I’ve been using a set of Earmold custom-made earplugs (with speakers) nearly every time I ride for for nearly a year and they make riding more comfortable, more entertaining and also protect my hearing.
They were custom-fitted at the Sydney Motorcycle Show, late last year.
The initial process is simple, Aaron from Earmold Australia cleaned my ears and took an impression of them using a silicone based substance. Overall it took about 10 minutes. I chose the colour white for my left ear and red for the right because they are the same colours of left and right audio jacks back in the day, making it dead-easy to tell them apart, but you can choose from a whole range of colours.
From there, the hard work is done by Aaron and a Dremel, drilling the impression to fit the speakers in the moulds and I received them a few days later (they usually do them on the spot, but were swamped with orders on the day).
I have also found they come in handy for a number of different uses.
If you don’t know by now how loud it can be riding a motorcycle, you should.
Each of your ears contain 18,000 microscopic hairs specifically tuned to respond to a frequency and overexposure to noise will damage them permanently.
A report from SafeWork South Australia published in 2011 identifies a lawn mower as 90 dB and a chainsaw at 110 dB loud. The noise most riders are subjected to – mostly wind noise – sits between these two levels.
The SafeWork report states the equivalent exposure time for those two levels are between two hours and two minutes – any longer than this and your hearing could become affected. This is because noise is effectively doubled every 3dB.
When you use regular earphones, music drowns out the wind nose, actually making it louder because you turn the sound level up over the ambient road noise until you can hear the music.
Earmold custom earplugs will reduce this noise by 40dB, which the exposure time is 16 hours before your hearing will suffer. The best part is the earplugs don’t render you deaf, you can still hear conversations clearly.
Disposable earplugs have different ratings, most people tend to knock them off from their place of employment. I find they get uncomfortable after extended use, plus reusing them all-day is a bit gross…
Earmold’s silicon in-ear monitors are comfier because they are a custom fit to your ear. This also means you can’t stick your left one in your right ear and they are easy to clean.
I enjoy listening to music when I ride, that’s why I went for the plugs with speakers, but you can get them made up without. Great for noisy partners, industrial work and other sports like surfing if you are prone to ear infections… I find the absence of ambient noise relaxing, so I now use them when I drive the work van down the M1 and they come in especially handy whenever I fly.
I would like to thank Aaron and the crew at Earmold Australia for making my custom in-ear monitors. I never leave the home without them and highly recommend anyone who rides to get a set made up to suit their needs.
– Ryan Grubb