.
I forget the brand name of them.
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:16 AM   #6
High Country Herb
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How do you hear your intercom while wearing plugs? Or do you only wear them on solo rides?

I haven't worn hearing protection much either. More and more of my friends seem to be losing their hearing (not from motorcycling though) and I don't want to be one of them.

I also have cone shaped ears that won't hold earbud speakers...only the foam seems to stay put.
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:27 AM   #7
AWolff
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Get custom molds.

I've posted this elsewhere, but after years of messing around with various types of plugs and ear buds I finally got a custom set. Wish I had done it years ago - very effective and super comfortable. Go to an audiologist - any one should be able to make casts of your ear canals in ~15 minutes - then send them in to ACS USA for either blanks or pre-molded for your favorite ear buds.

Seriously it is well worth the effort.

-AWolff
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:43 AM   #8
Rockhopper Doe OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
How do you hear your intercom while wearing plugs? Or do you only wear them on solo rides?

I haven't worn hearing protection much either. More and more of my friends seem to be losing their hearing (not from motorcycling though) and I don't want to be one of them.

I also have cone shaped ears that won't hold earbud speakers...only the foam seems to stay put.
You can hear it quite well actually, although you have to increase the volume considerably. However, both music and chat are heard clearer.
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:21 PM   #9
DaLunk
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I'm only 55 and my hearing is definitely damaged, more from Pink Floyd in headphones than anything else. Since I started using the simple foam expandables I find I can't ride without them. Even with the simple expandable foam ones, the effectiveness varies greatly from one make to another and you have to play around to find the ones you like best. I've found the orange Allen brand shooting ear plugs to be the most effective for my ears.

Funny, I had to drive my truck the other day and rolled down the window on the highway. The resulting wind noise sounded deafening, maybe worse than on the bike without plugs. I never noticed that before.
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Old 10-29-2014, 02:16 PM   #10
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with earbuds

I took a pair of $10 earbuds, removed the plastic housing and encapsulated the wire side with a dob of JB-Weld. They are about the size of my little fingernail. I lay them down in my ear then cap the top over with Macks silicon earplugs. I plug them into my bluetooth intercom and listen to music, have phone conversations, talk on the intercom with my pillion - all with little road/wind noise.
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Old 10-29-2014, 02:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmfan View Post
The way I know I have the plugs in correctly is when my tinnitus is louder than the wind noise

I use 3M disposable foam plugs, but get that resonance effect when one of them is not positioned quite right. Re-inserting it, or sometimes slightly rotating it usually takes care of it.
I've also found that they aren't as effective after 3 or 4 insertions.

That's an easy fix: When they don't seem as effective anymore, just put them in your mouth and swish them around a few times. They'll come out good as new.

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Old 10-29-2014, 02:24 PM   #12
Rockhopper Doe OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vin View Post
I took a pair of $10 earbuds, removed the plastic housing and encapsulated the wire side with a dob of JB-Weld. They are about the size of my little fingernail. I lay them down in my ear then cap the top over with Macks silicon earplugs. I plug them into my bluetooth intercom and listen to music, have phone conversations, talk on the intercom with my pillion - all with little road/wind noise.
Can you post pictures of this? Having a hard time picturing it =P
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Old 10-29-2014, 02:36 PM   #13
danh600
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
How do you hear your intercom while wearing plugs? Or do you only wear them on solo rides?

I haven't worn hearing protection much either. More and more of my friends seem to be losing their hearing (not from motorcycling though) and I don't want to be one of them.

I also have cone shaped ears that won't hold earbud speakers...only the foam seems to stay put.
My ear plugs seem to just cancel out the wind noise and other background noise. Actually makes it easier to hear the intercom. I have a pair of hearos and a pair of noisestops. Both work about the same.
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Old 10-29-2014, 02:55 PM   #14
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FWIW most people's ear canals do not run perpendicular to their outer ear, but angle forward (anteriorly in medi-speak) so if you insert your plugs / earbuds "straight in" they will contact the back surface of your canal before getting very far inside. When you insert, angle them a little forward and you will get better results (better sound attenuation and fit, and less likely to fall out).

I think OP's "hum" is because of the plug not being fully inserted into the canal.
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Old 10-29-2014, 03:10 PM   #15
SpaceKnight
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I also cannot stand expanding foam ear plugs because they get uncomfortable. My ear just doesn't work with earbuds either.

Started using Macks ear plugs. They are silicone and you just push them in the outside of your ear. They do not go into the ear canal. I completely forget they are there because they are so comfortable.

More info http://www.macksearplugs.com/details...s-6-pair-value

You can get them at Walmart.
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