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Discussion Starter #1
I don't normally wear earplugs, but I bought a package of Hearos blue foam ear plugs to take with me on the Scootercade trip. I didn't use them on the trip going to the rally, but on the return trip I was experiencing more wind noise so I decided to try them.

The first stretch that I rode with them was pretty interesting. I could very faintly hear my Remus exhaust pipe, but very little wind noise. Several times I was taken by surprise by semi-trailer trucks passing me - I just didn't hear them coming. I'm not sure if I liked that though. I stopped to use a restroom at a convenience store & walked through the store with the earplugs still in. It was bizarre. I was deaf - if someone had spoken to me I wouldn't have known it. :shock:

On my next stop I pulled the earplugs out, since I needed to purchase something to eat. When I went to reinsert them, I found that they hadn't completely re-expanded to their original shape. They did not seem to seal quite as well either - and I did hear slightly more noise when riding.

By the end of this third riding stretch, my ears were beginning to feel somewhat sore from the plugs. I removed them, and finished the trip without them.

I'm not an earplug fan yet. It was interesting trying them, but this brand appeared to be good for only one or two uses. It was another thing to fiddle with when donning or removing riding gear. If someone had walked up to me to ask a question after I had pulled on my helmet after inserting the plugs - I would have just stared at them dumbly. They are an inconvenience that I am not used to dealing with - and they made my ears sore within about 250 miles of riding. :?

I was in Walgreens yesterday, and I noticed that in addition to several brands of foam earplugs, they also carry a variety of wax earplugs. Has anyone tried wax type earplugs for riding? If so, how do they compare to the foam type plugs for convenience, comfort and sound reduction?
 

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Not tried the wax type earplugs yet. I have bought several different types of plugs and found each to have a different comfort factor. I thought the bell shaped plugs would be the most comfortable, but found I prefer the small cylinder shaped foam plugs as they provide less irritation for riding any length of time. I suggest trying a a couple of brands and styles to see what you like best.

Some good info about earplugs can be found at :
http://webbikeworld.com/Earplugs/earplugs.htm
 

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I use the foam earplugs. You twist them to make the smaller, insert them into the ear canal and release. They untwist in your ear and create a seal. Seemed to be pretty comfortable in the ear but I only went 150kms. The problem is that if you don't get them seated really good they work their way out which is annoying cause you have to stop, remove your helmet and fix them. On the good side they worked really well in stopping the wind noise. I could still hear most other noises but I would only use them on a long highway trip.
 

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I'm a strong proponent of ear plugs. I use orange cylinders that I bought from KMart. They work very well and are comfortable for the trip.

I only use the plugs if I'm on the highway. I don't use them on secondary roads.
 

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pauljo said:
I don't normally wear earplugs ... I could very faintly hear my Remus exhaust pipe, but very little wind noise. ...
I use earplugs whith accoustic filters. The filters for motorcycles only filter the higher frequencies. I can still hear the low frequency engine noise, other sounds -such as loud music from cars- and I can talk and listen to other people, for instance in a gas station.
 

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Forum member JoeZeff gave me a pair of plugs and boy did they make a difference on the highway!

Thanks Joe!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
BertvL said:
I use earplugs whith accoustic filters. The filters for motorcycles only filter the higher frequencies. I can still hear the low frequency engine noise, other sounds -such as loud music from cars- and I can talk and listen to other people, for instance in a gas station.
Do you have any more information on those - like brand name(s)?
 

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I use (when I can afford them) Flents 31dB foam ear plugs (Walgreens).
They have a pull cord that makes removal a snap.

Any foam earplug is good because they're resilient to high altitude self-extraction.
High to low altitude self-compression is painfull no matter what.
If you insert plugs deep when in Vail CO then descend into Denver, you'll get compression pain.

The pain you experience can be caused from several other factors:
1. Your ear canal is wet (from shower or humidity).
2. Dirt on fingers that twist foam tight for re-insertion.
Handling gasoline nozzles then re-inserting without cleaning hands first is a
common culprit.
3. Having compressed foam, it starts to expand before you get them
inserted then they fold into your ear canal instead of going straight in.
Making a rest stop, then discovering that one plug is open and the other
is still in is a telltale sign of a jammed sideways plug that has come out.

I use hydrogen peroxide dabbed onto a q-tip to clean my ear canal before
inserting foam plug.
Make sure the canal is dried with dry q-tip before insertion though.

After several days of touring with a multitude of earplug insertion-extraction
cycles, my ears ring when bedding down. Not from wind noise but from
stress on the eardrums that the eustachian tubes cannot compensate for
while riding with earplugs.

As for being deaf while approaching a store counter on the road, practice
smiling and saying thank you.
They'll never know.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
ajwood said:
The pain you experience can be caused from several other factors:
1. Your ear canal is wet (from shower or humidity).
2. Dirt on fingers that twist foam tight for re-insertion.
Handling gasoline nozzles then re-inserting without cleaning hands first is a common culprit.
3. Having compressed foam, it starts to expand before you get them
inserted then they fold into your ear canal instead of going straight in.
1. I did have to ride through a couple of showers.
2. Never thought of that - but I did buy gas & probably did not wash my hands afterwards.
3. I had less difficulty inserting the foam plugs the first time (new out of the package). When I re-used them, I had to fiddle with them a lot - they did not seem to expand as readily.

Interesting observations. Bottom line - the earplug thing takes more time to manage than all the rest of my riding gear combined (helmet, jacket, gloves). Maybe with practice & experimenting with different brands I could improve on that...
 

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I always wear ear plugs when I head off for a long stretch of highway travel. However, this is with one of my motorcycles and after an hour or so of 70-80 mph riding I don't think I could stand it without them. I will be heading off tomorrow for a BMW rally with the 400 and I am going to try ear plugs for the first time while riding it. Funny thing is I find the 400 has a pretty good wind shield for a guy my height and I am hoping I can do without them.

BTW each package of earplugs has a "Noise Reduction" rating (NR) and so you may want to pay attention of this rating. The plugs I have have a NR of 30. That means with them inserted the decibels will be lowered to 30 DB below what is measurable outside the ear. The higher the number the less you can hear your friend gas station attendant!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The earplugs I tried had a NR rating of 35. I may try something a little less "effective" next time. I didn't like it when semi trucks suddenly appeared next to me and I hadn't heard them approach. Yes, I could be checking my mirrors more frequently I guess - but I never realized that I depended that much on aural clues to what the traffic around me is doing.
 

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pauljo said:
...I didn't like it when semi trucks suddenly appeared next to me and I hadn't heard them approach. Yes, I could be checking my mirrors more frequently I guess...
When I went on the Teddy Bear Run fund-raiser a few weekends ago, my "wingman" for part of the trip was a fairley new rider on a sport-bike; not as quiet as my Burgman, but quieter than all the big cruisers.

At one point I lost sight of him in my mirror after a turn, and thought he may have stopped. So I put on my signal to move to the right shoulder. After 6 flashes of the signal I did a head check prior to moving over...and there he was! He was riding right in my blind spot -- idiot! :evil:

If I hadn't looked first we would have tangled. It scared me so much that I'm thinking of adding two more mirrors; inboard mounted and facing the sides.

Oh, and I wasn't wearing earplugs. The wind noise just masked his noise.
 

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Maybe a small convex round mirror glued/zip tied to one or both of the stock mirror supports.
---

"You will live and die by your mirrors."
- an old bus driver to a student bus driver.
 

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Brian said:
At one point I lost sight of him in my mirror after a turn, and thought he may have stopped. So I put on my signal to move to the right shoulder. After 6 flashes of the signal I did a head check prior to moving over...and there he was! He was riding right in my blind spot -- idiot! :evil:
In UK this check is referred to as a 'Lifesaver' check - for obvious reasons. Omitting them in your test is a fail and then afterwards a sort of Russian roulette.

To be frank, the other driver is unlikely to be aware that he is in your blind spot and may otherwise be 'maxed' out on task completion (drinking coffee, mobile telephone, applying makeup and maybe driving :wink: ).

I have seen a helmet on the market that gives you a HUD view of what is in your rear - link.http://www.reevu.com/index.asp
 

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ajwood said:
Maybe a small convex round mirror glued/zip tied to one or both of the stock mirror supports.
That's a good idea, and I'll have to experiment with different sizes and location until I get something I like.

My company is phasing out all of our 40' RTS coaches and getting New Flyer Inveros. There are convex mirrors bolted onto the flat mirrors on the RTSes, and I may try to snag one or two of those from our spare parts inventory if I can. They're not as good as the remote controlled, heated, flat-upper/convex-lower mirrors on our 60' New Flyer artics, but they're better than no "fish eyes" at all.

I'm going to see if there is some way to mount those mirrors on the brake fluid reservoirs. That way they'd also move with a turn giving me added view angles when needed most.

Anyway, lots of ideas to play with.

ajwood said:
"You will live and die by your mirrors."
- an old bus driver to a student bus driver.
I second that.
 

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