LAST UPDATED: July 22, 2019
Best Motorcycle Earplugs: Block Out Harmful Noise When You Ride
Earplugs can protect your hearing when you ride
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON July 22, 2019
Many bikers wear helmets, boots, and gloves to protect themselves when riding, but ear protection is often overlooked. It's possible to damage your hearing due to wind noise, so earplugs should be a priority each time you take your bike out. The best motorcycle earplugs are cost-effective and keep your ears safe and sound.
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Benefits of Motorcycle Earplugs
- Minimize wind noise. The faster you go, the louder the wind becomes, even if you're wearing a helmet. At highway speeds, ambient wind noise can occur at levels over 100dB. That high-pitched sound can be damaging but also annoying and distracting.
- Prevent temporary deafness. When you ride, the noise from the wind is constant. It can cause a condition known as TTS (temporary threshold shift), which produces temporary hearing loss. This partial deafness blocks out all frequencies, which can be dangerous when you're on your bike.
- Pick up certain frequencies. In loud environments, a good set of earplugs will actually help you hear better. That's because some frequencies are dampened more than others. The best earplugs will enhance sounds that you want to hear and soften others that are harmful.
- Reduce fatigue. Some riders experience noise fatigue when they're on a motorcycle for a long time. This can make you very tired and can even be painful. You can avoid this condition by wearing earplugs.
Types of Motorcycle Earplugs
The most common type of earplugs are disposable and made of foam. They are very inexpensive and comfortable to wear. Foam plugs may be cheap, but you still have to consider their quality. Since you're inserting them into your ear canal, you want a material that won't harm you. Also, if they’re not inserted properly, they won’t be as effective, and they don’t always dampen sounds in an even manner.
Reusable earplugs can be worn more than once but require a bit of maintenance to work effectively, so you need to clean them regularly. If you take care of them properly, they can last for more than a year. They are more expensive than disposable earplugs but are worth it if you use them frequently.
Some earplugs for motorcycle riders are attached with a cord. One benefit is that they are harder to lose compared to traditional earplugs, which are small and easy to misplace. Corded earplugs are easy to take out of your ears, and you can hang the cord around your neck when you're not using them.
Custom-molded earplugs for motorcycling are designed to fit your ears exactly. They are quite costly, but they're worth it if you wear them often and want optimum protection for your ears. Molded earplugs are designed so you can hear voices, but loud sounds are significantly reduced.
This company is based out of Southern California. It designs high-fidelity earplugs for those who attend concerts, rides motorcycles, plays music, takes the train, or are sensitive to noise in general. Its top product is the Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs.
Etymotic Research, Inc.
Etymotic Research, based in Elk Grove Village, Ill., was founded in 1983. The name Etymotic means "true to the ear." The company designs products that assess hearing, protect hearing and improve the lives of those with hearing loss with a special focus on those who play and listen to music. One recommended product is the Etymotic High Fidelity Earplugs.
NoNoise launched in 2012 and is based in the Netherlands. The company's "smart earplugs" are made with frequency-selective ceramic filters that allow you to hear normal conversations and filter out damaging noises. One popular product is the NoNoise Motorsport Ear Protection.
Motorcycle Earplugs Pricing
- Under $5: Old-fashioned, foam earplugs are very inexpensive, but they're disposable and intended for one-time use. If you try to reuse them, they may get rough or torn and lose effectiveness. They typically don’t provide even sound dampening.
- $15-$40: Most reusable earplugs are available in this price range. Typically, they are made of silicone and reduce noise while riding, attending concerts, watching fireworks, etc. Some brands will have interchangeable earbuds for a better fit.
- Over $150: If you're in the market for custom-made, molded earplugs, expect to pay quite a bit of money. Professional musicians and motorsports pros often use custom earplugs to protect their hearing. If you can't afford this type of ear protection, less-expensive products are more than adequate.
Even though many earplugs are one size fits most, your ear canal may be too narrow or too wide to accommodate certain brands. A good fit is crucial because if the earplugs are too small, they can get stuck in your ear canal. If they're too large, the earplugs won't stay in place. If you struggle with fit, custom-molded earplugs for motorcycling may be necessary.
You may see the acronyms NRR or SNR on the packaging of your earplugs. NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) is an American ISO standard for noise reduction, while SNR (Single Number Rating) is used internationally. These ratings are classified by their potential to reduce noise in decibels (dB). The higher the rating, the greater the noise suppression.
Everyone's ears are different, and you need to find a pair of earplugs that are comfortable while you're riding. If you wear a helmet, you want to make sure the earplugs aren't crushed by the sides of the helmet. For this reason, you may want to select a pair that has shorter stems, are lower profile, and don't stick out.
- Material: Motorcycle earplugs are made from a variety of materials. One of the most popular is foam, which you squeeze to insert into your ear so it can expand to fill the canal. Others are made of soft silicone, which is more delicate. Some ceramic earplugs have filters that provide more precise sound attenuation than plastic filters.
Best Motorcycle Earplugs Reviews & Recommendations 2020
These earplugs are made of silicone and provide hearing protection for motorcycling as well as concerts, music festivals, etc. They have high-fidelity and precise noise filtration to protect you from harmful sound decibels. They also come with a compact aluminum case and a companion mobile app.
They are comfortable, hypoallergenic, and so low-profile and discreet that they’re virtually invisible. Their soft medical-grade silicone gives them a nice, comfortable seal, and they reduce wind noise yet still allow you to hear other frequencies. Overall, they filter harmful decibels to your ears while providing a good reservoir of sound.
One problem is they are designed for people with average-sized ear canals, so if you have larger canals, they may get stuck and be difficult to remove. Conversely, if you have smaller ear canals, they may pop out, and you will have to continually push them back in for a tighter fit.
These earplugs are high-fidelity hearing protectors for motorcycling, concerts, nightclubs, and other live events. They reduce sound moderately, yet certain frequencies come through crisp and clear. They are low profile, but the company also has a long-stem version for a larger fit. The earplugs come with a sturdy aluminum case that you can attach to your keys, belt, or bag.
They are soft and shorter than some earplugs, which is perfect if you wear them with a helmet because the helmet doesn't push them in or knock them out. They nicely reduce the noise of your bike and the wind; they knock the sound down by 19 dB, and they feel good in your ears. In addition, they aren't super bulky and visible like other earplugs.
If you have small ears or have trouble inserting or removing earplugs, you may prefer another brand because the DownBeats can get "lost" in your ear canals. There have also been some complaints that they break when you try to remove them. In addition, they're so small that they're easy to misplace if you don't put them back into the carrying case.
The Eargasm earplugs are made of hypoallergenic, soft silicone, provide up to a 21 dB drop in noise levels, and have an NRR of 16 dB. Their attenuation filters reduce noise while maintaining the full spectrum of sound. They also come with two pairs of different-sized earplug shells to fit normal to large ear sizes as well as an aluminum storage case.
They go in and stay in comfortably all day. On the highway, you can hear music from your Bluetooth helmet because the Eargasms block most of the wind noise. Overall, they reduce noise but allow some sounds in at a decent volume when you’re riding. It's also convenient to attach the holder to your motorcycle key chain.
To insert them correctly, you need to follow the product's instructions, and if they don't fit perfectly, there's no way to adjust them. There have also been some complaints that the Eargasms are flimsy, and the silicone tears easily. In addition, they're more expensive than some competing brands.
Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs are designed to reduce loud sounds and protect your ears in noisy environments. They are ideal for driving, concerts, nightclubs, sports events, and more. Because they are able to reduce the noise without damaging the overall sound quality, Vibes earplugs are one of the most popular within the category.
The earplugs have a noise-canceling feature that helps with lowering the outside noises and keeping the sound quality at its finest. They are reusable and basically invisible. Other people won't even notice you’re wearing them thanks to the clear outer shell and low-profile design. Also, you get to choose a perfect pair from three available sizes.
Vibes earplugs are very comfortable and easy to put in. They offer a snug fit and a chance for you to concentrate in noisy surroundings or enjoy music to the fullest.
One of the things to keep in mind with these earplugs is the fact they can sometimes mute the sound completely. You might not be able to hear the person sitting right next to you. The smaller issue inolves the included case. It's tiny and might make storing the earplugs a little more challenging, especially when you’re out driving or attending concerts.
EarPeace offers professional-grade earplugs for those looking for a better music experience and more comfortable rides. They are ideal for motorcyclists that have to deal with wind and traffic noises. By reducing the outside sounds, these deliver crisp and clear sound at any moment.
These earplugs come with three filters for medium, high, and maximum noise reduction. You get to choose the one that suits you the best in each particular situation. All of them are very comfortable. They are made from hypoallergenic materials and can be used over and over again. You can even wear them to sleep, and there won't be any discomfort with extended use. Furthermore, these are low-profile earplugs that are almost invisible in the ear.
However, keep in mind that these earplugs are not a perfect option for those who are looking for complete noise cancelling. That makes them unsuitable for extremely loud surroundings such as concerts. Another issue could be finding a perfect fit as some users find these earplugs too large. They might fall out occasionally.
These are one of the most popular earplugs on the market. The reasons for their popularity are various, starting with the excellent noise-canceling feature. The Etymotic earplugs reduce outside noises to bearable and safe sounds. They are ideal for people with hearing problems as well as drivers, music enthusiasts, and others who would like to enjoy a more silent environment.
The Etymotic earplugs come in a convenient carrying case and with a neck cord. This way, you won't be able to lose them that easily. They are comfortable to wear even under helmets and hats and offer a snug fit for more efficiency and security. The discrete design makes them ideal for every occasion, from offices to festivals. What's even more important, these earplugs don't influence overall sound quality and can be used even by professional musicians.
The thing to keep in mind with these earplugs is the fact that they are not recommended for sleeping or tactical situations. If you're looking for ones that can protect your ears while shooting, you might want to check out another model. Also, they might become a little uncomfortable after being used for extended periods.
The Plugfones earplugs look and work just like headphones. The item is a perfect mixture of noise-reducing earplugs and high-quality audio speakers. It allows you to cancel outside noises and have a better listening experience at the same time.
The earplugs are super comfortable and fit snugly into the ear. They are perfect for loud environments, especially for activities such as shooting, driving, and working out at the gym. Thanks to the noise-canceling feature that reduces the noise up to 26 dB, they are very efficient and suitable even for those with hearing problems. The earplugs are also built to last and come with a cord that makes them easier to find.
The one thing to keep in mind with these earplugs is the fact they are not quite suitable for music festivals. The sound quality isn't the greatest when delivered through the earplugs, so you might want to opt for other options for ultimate music experience. Some users also note that they look a little bit fragile and might be less durable than expected.
The SureFire earplugs reduce the noise up to 24dB. They allow you to enjoy safe sound levels at any time, whether it's at a music concert or on a motorcycle ride. Thanks to the low-profile design, you can wear them even under masks, helmets, hats, or hearing muffs.
What makes these earplugs special are retention rings that use seven contact points to lock the earpieces in place. Thanks to this unique design, they fit perfectly and stay securely in the ear canal. The earpieces are also super soft and comfortable. They are made from hypoallergenic and medical-grade polymers for more safety, comfort, and durability. All in all, you get to use these earplugs for quite a while and enjoy a better hearing experience.
These might be a little challenging to adjust, though. They tend to wiggle and might fall out if not placed properly. Also, be aware that they might be a tad awkward in the beginning. It's not about comfort but overall fit into the ear canal.
- To reduce wind noise, choose a motorcycle helmet that fits snugly on your head so there's a little of a gap as possible between your ears and the foam padding.
- Have your ears checked by a professional on a regular basis to make sure your ear canals are clean enough to accommodate earplugs and that you do not have any hearing damage or other problems?
- While a windshield will reduce wind impact, it's not designed specifically to protect your ears. Wearing earplugs is the best way to safeguard your ears and reduce noise.
- It doesn't matter how loud or quiet your motorcycle is because wind noise is the bigger issue. The nonstop, high-frequency sound generated by the wind can threaten your health.
Q: Are motorcycle earplugs legal?
A: They are not illegal in most states, but California, Ohio, and Maryland have restrictions on their use while riding, according to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). Be sure to check your state's laws before you invest in a pair.
Q: Will noise-canceling earplugs for motorcycles prevent me from hearing sirens and horns?
A: No. The best motorcycle earplugs are designed to reduce high-pitched sounds. You will still be able to hear traffic sirens and horns when you're riding your bike with earplugs.
Q: Do I need earplugs if I wear a full-face helmet?
A: Wind can still enter the gap of your full-face helmet and create a shrill sound, so high-grade earplugs are necessary to fully protect your ears.
Q: Do I need earplugs if I’m only riding a short distance?
A: Yes. Even if you're not traveling very far, it’s a good idea to protect your ears from the wind and/or engine noise with disposable, reusable, or molded earplugs.
Q: Can I hear my Bluetooth speakers if I wear earplugs?
A: Probably. Wearing earplugs should make it easier to hear your headset because you're eliminating wind noise. Remember, the best motorcycle earplugs enhance some frequencies and soften others.
Our pick for the best motorcycle earplugs is the EarDial HiFi Earplugs. They're comfortable, hypoallergenic, and they reduce wind noise and filter harmful decibels while allowing you to hear other frequencies.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the DownBeats Reusable High Fidelity Hearing Protection.