CW TIPS & TRICKS: Don’t Forget to Wear Earplugs When Riding Your Motorcycle Tip #50 from the pages of The Total Motorcycling Manual.


riding a motorcycle while wearing earplugs Say “motorcycle noise” and most people think of loud exhaust pipes. But savvy riders know there’s a much greater enemy—wind. Exposure to sound louder than 95 decibels (dB) can cause permanent hearing damage. Street riders on quiet bikes can expect wind roar to exceed 110 dB even inside a good helmet; racers can expect 115 dB. Fifteen minutes of 110dB a day, 5 days a week (can you say commute?) can cause up to a 30-percent hearing loss within a year. Your options: never ride faster than you can walk, use earplugs, or face a future with one of those ear trumpets glued to the side of your head. Are earplugs legal? Consult your local authorities.
foam earplugs

; UPS DOWNS
Foam Earplugs
  • Inexpensive, especially if bought in bulk
  • Available at any hardware store
  • Soft enough to be comfortable under helmet
  • Disposable
  • Depending on style, may fit well or not
  • Effectiveness varies between models

rubber earplugs
; UPS DOWNS
Rubber Earplugs
  • Good balance between price and quality of performance
  • Readily available at any decent hardware store
  • Fit is very fussy
  • Firmer models may not be very comfortable under a helmet
  • Need cleaning between uses

custom-molded earplugs
; UPS DOWNS
Custom-Molded Earplugs
  • Very effective, with up to 30dB sound reduction
  • Most riders find them very comfortable
  • Expensive
  • Need to be custom fit
  • Need to be well cleaned after each wearing