Hearing Protection: Motorcycle EarPlugs

Now you follow my blog, you know I am an over-thinker and often think the worse and try to prepare for it. I wear a motorcycle jacket for slide protection, with motorcycle armor inserts, great motorcycle gloves, and motorcycle boots, and now you know I wear hearing protection. I use simple earplugs when riding my motorcycle, and if you need a reason, let me share a story with you.

Losing My Hearing By Age 20.

I was active military in my early years, serving in the US Navy as a ‘snipe’ living in the ship’s bowels.

As an “FNG,” I did a lot of dumb stuff, like often forgetting my little yellow earplugs when I stood to watch in the engine room. Loud a few times early on, but soon I got used to it.

What I thought was conditioning was a loss of hearing.

I Didn’t Notice My Hearing Had Changed.

Soon there was a trailer on the pier. Like much of my department, I was directed to get a hearing test to get our health screening before we took the ship into the yards for repairs.

I sat in the soundproof booth and pressed the button whenever I heard the ‘beep.’ I got out, was handed a piece of paper, and told I ‘failed.’ What did that mean? I had the tester explain how I ‘failed’ a hearing test and lost over 1/2 my hearing for my age group.  

I was told there was no baseline testing done when I entered the service, so my loss was my loss alone. I wouldn’t be eligible for help after the military if my hearing continued to decline since it would get worse with age, and I had years to go before getting out.

The tester told me because of my youth, I could preserve my hearing, giving it a chance to return as much as possible. 

If it didn’t return, I could let my hearing stabilize and not be deaf for a short while.

Well, try to shorten this story:

I wore earplugs religiously. I was even trying to give my ears a break while sleeping, wearing one ear plug at a time and avoiding loud music, noise, etc.

Much of my hearing returned, but I notice with age, if I’m exposed to loud noise for a while, I get a constant ‘tone’ in my ears.

Not full ringing, like tinnitus, but constant ‘sound.’ Like static.

Experience Is The Best Teacher; Hearing Protection Is Important.

Just as getting dirt in my eyes at work taught me to wear safety glasses, getting my hearing back and feeling discomfort with noises has taught me to protect my hearing.

New Motorcycle Rider, Didn’t Notice The Noise.

As I started riding motorcycles, I didn’t notice the noise associated with them.

Now calm down; I revved my motorcycle engine and upgraded my motorcycle exhausts, but those noises didn’t seem so bad.

When I was doing this in my garage, I wore earmuffs.

The noise I’m talking about is the wind noise in your helmet.

Starting slow, doing maneuvers during the motorcycle safety courses, and practicing in parking lots, I noticed noise but got used to it. It wasn’t loud.

As I increased my riding speed slowly, it was slow enough again that I was getting used to it.

As I did upgrades on my first motorcycle, the TaoTao TBR7 dual-sport, I started pushing that bike harder and harder, going faster and faster for longer rides.  

I was taking my TBR7 motorcycle on the highways more often. Soon I started to notice the effects.

After longer-faster rides, I again got that ‘tone’ in my ears. Constant sound will have a more challenging time listening to people or watching the TV.  

It was happening again; I was getting used to the loud sounds of the air moving past and inside my helmet and slowly damaging my hearing.

Loud Hobbies Are No Reminder For Motorcycle Hearing Protection.

Now I have loud hobbies.  

Big Bang noises. If I forget to wear hearing protection, I am quickly reminded to start using earplugs or earmuffs. Ouch.

With the motorcycle, the sound gradually increases, and I focus on other noises. Road noises, engine sounds, or the dreaded car beep before they run you down.

My Icon AirFlite Has A Chin Curtain, So?

I’m a fan of the Icon AirFlite Helmet, and I might even get a second one in a color that matches my second motorcycle, Boom Vader Gen 2 motorcycle (blue).  

Well, a nice feature Icon added to their AirFlite motorcycle helmet is a chin curtain. This chin curtain reduces the wind blowing up in front of the helmet underside and reduces the noise. However, it doesn’t eliminate all the wind noise.

I my Icon Airflite is quieter than my first motorcycle helmet, Fuel Full-Face Motorcycle Helmet, but still noisy.

So When Riding The Motorcycle, I Wear Earbuds.

Now, if you are thinking about starting to wear hearing protection when you ride your motorcycle, let me share with you the things I learned.

You can go cheap. Basic rubber sound-reducing earbuds work. I bought a bag of these; I just put out the strings when I use them. And they are overkill for riding a motorcycle, but my ears don’t hurt after riding for long periods.

Author’s Notice: This page contains affiliate links, for which I may earn a commission by their use. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases.

Click For Current Prices: 12 Pairs Noise Reduction Corded Soft Earplugs

Are Wearing Earbuds Dangerous?

If I used hearing protection on the motorcycle, I would miss that warning beep or screeching brakes that might warn me to get out of the way.

Well, when I ride a motorcycle, like many of you guys, I ride like I’m invisible. My first job is to avoid danger and inattentive drivers. 

Inattentive drivers are the worse; they don’t give you the warning beep or slam their brakes. The only warning you get is the one you notice.

However, even with the more powerful version of the earbuds above, I could hear noises like car horn beeps and louder engine sounds.

But….. I went to different motorcycle earbuds.

I now use lower-rated noise-reducing earbuds that reduce sounds but focus on lower sharp sounds. They do a great job of protecting my hearing, and I can hear more road sounds.

These are the types of new earbuds I wear, and they came in an excellent carrying case I attach to my motorcycle key chain. Like these:

Click for current prices: High Fidelity Concert Ear Plugs.

Long Post About Motorcycle Hearing Protection.

This was a long post, and I have suffered from discomfort more quickly than others my age(I’m in my 50s). Still, I believe that is because I’ve kept much of my hearing after my initial scare of hearing loss in my 20s.

Please think about protecting your hearing. No need to make the motorcycle seem more dangerous to the normies than it is. 

Remember, the best motorcycle ear protection is the hearing protection you are willing to use all the time. The most expensive ear plugs are worthless if they are uncomfortable and sit in your garage. It’s better to have cheap motorcycle hearing protection, than no hearing protection.

Ride Safe, Ride Fun!

Picture of me, as a New Motorcyclist.
Just Me…Newly Licensed.

Hi I’m Tom, A New Motorcycle Rider and Blog Author.

I am a new rider(Pa Learners Permit at the end of 2020, and I received a Pa Motorcycle License in 2021 after passing a Motorcycle Safety Course).

I bought my first motorcycle, a TaoTao TBR7, at the beginning of 2021 and have been doing upgrades on that motorcycle since.

I added to my motorcycle collection by buying a Boom Vader Gen 2 in 2022, and that Grom-Clone motorcycle has been upgraded by me as well.

I continue to ride my Boom Vader Gen 2 motorcycle as well as my TaoTao TBR7 dual-sport bike.

Read more on my About Me page.

Fun Fact: I’ve only been on one group ride.

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