Biker with Ear Problem

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by NoobBiker101, May 26, 2019.

  1. NoobBiker101

    NoobBiker101 n00b

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    Hi!

    I really love to ride bikes but the problem is I have sensitive ears that are prone to tinnitus. Just bought a pair of noise reduction ear plugs/ear piece and they do not fit well in my ears. I'm planning to get new ones but I'm torn between these two brands: https://www.bigearinc.com/products/motorcycle-ear-plugs/ and https://pinlock.com/products/earplugs/.

    First one is a company that offers customized ear protection and the second one had good reviews online. The thing is...I think I have an uneven ear canal and I'm not sure if a pair of generic plugs would be very useful. I just hope you can help me decide what to buy.

    P.S. I'm open to all your suggestions.

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. Dijkvaneenjoost

    Dijkvaneenjoost Been here awhile

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    Get a pair that are custom made to fit your ears....
    I had that done 10 Yes ago, still use them they are awesome!!
    #2
  3. NoobBiker101

    NoobBiker101 n00b

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    #3
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  4. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    In a pinch you can get plugs for swimming (they look like pink playdough and sold in Target). They are inexpensive and work well only problem they seal too well not good for mountains where you have altitude/pressure change.
    #4
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  5. NoobBiker101

    NoobBiker101 n00b

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    I already tried that and I had an ear infection after using the swimming plugs for hours that time. I think that was 2 years ago.
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  6. NoobBiker101

    NoobBiker101 n00b

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    I'm leaning towards that decision right now. I'm just looking at their website and looking for other options. They have this https://www.bigearinc.com/product/filtered-motorcycle-earplugs-legal-in-all-states/ and it looks cool too. Pretty cheap too compared to other brands.
    #6
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  7. Radioaktiv

    Radioaktiv Been here awhile Supporter

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    Go to an audiologist and get fitted for earplugs. The plugs you linked to look like they should be fitted - they extend into the ear canal, and there is no way those would be comfortable without being custom fit. I just had a pair of custom in-ear monitors (hearing protection with built-in speakers) made through my audiologist for less than the BigEar plugs you linked to.

    Generic ear plugs are fine for short term use, but I never found a set of generic that were comfortable for all-day use riding.
    #7
  8. Chaostrophy

    Chaostrophy Been here awhile

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    I've got odd ear canals. I've had problems finding foam earplugs that are comfortable, but I've done it.

    Favorite so far have been Ear Jellies, got them through their Kickstarter, but they've never been otherwise available. Memory silicone, so you roll them to put them in, and they slowly return to shape, great for blocking voice, super comfortable.

    For cheap and purchasable, I'd look at the kits on Amazon for two part silicon earplugs.

    I have a set of AAW in ear monitors, downside is cost, I paid $110 just to have an audiologist make the impressions, then close to $300 for the monitors. Very comfortable, I use them instead of headphones also. I've not tried any high quality audio source yet though, so no opinion about sound quality, no worse than my $150 headphones though.

    Took a little practice to get my helmet on and off, if they got out of position, I've had to pull them out the eye port just so I could my head out to fix things.
    #8
  9. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

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    I have hyperacusis. It's an increased sensitivity to some frequencies. For me it's higher frequencies like wind noise or some flute or violin music. The silver lining is that I can also hear the mailman's quiet Honda from a half mile away through thick evergreen forest.

    I recommend that you either 1) have an audiologist take a mold of your ears and make custom plugs or 2) get an assortment of plugs and find ones that fit your ears. I used this assortment: https://www.aerostich.com/aerostich-reusable-earplug-sample-kit.html

    I recently got custom plugs. They do not attenuate noise as much as the Moldex Rockets that I've been using for years. They also pinch my eyeglass temples between my ear and skull and are very painful. The plugs have a guarantee and I'll talk to the audiologist about it, but for my ears and for my sensitive hearing the off-the-shelf plugs seem to be superior.
    #9
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  10. andynj

    andynj Been here awhile

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    I've been using etymotics for years, for music and noise reduction. After 10 years my ER4's finally broke I think the wire has a break in it. I tried other ear buds but they are not a patch on the sound reduction from Ety's so I got a new set of the ER3's which are awesome. Try a pair, if you order from Amazon and they don't work just send them back.
    #10
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  11. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    A number of high performance ear plugs have an air tube through them. I have found this to create unpleasant pressure drumming under certain conditions. Namely, when there is buffeting on my head.
    #11
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  12. bruceco

    bruceco Been here awhile

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    I also have tinnitis.I bought a custom pair at a bmw rally 8 years ago.They molded them as you waited. About $60 as I recall.I then went on a trip to alaska from ontario canada.Next year to california.Next year to nfld. I still use them every time I ride.I had them in 3 to 4 hrs at a time and no discomfort. Could never ride without them.They fit into your ear canal and don't protrude out .Slight twist and they are in.They put a string on them and I just remove and tuck them into my t shirt when I stop.Best investment ever if you have hearing problems or not.
    #12
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  13. Newbusa

    Newbusa Long timer

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    I also have tinnitus , and also wear custom moulded plugs ,but I still find buffering to be an issue for me.
    I now wear a light balaclava over my ear plugs which helps quite a bit.
    #13
  14. ghostrider990

    ghostrider990 Adventurer

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    Ditto on the Tinnitus, and ditto on Commercial soft foam earplugs working best for me.
    I also went to an audiologist a few years ago and got fitted for custom Westone Earplugs, but I chose the wrong model for under the helmet use.
    They actually don't attenuate well and make wearing a helmet LOUDER. Crazy.
    The custom Westones are also made of hard(er) urethane, and are extremely uncomfortable to wear under a helmet for any amount of time. Epic Fail.
    I've always wanted a pair of custom molded In Ear Monitors, but they are cost restrictive, and cheap earplugs seem to work best for me.
    I can wear the soft ones all day, everyday, with minimal discomfort.

    I have been wearing and buying Moldex 6800 Purafit soft plugs for many years now, and I simply love them, and won't leave home without!
    I buy a box of 200 individually packaged pairs, and the box lasts for YEARS. 33db noise reduction rating, and I can still hear music through my Sena.
    200 pairs for $30 = .15 pr.

    I do agree with others: try a bunch of different plugs, and see which you prefer.
    I had to try multiple styles before i arrived at my preferred choice.

    View attachment 1703323 View attachment 1703322

    https://www.amazon.com/Moldex-Pura-Fit-Soft-Foam-Earplugs-Dispenser/dp/B000BYAP7I/ref=sr_1_4?crid=M1LQAB6HPDHC&keywords=moldex+6800+pura-fit+soft-foam+earplugs&qid=1559039556&s=gateway&sprefix=moldex+6800,aps,156&sr=8-4
    #14
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  15. ghostrider990

    ghostrider990 Adventurer

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    Pura2.jpg Pura1.jpg
    #15
  16. Chaostrophy

    Chaostrophy Been here awhile

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    Some people have straight ear canals, some of us have more complex ones. Here's a shot of my custom in ear monitors, note just how complex the shape going into my ear is.

    I do a 3.5h ride twice a week, and I realised I was getting depressed from the alone, I think. Listening to podcasts the few times I did it in the car was much better. These let me do that, and it really seems to help. So, quite worth the money. 1559046541864.jpg
    #16
  17. AzB

    AzB Fattest thin man

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    Interesting. I have had the exact opposite experience; buffeting without the air tube plugs makes my head feel like it's in a bass drum. With the air holes, the pressure equalizes somewhat and while the buffeting is still annoying, it's much less painful and significantly quieter.

    The obvious solution is to ditch the windshield and hence the buffeting. But sometimes the windshield is nice to have too.
    #17
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  18. bruceco

    bruceco Been here awhile

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    Funny you mentioned the windshield.2 of my bikes have windshields and my norton does not.When I ride it the buffeting sound I sometimes get goes away.I also bought the earplugs as shown above so I could listen on long trips to my ipod.I know tinnitis is terrible at times.Drives me nuts if I forget my earplugs even for a short time.
    #18
  19. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Long timer

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    I too bought the Earpeace plugs and they work "ok" for me, but like you, they don't really fit in my ears that well. If I get them just right (maybe 1 in 5 attempts), they provide adequate wind/road noise isolation. But they start to get uncomfortable pretty quickly, as I can't get them far enough into my ear so something inside my helmet usually just touches the ends, which becomes a huge pain after an hour.
    Also, I have to be careful putting the helmet on, or else I'll dislodge one, and taking it off I usually dislodge one or both.

    I bought a bunch of different disposable plugs off Amazon. There is a vast difference among them as far as fit and comfort, ease of insertion, etc. Don't assume all foam plugs are the same. They are not. Nowhere close.

    My favorites so far are the Howard Leight "Max Lite" plugs. These seem to work well for my smaller ear canals, and they don't put as much pressure on the canal once they expand. Still, if I get them inserted all the way, which is much easier because they can roll down tight and stay rolled down while you are inserting them, the provide excellent noise isolation. They feel more gummy than traditional foam plugs. All of my helmets are now "quiet", behind several different bike/windscreen combinations.
    https://www.howardleight.com/earplugs/max-lite

    Strangely, the other pair I like is the Howard Leight "Firm Fit", which is a traditional cylinder shape of firmer foam. These definitely exert more pressure, but it's not uncomfortable. For shorter rides on the bike these work well, and it's what I also use for mowing/weedeating and shooting at the range.
    https://www.howardleight.com/earplugs/firmfit

    The key though is getting them inserted far enough. My ear canals have a pretty good bend in them, and I have to make sure I get the plug end past that bend to seat them so the ends are not sticking out past the outer edge of the front of my ear. When inserted fully, I get great noise attenuation, and they don't touch anything inside my helmet. I don't have to worry about dislodging them when taking the helmet off or putting it on, either.

    This video gets posted a lot, but you'd be surprised how most people don't know how to insert foam plugs (just go to a shooting range and look around, you'll see a bunch of orange foam plugs sticking halfway out people's ears). Notice how far into the ear the plugs are seated in this video, and pay attention to how the plugs are rolled. Don't just crush them down all at once, go slow, and you'll get a better fit.
    #19
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  20. bwringer

    bwringer Gimpy, Yet Alacritous

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    Every ear is different. You have to try a BUNCH of different options to find the best solution for your side-mounted wind scoops.

    I much prefer disposable foam. It took two exquisitely, extraordinarily painful ear canal infections (seriously, it's up there with kidney stones and child birth) to figure out that soft foam and a fresh pair every day was my personal key to ear canal happiness. Better and more reliable NRR, too.

    Anyway, I lost a bunch of weight and my ear canals actually got BIGGER. Weirdest damn thing that no one's ever heard of.

    So I scoured the earth and ended up finding the world's largest disposable foam ear plugs, the mighty Hearos Extreme.
    https://www.hearos.com/collections/all-consumer/products/xtreme-protection-series

    Your solution will most likely be different. Get the sample packs and experiment.
    #20
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