Whichever way you look at it, riding motorbikes is a noisy business, so motorcycle earplugs are generally considered to be a good idea.
Sustained exposure to a continuous loud noise can seriously damage your hearing and cause conditions like tinnitus that can blight the lives of sufferers.
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 riding your bike 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 motorcycle 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.
The best at a glance
Best cheap ones: Howard Leight Laser Lite
Best compact ones: Oxford FilterBuds
Best bespoke ones: CF Motoblock
Best reusable ones: Pinlock Ear Plugs
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
Best cheap ones
Classic foam earplugs regularly used in loud working environments. Recognisable for their 'rhubarb
- Easy to use
- Not great for the environment
2. Oxford FilterBuds
Best compact ones
These reusable, silicone-free earplugs are hypoallergenic and come in a handy carry case you can
- Handy carry case
- Sometimes tricky to remove
3. CF Motoblock
Best bespoke ones
The CF Block is a completely solid custom ear plug that reduces approximately 30dB of noise. It
- Perfect fit for you
- 30dB reduction
- Range of colours
- There is a cost for fitting if you can't get the CF's HQ
4. Pinlock Ear Plugs
Best reusable ones
Reusable silicone earplugs from the same folks who brought us the best-selling anti-mist visor
- Handy carry case
- Two sizes of plugs
- Don't stay in as well after several uses
Best comfy ones
Made in silicone-free plastic, these auritech Biker Earplugs use three different-sized 'flanges'
- Let some noise in
- Come with a storage tube
- Soft construction makes them tricky to get in
Best adjustable ones
The idea here is that in addition to three hypoallergenic silicone flanged earplugs, you get three
- Three interchangeable filters
- Three sizes of earplugs
- You always wonder if there's a better combination of plug and filter
Best mouldable ones
These mouldable earplugs from Decibullz take things one step further. They pair thermoplastic
- Moulded to your ears
- Self-fit at home
- Version with speakers available
- Other plugs have better noise reduction
8. Loop Quiet
Best funky ones
These weird-looking earplugs from the USA come in two flavours. Quiet blocks all sound, reducing
- Look cool
- Lots of bud options to get the perfect fit
- Handy carry case
- Start falling out after prolonged use
9. Jabra Elite 75t
Best connected ones
These Jabra Elite 75t earbuds work exceptionally well as earplugs, albeit rather bulky. The
- Audio for sat nav or music
- HearThrough system lets you hear traffic
Things to consider before you buy:
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.
About the author: Justin Hayzelden is MCN's resident products guru and keeps a finger on the pulse of all that's new and important in bike kit and accessories.
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