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For rides over 15 minutes, I wear earplugs:

  • Always

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  • Most of the time

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  • Sometimes

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  • Never

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  • Never tried them

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When I got my first bike, I rode for about a year and a half before trying earplugs to combat wind noise. This despite seeing every rider in m/c races taking plugs out after the race, and reading lots of favourable opinions in magazines.

Well, as soon as I tried 'em, I was hooked. It was just so much more pleasant to ride with them than without, especially on longer rides.

Now that I've taken up riding again, I went about two weeks without, before getting some plugs, and now I wear them all the time. How about it? Does anyone else use earplugs?

Or is this why lots of people buy larger screens for their Burgmans: to get the wind off the helmet and reduce noise?

Simon
 

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Don't use em

Between the helmet, and the quiet ride, haven't really need them.

I do hear birds and such on occasion while riding, I would hate to miss that.
 

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Simon, this research actually found that windscreens made the noise levels higher. OK, this might be open to debate and empirical data might suggest otherwise - we're all different shapes, for a start - but the wise rider chooses to wear earplugs if he/she is to prevent the onset of tinnitus in years to come. Even bearable noise levels are potentially damaging.
 

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My wife & I had some ear plugs made last fall at
Myrtle Beach's bike rally. $110.00 for the both
of us. $60.00 had the been separate. The are
the kind just like you'd have done at the ear doctor,
but you'd pay more.

I have no windshield and STOCK mufflers on the
VTX. It will still down right wear you out even with full
face helmets on. Supposedly, you will arrive at your
destination much more rested wearing earplugs. I
do find it true.

A Smart investment in our opinions.
 

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My favorite subject! Just like with my other protective gear, I would not ride without earplugs. The difference they make between a great ride and a tortuous one, is immense. I know others prefer not to for their own reasons, and if I could have a quiet ride without them, obviously I wouldn't use them either, but I have never had a helmet or a windscreen on any bike that kept the wind noise out and after a while that gets really tiresome. On the other hand, when I wear earplugs, I ride faster, better, more relaxed and at peace with the world and all that for a couple of bucks, wow!

Cheers,

Bob
 

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Don't they block out noises that you want to hear, like birds, cars, sirens etc.?
 

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Count me in with the earplug crowd. In my experience, they reduce fatigue and save what hearing I have left. Preferring the expandable, disposable foam type, I find that they do not reduce sound levels enough to present a safety hazard. Although I have seen none for motorcycle use, the sound attenuating ear-covering units I use at the shooting range actually increase the ability to hear normal conversation (to the point of being able to eavesdrop), but electronically cancel damaging levels of sound, usually above 85 dB, and render the report of even the loudest firearms harmless.
The only bike I ever owned that allowed earplugs to be optional for me at normal touring speeds was a 1984 Goldwing Aspencade with a
VERY large Markland windscreen. I always wore a full-face Hondaline helmet and shield with built in stereo earphones and microphone. I have never ridden anything as quiet before or since.
Failure to protect your hearing from the sorts of noise produced by motorcycles, chainsaws, firearms, etc., usually results in. or contributes to, an eventual 4000 hz "noise notch." Each time you assault your hearing, the capacity to recover from the resulting temporary threshold deviation is somewhat less than 100%.
 

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I tried some foam plugs on my ride back from Scootercade last year. After an hour or two they became quite uncomfortable. I found myself much more dependent on my mirrors and head turns - I could no longer hear traffic overtaking me from the rear. They were also one more thing to fiddle with at rest stops. I did not like wearing them. I may, or may not, try again with a different type or brand when touring. I will not use them locally for rides of 200 miles or less.
 

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I am a night-shift worker, and therefore have been using earplugs to help me sleep during the noisy daytime for many years. Because of this, when I put them in I immediately become drowsy, to the point that I beleive it diminishes my riding ability. It seems to be a learned reflex.

That said, I also found that the things shut out noises I badly needed to hear, such as overtaking cars and sirens. With my new Givi windshield (review to come!) I find that I really don't need plugs. The noise is less than that of my MGB convertible, with the top in _either_ position.

Plus, I too like to hear the birds sing. Sounds like that are what riding (and life) are all about.
 

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Nope - I only wear hearing protection when I'm shooting.
 

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When I ride my Bandit, I almost always wear ear plugs. On the Burgman it depends on the type of riding. In city riding at speeds below 40mph I rarely wear thme. Secondary roads over 45mph most of the time. highway speeds, all of the time.

Ear plugs make a big difference
 

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Once I decided to buy a new scooter (to replace an old one I'd just sold), I knew I'd need new helmets. My current ones still fit but are 20 years old. With all the new technology that's popped up in the last 20 years, I assumed there would be many fancier options.
For example: A helmet with built-in headphones/microphone and a jack on the side or back one could plug any modern MP3/CD/intercom/whatever into. I've got a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones that cancel out any sounds not coming from the electronic sound source. I think they would be the perfect thing to build into a helmet. But as far as I can tell, no one does. Seems to me the helmet folks should be joining forces with the electronics folks. I'm about ready to hack up a set of those headphones ($39 at walgreens) and a cheap stereo radio (two channel amplifier) To see if I can make my own noise-cancelling intercom system. At minimal, I want to have some way to listen to my Ipod, with other sounds cancelled out.

I've also ordered a Givi windscreen (should be here monday) and am hoping it will give me a "quiet" pocket to ride in. My old Honda 250 Elite never bothered me with noise, because I could slide back and dip down into it's wind-free bubble for a quiet and calm ride.

I do have a sound meter, so I may take some readings on a ride and see what REAL damage we might be listening to.

Dave B.
 

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I don't wear earplugs in the city as I find I don't really need them there. But on the highway I find the real soft foam earplugs work well and are very comfortable (after a few minutes I forget they are even in my ears). I always keep a set handy in my Burgy's right storage box. 8)
 

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ClassicGeek said:
How about it? Does anyone else use earplugs?
lilleyen said:
Don't they block out noises that you want to hear, like birds, cars, sirens etc.?
vfdcaptain said:
I don't wear earplugs in the city as I find I don't really need them there. But on the highway I find the real soft foam earplugs work well and are very comfortable (after a few minutes I forget they are even in my ears). I always keep a set handy in my Burgy's right storage box. 8)
Ditto what vfdcaptain said.

I don't wear them around town or on short hops, but whenever I'm going on a road trip I wear them. I have Hearos, which are triple-baffle foam plugs that cost about $4.00 a pair.

At 60 or 70MPH you're not going to hear any birds anyway, and cars, trucks, and sirens should be audible even with earplugs (although not as soon) unless you've already lost some hearing.

I use my mirrors frequently during constant scanning, do head checks before all lane changes, keep track of where traffic around me is at all times, etc. I think a little temporary hearing loss from plugs beats permanent hearing loss from long-term exposure to excess noise.

One tip for those who do wear plugs: remove them slowly, and with a twisting motion to break the seal. Pulling tightly sealed plugs straight out and too fast can actually damage the eardrum by creating "suction" in the ear canal.

(I know, there's no such thing as suction. That's why I put it in quotations. :wink: )
 

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Brian said:
One tip for those who do wear plugs: remove them slowly, and with a twisting motion to break the seal. Pulling tightly sealed plugs straight out and too fast can actually damage the eardrum by creating "suction" in the ear canal.
and what do you do to create "suction" on the ear lobe? 8)
 

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chiefkeefe said:
Simon, this research actually found that windscreens made the noise levels higher. OK, this might be open to debate and empirical data might suggest otherwise - we're all different shapes, for a start - but the wise rider chooses to wear earplugs if he/she is to prevent the onset of tinnitus in years to come. Even bearable noise levels are potentially damaging.
Last sumer in my experimenting to find a wind screen that worked I took a ride naked, well, without any wind screen.
I wear a HJC Symax which is suppose to be a very noisey helmet and the ride without the wind screen was one of the quietest that I have ever had!
The wind force being straight on was pretty good but it was pretty quiet.

Now I sit behibd a huge piece of plastic and it is also very quiet.
 

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If I had a "loud" bike, i'd wear plugs. Given that the Burg is so quiet, I really don't see the need. I really don't think it is much louder than some cars i've been in...tells you the kind of cars I drive I guess....

The reasons I don't use plugs is likely because I wear a decent full-size helmet (HJC CL-14) 100% of the time, have an XL Clearview windscreen, and have some simple earphones in the "holes" in my helmet padding by my ears. Listen to tunes about 95% of the time.

I find it relaxing. I can still hear sirens, but do find I have to watch for autos rather than listen for them. I have always been a very "visual" driver, not using my ears as much as I should. It is likely I already have some hearing damage from years of work on the family ranch, runnin all kinds of machinery without any ear protection - who knew back then?

Flint
 
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