Now don't get me wrong. I'm not endorsing speeding. It is just that if I had made the headline:
you might not be reading this.
Actually, you will ride faster with earplugs and this is the reason why. Earplugs let you concentrate and free you from distractions. You will ride better and probably find yourself cruising at a brisker pace.
There is a lot of different kinds of ear protection out there on the market. The best choice for motorcyclists is inexpensive foam earplugs. They are comfortable under a helmet for all day riding and provide good noise attenuation.
Inexpensive foam earplugs|
last a long time
and provide economical,
comfortable hearing protection.
Earplugs do not completely block out noise. Depending on the effectiveness and fit of the earplugs or ear filters you select, you will still be able to hear. At the end of a long day, you will probably be hearing better than your riding friends who have not been wearing earplugs. Notice how loud they are talking. It is because they have been partially and temporarily deafened by wind noise and other road and engine noises. Unfortunately, some of the hearing loss will not be temporary. Over time, hearing loss will become permanent and irreversible. Foam earplugs or ear filters worn diligently will reduce the risk of severe hearing loss.
Another form of hearing impairment is tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears. In my case, it is most noticeable at night when everything is quiet and it sounds like a high frequency electronic noise to me. Foam ear plugs can reduce the risk of tinnitus.
Most any foam earplug will provide about 26 dB of protection and be satisfactory for motorcycling. Some ear filters are available now with as much as 32 dB of protection. Buy a bunch at one time. Replace them when they get cruddy. Lately, I have been using Hearos ear filters and they work very well.
You will discover that your earplugs will come in handy many other times. When gassing up at noisy stations by the Interstate, I found it more pleasant to leave them in. At night in motels by the highway or near a club, I slept with them in. And when I went to a beer joint with my friends that had live entertainment that I wished was not so live, I wore my earplugs.
It is not just loud noises like gunshots that require hearing protection. Whenever you are in a situation where you have to raise your voice in order to be heard, you are in an area that is hazardous to your hearing. Put in your earplugs. If you do not believe any of this, try this experiment. On your next ride, start out wearing one earplug. I guarantee that at your first gas stop, you will be digging around in your pocket for the other earplug. Even a quiet, well-fitting helmet has some wind noise and earplugs will be beneficial.
Buy earplugs. Wear them. Save your hearing. They are the only ears you have.
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