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Earplugs...

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by boz, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. Just wondering - how many people on this site regularly wear them? I have been on a number of rides with people, but haven't seen people putting in / taking out plugs.

    For some background reading:
    http://www.greenleopard.co.uk/story3
    http://www.hondahornet.co.uk/earplug.html
    http://www.isvr.co.uk/at_work/m_cycle.htm
    http://www.bikexprt.com/bicycle/hearing.htm (bicycle, but applicable)

    In short, speeds greater than 40 k/hr can create enough wind noise to exceed the 'safe limit' of 85 db(A) for some helmets (this limit is the noise level set by Victorian worksafe for continuous noise exposure). Further, no helmet is perfect - there will always be room for improvement.



    It is something that I have just started to do as I am riding daily 1.5 hours commuting (which is long enough for ear damage to occur). I am using run of the mill disposable ear plugs, which have an excellent ability to reduce out higher frequency noise (i.e. wind), but only a moderate ability to reduce low to mid range noice (i.e. bike). Therefore I cut the wind, and can still hear my bike and cars around me. I also choose to use these as I have a relatively steady supply of them at work (though these are cheap anyways)...

    Any thoughts/opinions?
     
  2. I read an interesting article in an Austalian magazine about musicians earplugs. Apparently they block out damaging frequencies and volumes but still give a good range where it counts.

    They cost a bit of money (high 10s of $) and need to be professionally fitted to your ear.

    I don't ride every day but soon will be, so I am going to look more seriously at these.
     
  3. Riding a motorbike is a perfect example of how noise doesn't have to be exceedingly loud to be harmful, long exposure to moderate noise levels at a fairly constant frequency, ie the sound of an engine humming away at cruising RPM, can lead to short term loss of hearing sensitivity and potential long-term damage. I was made aware of this after having to travel 100kms for a hearing test (by car) and being told to arrive 30-60 minutes early to allow time for my hearing to recover fully from the road noise.

    Disposable plugs are good, especially if you can "acquire" them for free however reuseable plugs are also available which may be a cheaper option to buying a box of the disposable variety. Although hardware stores sell earplugs it's generally cheaper to find a dedicated safety shop, they may also be able to give advice as to which earplugs may work best.
     
  4. Hearing loss is a common problem in my family. I have suffered tinitus for several years. About a year ago I decided to heed advice and start wearing earplugs when riding. It took some getting used to as at first the only thing I could hear was the ringing in my ears. However with ongoing use I'm able to tune out to the tinitus, and I can actually hear the engine better without the distraction of severe wind noise.

    I use the silicone bsed plugs for swimmers. Got them at my local chemist for $5. They come with a plastic case to stoe them in when not in use. Fits neatly in the pocket of the bike jacket. Its now part of my gearing up habit to put in my plugs before I put on my helmet. For any ride over 1 hour, plugs are mandatory for me.

    leftleg
     
  5. Ever since Twin Pilot has suggested wearing earplugs to help with the mental concentration and reducing the headache from the wind noise, I've been wearing earplugs whenever I can on long rides (ie >100 kms).

    I handed a pair to Foxy at Halls Gap, and he swears by them now.
     
  6. There was a guy doing custome fit jobs at the Motorcycle expo last year.

    I hope he is there again this year cause I will be deffinately getting a set.
     
  7. I prefer to wear them, but my problem is remembering to put them in, or take them with me.

    The only bugger about them that I've found is on group rides, makes it difficult if you wanna have a conv at the lights :) Well worth sacrificing that for the sake of not needing hearing aids later in life tho, me thinks.
     
  8. Yeah.. I wear them all the time.. When I first started riding I didn't and I have lost a bit of my hearing due to that...

    But some people hate them and they say that their helmet blocks out the noise of wind etc good enough.. So I guess it all depends on the individual rider...

    Lisa :twisted:
     
  9. Swore by them, had them on every ride that I went on.
    I tried the silicone ones, bit annoying getting them to fit properly. Plus side was that when they were soiled you only had to boil them to clean them.

    I preferred the disposable ones. Most places I worked in had them by the box load and I would just grab a handfull when I was running out.

    They cut the constant noise that the helmet caused but you could hear the engine and the traffic much better.

    You can buy them from safety shops in those bulk boxes for ~$50 for 100/200 pair.
    Good investment.
     
  10. About those muso earplugs ibast mentioned - I'm a drummer, and I had some of those made up at the princely price of $220 for flat-spectrum 25db attenuation.

    They were pretty good for music purposes, but they only lasted about 18 months before they began coming apart.

    I wasn't going to pay that much again, so I went back to your bog standard yellow ear bolts and they've been great. And yes they cut out more high frequencies than lower ones.

    I'd be worried about wearing them on the bike though - I find that hearing is an important way of knowing what the traffic's up to, as well as figuring out when the chain needs some oil, that sort of thing. Can you wear earplugs and still be 100% aware out there?
     
  11. I find when i go on weekend rides I forget to take them or I leave them in my pocket...
    ...but if i'm on a ride day say.. I will put them in before going out..
     
  12. Needed earplugs just standing next to your bike - no wonder you needed them when riding!
     

  13. Yes definitely as they don't cut out all noise, just the high pitched sounds and wind noise.
    You can actually hear the bike better and hear traffic better as the low based noise still filters through effectively.
    Much easier to concentrate actually.
     
  14. Loz wrote
    Chains need oil well before they "sound" like they need it. :shock: :shock: :shock:
    Just like tyres need air before they feel flat, and motors need fuel before they run dry.
     
  15. I think I am a converted. I avoid earplugs like the plague for the same reasons as Leftleg, I have tinitus. Might have to give them a go.....
     
  16. I always wear ear plugs when off on day trips or if I know I'm going to be travelling over 70 km/h for an extended period of time. I just find that I can't always put them in my ears the way i'd like to. Sometimes it's nice and quiet, as quiet as wearing a helmet can be, and others times it's a bit louder. A bit of a hit and miss really.
     
  17. I work in the power industry, and have done so since 1978. Most of that time I've worn earplugs as earmuffs can be uncomfortable. I had my hearing tested 2 weeks ago. Still good with little variation over the past 10 years.

    The earplugs that I wear are either Decidamp or EAR brands. They are the cylindrical shaped ones, and more of a spongy consistancy than the other brands that tend to be tapered and of a springy foam consistancy. I find them to be ill fitting and not too good on noise suppression.

    In the power station, I am subjected to loud noise from high pitched screaming pumps and turbines to the low rumbling of fuel pulverisers. So, I'd say that the EAR/Decidamp do a pretty good job.

    On the bike, well, they're as an essential accessory as a helmet or gloves on a cold day. My only problem is that we stop for a smoke/fuel/break, when we take off again, I've forgotten to put them back in. So, pull up, gloves off, lid off, plugs in, gloves on, gloves off, helmet on, gloves on, gloves off, do up helmet, gloves on, take off......
     
  18. I am going to ask a dumb question...... By wearing earplugs aren't you increasing your risk of an accident if you cannot hear approaching vehicles and/or emergency vehicles especially when they are coming across traffic through intersections????

    I would hate to rely on my eyes alone.
     
  19. I don't ride with out them. I've a fist full of packets of those orange industrial bastards, NRR 33.

    I would recommen wearing plugs on every ride to be perfectly honest. You can hear your engine better too.