Sore ears a common problem with Ear Plug users. Most are using the stiff foam plugs ... not good. Ditch 'em. The Howard Leight Laser Lites are ... very SOFT ... and don't abuse your ear canals even after hours and hours. Quite comfortable overnight too. I've tested most brands of ear plugs. (movie/tv sound man) It's not the exhaust that will damage your hearing. It's low frequency wind rumble (sub audible) at speed. The low Freq's oscillate the Scilia (tiny hairs) around your ear drum, and low freq "move" ear drum. Not good. Over time/miles low frequencies will do permanent damage to your hearing. You probably won't notice until you reach your 50's. First you lose high frequency hearing. Becomes hard to understand conversations at parties/ Bars. High freq. is important for conversation. (sibilance). Next, your mid range goes away ... by then your pretty much deaf. Take care! Good luck tracking down drive line parts! !Suerte!