I wish we'd had these things when I was in Vietnam. I'm sure they work better than the cigarette butts from the 4packs of Chesterfields that came in the C-rats. I think those reduced the db of the twin 50s, 81 mortars, RPGs and 155s from 2milliondb to about 150000db.
Seriously, it'll really pay later in life if you young guys take care to protect your hearing now. You won't need to use the subtitles when watching DVDs later. So use earplugs when you ride.
On the other hand the benefit is not hearing Madonna's shrieking so clearly.
As a LD touring rider, I've worn most of those brands all day, and for my ears, nothing is as comfortable and effective as the Hearos Supersofts. I buy them in the 100 pack, and use each pair for a few days or until they get too nasty looking.
What I really like is I can hear things around me BETTER at speed than I can without any plugs (as the wind white noise masks a lot of other sounds).
On my BMW R1100RS (stock exhaust and everything else), I find the wind noise is far more damaging at speeds above about 55mph than any engine noises.
for what its worth, I'd like to see some on-bike noise tests done with a DB meteer that has an external tiny mic you could snake inside your helmet, and place right on top of your ear, and then try this test with different helmets, different bikes, different speeds.
My newest Arai Signet/GTR is noticably quieter than my previous Signet/GT (both in size XL).
Trust me when I say that tinnitus is not fun. Or funny. I suspect a year of listening to Huey transmissions didn't help. Only thing to do is preserve what's left of my hearing. Always wear plugs no matter how short the ride. The funny thing is I can still hear pretty well I just always have this test-pattern noise in the background. Could be really annoying if I let it.
Great Article! I read it aloud to The Wife, she an I had a good laugh about it.
I already knew a bit about all this, but you managed to clear up a few questions related to the NRR ratings that I had, by not actually..... answeri...
.........Well, I THOUGHT you were clearing that up, why would you do that to a person?
Anyway, I forgive you.
One thing should be noted: most of these plugs are available "corded" to help prevent losing them so easily. I obtained a box of the corded MAX and corded Laser Lites. With each new set of plugs, I tie a small knot in the cord near one of them, to differentiate between the right and the left (I use the Mnemonic "That's 'KNOT' Right!" to remember which ear it goes in).
I also sometimes clip the cord, but leave a short length sticking-out of each plug: ~3/4" for the Left, ~1/2" for the Right ("LONG= Left"). For those whom occasional, persistent ear infections are a fact of life, cross-contaminating from one ear to the other is a Bad Thing(tm).
Oh, and those custom clear silicone plugs work pretty-good if you lick them before insertion. Perhaps that was the trouble?
Good article but your low frequency vs high frequency attentuation discussion is wrong.. Just a nit... The attenuation (reduction) of sound through air has an important frequency dependence, due to the two separate factors(air viscosity and water & oxygen molecular vibratin). The amount of attenuation depends on the sound frequency, and it turns out that the attenuation increases as the square of the frequency. So, a 100 Hz wave, for instance, will travel four times as far as a 400 Hz wave
That said you should avoid loud pipes and wear earplugs.. I fought forest fires for 6 seasons in Colorado where I used a chain saw to cut fire line. Being macho men we never wore earplugs and chewed tobacoo ( Copenhagen and Skoal) I do have some hearing loss but no lip cancer yet...
Shotgun guys (skeet/trap) pros use custom ear plugs for a few hundred bucks a pair. I use old fashioned looking ear phones (I'm too cheap for the good stuff). When I shoot my 45 at indoor ranges, I use conventional ear plugs AND ear phones over them. Even rock musicians use ear plugs when performing (with speakers pointing outwards to the audience). Can't be too careful. You only get one set of ears.
I NEVER ride without em. My Hardly Ableson friends think I'm a wimp, and wont even try them for a short ride. Lets see.. straight thru exhausts, beanie helmet and no ear protection or Stock exhaust Full face helmet and earplugs. seems like a no brainer to me.
I also find I'm not as tired after a long ride. I think the constant noise tires one out faster.
"That said you should avoid loud pipes and wear earplugs.. I fought forest fires for 6 seasons in Colorado where I used a chain saw to cut fire line. Being macho men we never wore earplugs and chewed tobacoo ( Copenhagen and Skoal) I do have some hearing loss but no lip cancer yet..."