Since getting our hands on the Loop Quiet and Experience earplugs back in November, we have put a large amount of miles in on the bikes. We thought we would rundown how the past few months have gone using the new Loop earplugs.
Motorcycle hearing damage
Sound pressure is measured in decibels (dB) and uses a logarithmic scale. Without going too technical, the higher the decibels number, the louder the noise gets, obviously, but the gaps between also get larger. A 3dB increase doubles the intensity of the noise. Therefore 103dB is twice as loud as 100dB.
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.
Us motorcyclists often suffer twofold, both with noisy cans and with wind noise. It is often said that once a motorcycle gets above 40mph, the once from the wind hitting the helmet is louder than the bike itself. The actual dB figure can vary between bike and helmet, but at 140km/h ( 87mph), it can be around 110dB. 110dB is 16 times as loud as 70dB.
All this gives a reason why we need to look after our hearing, so wearing earplugs can make a difference. Loop’s experience and quiet plugs boast a 20dB and 25dB reduction, respectively.
Loop experience review
Loop’s experience earplugs boast a 20dB reduction, and Loop says there is an acoustic channel and filter inside the earplug. The plug does have a visible filter once the silicone tip is removed, and the experience plug is hollow with a cutout, presumably to allow sound to enter the inside of the plug.
The earplugs come with a hard carry case and a selection of silicon tips from XS to large to fit all ear shapes and sizes. The Loop experience plugs are easy to insert as the loop allows you to twist the plug and sit flush to the ear preventing rubbing noise against the helmet liner. This also makes them feel secure in the helmet and feel like they won’t fall out.
While these earplugs do look on the more trendy side, with the elaborate colours, it’s tough to see them in the dark if dropped at night, even with a torch. A high visibility colour version might be nice in the future.
As for the sound quality, they do reduce the noise, but the experience style plugs with the hollow channel they do still produce some wind noise and doesn’t completely reduce this. Presumably, these plugs would be great for a music gig where you still want to hear the noise but not at a high volume. Personally, for motorcycling, I would choose the solid Loop Quiet plugs.
Loop Quiet earplug review
The solidly built Quiet plugs, in my opinion, work much better for motorcyclists than the experience plugs. The solid build acts as a full earplug and provides a -30db reduction. This quietens the wind noise down to a great level, but the best thing you can still head the engine well, especially with a loud pipe.
The Loop earplugs work well, but there is definitely a sweet spot to insert them to achieve almost perfect noise reduction. Finding this sweet spot is easy once you know where it is.
Silicone vs foam earplugs
The debate of foam vs silicone earplugs has raged on for years, better single-use disposable foam earplugs or reusable earplugs that are easily cleaned and can be used time and time again. Personally, I have used both and like both types of earplugs, foam ones are easy to deal with, but silicone, I like the multiple-use aspect.
While the multiple-use aspect is nice, I’ve heard stories of people getting ear infections from using them without cleaning them regularly. It would also be handy to mark somehow which plug is left and right to make sure you put them in the same ear, therefore, minimising cross-contamination. Regular cleaning of the plugs with a disinfectant does help to reduce this, though.
The Loop Quiet plugs come with a soft case rather than the hard case of the experience plugs. For me, this works well, as I always keep my plugs in my leathers. When riding with the plugs inserted, I don’t feel the case stored in the pocket which is great.
I think overall they are a great earplug, they are easy to insert, comfortable to wear and do a good job of reducing noise. Although I haven’t tried them myself, the flush nature of the plug means you could also use them for sleeping if your other half snores!
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