Whichever way you look at it, riding motorcycles is a noisy business. It's often accepted that it comes with the territory, but sustained exposure to a continuous loud noise can seriously damage your hearing. The problem isn't so much the sound of an internal combustion engine doing its thing (unless it's constantly at full chat, such as on a track, or firing through an obnoxiously loud exhaust), but the turbulent roar of wind ripping around a helmet. Thankfully a decent pair of motorcycling earplugs can make all the difference.
Tests have shown that the interior of a crash helmet can experience Sound Pressure Levels (SPL) well in excess of 100dB and this can quickly end up causing permanent hearing damage. There is also the potential for increased fatigue, which can lead to a dangerous drop in concentration on long journeys.
There are several things to consider when purchasing earplugs. In order to compare their effectiveness, look for the SNR, or Single Number Rating. This indicates by how much they reduce noise in decibels (dB) as per ISO certification. The bigger the number, the greater the reduction. There's also CE approval to EN 352-2, the certification for hearing PPE.
Noise reduction is, of course, the goal, but cut out too much sound and you may lose some that's helpful, such as engine, traffic and emergency vehicles. This is where filters come in, as they will still allow certain frequencies to be heard. With the right filter, wind noise can be reduced without losing the ability to hold a conversation.
There are lots of different motorcycling earplugs available, from incredibly cheap disposable off-the-shelf ones to custom-made items costing significant money. We've listed a broad selection of what's available, along with real world reviews and an overview of key points.
Top motorcycle earplugs
The cheap ones
**Tested by Justin Hayzelden for more than 10 years and over 50,000 miles. Quality 4/5, Value
New to the market are these reusable earplugs with a built-in filter. The composite construction
3. CF Motoblock
The bespoke ones
Tested by Justin Hayzelden for 2 months, 2,200 miles. Quality 4/5, Value 4/5. I've used
Reusable silicone earplugs from the same folks who brought us the best-selling anti-mist visor
The comfy ones
Made in silicone-free plastic, these use three different sized 'flanges' to ensure a proper fit
Looking like something from The Terminator's accessory kit, these use a solid aluminium 'bullet'
The adjustable ones
The idea here is that in addition to three hypoallergenic silicone flanged earplugs, you get three
These mouldable earplugs from Decibullz take things one step further. They pair thermoplastic
9. Loop Quiet
The funky ones
These weird-looking earplugs from the USA come in two flavours. Quiet blocks all sound, reducing
10. Jabra Elite 75t
The connected ones
These Jabra earbuds work exceptionally well as earplugs, albeit rather bulky. The HearThrough
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