Earmold Silicone Earplugs
They’re supposed to protect your hearing when you’re on the bike, but that’s selling them way too short. Not only do the Earmold silicone earplugs protect your hearing from high-frequency wind noise and mega-loud pipes, they’re also pretty damn good at blocking the noise of screaming babies, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, chainsaws, power tools and pesky workplace tools with little volume perception. It’s a blissful sanctuary with these things on.
“Noise is very distracting and riders don’t notice this until they do something about it,” Heather Ellis wrote in her feature about hearing protection in Motorcycle Trader this year. Heather’s words about how wind noise induces fatigue and hearing loss firmly rang in my ears. I’m typically shagged after a big day’s ride yet it never occurred to me why. Now I know. So, given I played the drums for 12 years (and am hoping to soon rekindle that old flame), I decided to finally do something about it.
Motorcycle luggage specialist and provider of good motorcycle gear Andy Strapz is one of several appointed agents for Earmold Australia, a company that specialises in preserving your dried apricots at the coal face. So whether your 9 to 5 is akin to Ian Thorpe or Billy Thorpe, Earmold offers a range of hearing protection for you.
A pair of silicon-mold earplugs will set you back $70, which is cheap because they’re so much better than disposable foamies. Most importantly, they don’t distort your senses on the road, they’re comfortable and you can also still hear conversations at normal speaking volume. They instead block out the high-frequency stuff as I found out when Andy attempted to startle me with an almighty hand clap right next to my ear and I didn’t even flinch.
Earmold offers a range of options if you want to add music to the mix to reduce boredom during the dull highway rides, and these vary wildly in price between $220 and $1250 for professional, stadium-filling rock stars.
The audio quality of the $220 jobbies (or a Recreational Audio Set, as they’re officially called) sounds a bit better than music heard from an AM radio station so they won’t arouse an audiophile, but they’re sure to do the trick for many riders. A small volume control wheel ($25) pops out at the bottom of your jacket.
The next step up in audio quality is into the In-Ear Music Monitor range. Priced from $329, the entry-level single-driver system offers a beefier mid-range and clearer treble, along with a gold stereo connection pin. The unit measures 60cm in length and the coiled mid sections stretch to an arms span. Available accessories include the same volume control ($25) and a microphone cable ($35) to fit smartphones with a conventional 3.5mm phone jack.
In you’re running a comms unit through your helmet then you’ve got a few options: you can get away with spending $70 for regular Earmold earplugs and rely on the speakers of your comms unit (you’ll hear music and conversations no probs), or you can go for the In-Ear Music Monitor range and plug them into the speaker outlet of your comms unit (which most have).
Either option is well worth the investment (your hearing) so it just depends on to what extent you want to block the noise and listen to music – when you’re on the bike or off it too.
OUR RATING: 4.5/5 stars
PRICE: From $220
AVAILABILITY: Check with stockist