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RIDE Adventures Blog

Hey motorcycle riders, are you protecting your hearing?

Posted by Eric Lange on May 2, 2012
Eric Lange
Since riding his KTM 950 Adventure down to South America in 2008 and launching RIDE Adventures in 2010, Eric now resides in Oregon for most of each year. Riding is still a regular part of his work though, in that guiding tours is a passion he'll always have, and researching new routes and regions allows RIDE Adventures to continue growing and providing reliable travel services to adventure minded riders and travelers from around the world.

Motorcycle Riding Earplugs

Mounting your motorcycle might mean it’s time to let everyday worries and concerns drift away behind you.  Be careful how far you’re taking this though.

As Rob Piddington of Sensorcom Ltd. recently explained in Adventure Bike Rider Magazine, the 100 decibels of wind noise & buffeting that is typical inside helmets at 65mph is enough noise to cause permanent hearing damage after just 2 hours of riding.  This is of course an “approximation,” as aerodynamics, helmet fitting, riding conditions, and many other factors go into creating those in-helmet sound levels.  

Aside from parking our motorcycles permanently, or never enjoying the speed that they are capable of, the best thing we can do to protect our hearing is to use earplugs.

“But those custom earplugs…..they’re so expensive!”  

Yes, compared to over-the-counter options found at most major drug and hardware stores, custom-made earplugs are extremely expensive (often over $200 per pair.)  With a typical price of $3 per dozen for the cheap drugstore options, the purchase or potential misplacement of custom earplugs might be too much for some riders to digest.

In a recent visit to Dr. Earnest C. Riley, an Otolaryngologist near Atlanta, GA, we were informed that many of these cheap over-the-counter foam and plastic earplugs offer the same 15-25 decibel reduction of the custom fit earplugs that his office sells.  Provided they are fitting properly, (sealing off the ear canal fully) these disposable foam earplugs can be re-used repeatedly, but should of course be swapped out for new ones when they become dirty or a factor in potential infections.

On various motorcycle forums and blogs, riders have reported that the “1 thing they can’t ride without” is their pair of custom earplugs.  Recognizing that custom earplugs are probably more comfortable than the over-the-counter options, it’ll be up to each of us to decide their value when purchasing.  Might be worth your time & money to try the cheap version first though.

Don’t forget:  RIDE Adventures is in the motorcycle touring renting, and envy business.  In addition to taking you on amazing rides and filling your camera with dream portfolio of photos, we want to help preserve your hearing ability so you can enjoy the sounds of your friends sniveling with envy about the trips you take with us!

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