You probably never will. They are there and they work.

Eyes you will think about. You know you need a helmet shield, goggles or safety glasses otherwise without protection your eyes will be damaged. Same applies to your hearing.

Personally I enjoy the zen of riding. Open road, machine and myself. But seems I am in a minority these days everyone has headsets and listens to music while getting turn by turn instructions while their passenger says it’s too hot/cold and so on. I literally would not ride if I had all that racket but regardless if you are Sena or Cardo you too need protection

Hearing damage sneaks up. For years, decades of riding you will not notice and tell people like me you never had a problem and are not concerned until one day suddenly that ringing from a long day touring has not gone away the next day and it will never go away ever again.

Howard Leight non roll ear plugs. Matrix Vs Quiet Vs Pilot.

I used to be one of the guys who scoffed at the idea of wearing ear plugs and claimed they were not necessary or they were uncomfortable or I could not bear to ride with them.

All the preconceptions you have about wearing ear plugs are wrong once adjusted to them. At first yes it will seem odd but then you will discover you can still hear your engine and cars and things around you and in fact with better clarity as your brain is not having to mask the wind roar.

Once you find right model they are so comfortable I often forget I am wearing them at lunch or going into a shop. The highest NRR rating is not needed for riding so plugs can protect you but not stop you hearing normal conversation. You just enjoy the ride more and arrive with less fatigue. It is one of those things that once you make the adjustment you will be kicking yourself for missing out all those years.

But you do need to find the right ear plug. Easy to fit and comfortable to wear. For me this took a long time, I could never get any of the roll and insert foam plugs to fit and the hard silicon/plastic type were uncomfortable. Fortunately I discovered the hybrid non roll foam plugs and have been using Howard Leight Pilot ear plugs ever since. I ran out early this year then with Covid could not get more posted and now find they are being discontinued so have been trying other ‘non roll’ models.

There are not many people making (soft) non roll ear plugs. Howard Leight make two other models which seem to be alternatives for the Pilot model. The Quiet is shaped similar except it is made from a silicone rubber type material not foam and has a internal plastic pin same as the Pilots. The silicon material has some give but not as much as foam and whilst the smaller size suits my ears I find they can get uncomfortable. If you prefer a very small plug these might work for you.

The Matrix is shaped like an old traditional ear plug. It is made from foam, not totally smooth outer but soft. It has an internal plastic part like the Quiet but the plugs shape is not bullet and I find them too big for me. The inner pin does help with fitting so if you prefer a large plug these might suit you well.

This is a quick example of how for an experienced wearer of earplugs it still remains not as simple as picking up any type of ear plug and getting them to fit. If you want to try earplugs grab a whole bunch of shapes and sizes in your DIY or Workgear shop because they really do vary wildly despite often looking same.

There is a lot of expensive ear plugs with marketing hype being sold on Amazon or eBay. These are hard metal or plastic and that type in my experience is really uncomfortable. If you have only tried those and not liked them then try some soft earplugs.

Another type being marketed online claim to tune out noise like powered noise reduction music earphones do – miraculously without being battery powered. Pretty dubious claims lacking official test results and best avoided.

For me it is back to Pilots. This style combines the small shape of the Quiet with the soft foam of the Matrix. I tracked down some stock in the corded version so I ordered a heap and will simply cut the cords off. Daily washing with soap in warm water and always storing in small container I only wear out couple of pairs a year so this will last me a very long time.


Bonus ear plug tip – do you find it hard to sleep on moto tour due to noisy hotels? Get some of the soft moldable silicon swimmers ear plugs which pharmacies sell (but cheaper online) and never have a bad night sleep again. Also great if you have a partner that snores.

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