I have never been a fan of using earplugs; I’d say I only wear them about 30% of the time. I could never find any with a balance of comfort, effectiveness and practicality. Having them fall out every time I took my helmet off at petrol stations, not hearing others, and generally just not being comfortable. I know I needed to act, to prevent the irreversible damage caused by loud noises, increasing the risk of Tinnitus. Auritech sent me a pair of their biker specific Auritech earplug to change my mind, and protect my hearing.
Previous earplugs have been great at blocking out road-noise, but can be extremely annoying when stopped. They fall out and end up on the floor, which renders them useless or blocks too much noise. This often means you can’t hear any ambient noise like people talking, which makes paying for petrol awkward. Some earplugs have caused me an earache on longer rides and once taken out, and they didn’t get put back, increasing exposure to the dangerous noise levels that can cause tinnitus. Tinnitus describes noise heard by the ear, not from an external source, often it can be a ringing, or buzzing. Loud noise exposure can cause irreversible damage; however, how loud is loud?
How loud causes hearing damage?
Sound pressure is measured in decibels,(dB) it uses a logarithmic scale. In short, the gaps between decibels gets larger, the louder the noise gets. For example, a 3dB increase doubles the intensity of the noise. Therefore 113 dB is twice as loud as 110dB. Not just the noise itself, the duration of noise exposure is important too. For most noises over 100dB, we are talking minutes for damage. If at 109dB, we are talking seconds for possible damage to occur whilst unprotected.
I know I’ve abused my hearing, the constant barrage from loud engines, loud music and industrial noise due to my job, takes its toll. All of this damage is irreversible but preventable. Even at 30, I sometimes get ringing in my ears and severe headaches. Having a loud bike doesn’t help with this. So I was eager to try out the auritech biker earplugs.
Many people wish they had protected their hearing sooner.
Throughout writing this, I’ve spoken with people, to find out their take on hearing protection. It was alarming how many said they wished they started using it sooner. 45% of a 1200 person Twitter poll said they didn’t wear any hearing protection. Hearing protection always seems a bit of a taboo subject, and I feel a bit of a nerd talking about it to others, although it’s a wrong feeling to have. Surely, if people say they wish they had worn earplugs sooner, take the advice and give them a go.
Auritech Biker earplug features a ceramic filter insert, built into the plug. This insert filters out damaging levels of noise while allowing other road noises through. This is all housed inside a soft silicone plug, allowing easy insertion and cleaning. They come with an aluminium carry case with keyring allowing easy carrying, I tuck the case into a pocket, and the slimline nature causes no issues.
Silicone earplug compared to foam
The Auritech documentation says there is an attenuation level of 29.6dB at higher frequencies, comparable to the heavy-duty foam disposable plug commonly used. Time to test them. This helps to maintain clarity of higher frequency sound through the earplug, instead of off muffling everything. If you’ve ever used solid foam earplugs, you will know how hard it is to hear sounds you want to hear like people talking. Auritecs ceramic filter and design helps to boost these wanted frequencies to an audible level.
Inserting the plug is easy, pulling the earlobe up slightly and pushing the plug into the ear, with a slight twist. A little prod and wiggle, once in, get optimal comfort. The soft silicone material easily flexes and contours to the ear’s shape and provides a good seal. Previously I’ve hated some earplugs which are too tight in the ear, hurting the canal but Auritech Biker plugs seem to be just right. Tight enough to stay in, but not lose enough to fall out.
Auritech filtered plugs really work
At first, I couldn’t tell the difference, everything sounded normal. I could still hear people talking to me; I could hear to my footsteps walking along the pavement and hear the birds singing. As I started the bike up, I immediately noticed the lower volume from the can, it seemed a lot less bassy than normal, but the best bit, I could still hear the birds tweeting away. The filter seems to be taking lower bassy frequencies away but keeping higher frequencies.
When out on the road, the difference is alarming, not just exhaust noise and wind noise on the helmet. That buffetty constant wind noise drone, has the volume lowered to a comfortable level, the exhaust bass note that reverberates through my head is reduced to a bearable level. However, the best part is crackles and pops from the exhaust are still audible.
Even when riding stock bikes without loud cans on, it’s still a great relief to not have the constant wind drone. Music and sat-nav directions are clearly audible through my in-helmet speakers.
Less fatigue on long rides using Auritech biker earplug
Another unexpected bonus, I have found myself less tired after a long day of riding. The human brain has a lot of work whilst riding a motorcycle. Giving it one less job, of having to filter out that buffety wind noise and exhaust drones, saves it energy and reduces it’s workload, thus reducing overall fatigue. This is my thought anyway, whether this is actually scientific in any way shape or form is highly doubtful, but I have genuinely found wearing earplugs makes me feel less fatigued.
The pair I have currently is my third set, and Ben has also bought a few pairs too, obviously, if they were rubbish, we would have chucked them in the bin, but we haven’t! Short of going down the custom moulded route, we think these are genuinely among the best universal fit silicone earplugs. They are definitely better than foam, as they give the same volume reduction, with the ability to hear some sounds still.
Auritech biker earplug price
The supplied aluminium case is a quality piece; it looks the part, protects the plugs and acts as a reminder to store them away properly. I have used the keyring and attached the canister to a zip pull inside my leathers. I don’t leave home on the bike without my leathers, so can’t forget my earplugs now.
Pricewise the RRP is £19.95, so roughly 130 pairs of disposables. The quality of the Auritech Plugs are high and provided the plugs are kept clean and washed regularly. I can see them lasting a long time. 20 quid is a cheap price to pay. I’m a convert to wearing plugs, I never saw the benefit before, but now I do.
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