Silencio Ear Plugs
Silencio Ear Plugs Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below)
Every member of the webBikeWorld crew wears earplugs when riding a
motorcycle. Motorcycling is a very noisy occupation, and hearing loss
I can tell you from personal experience that tinnitus
and hearing loss is a serious affliction, and my advice is to wear correctly
We've reviewed many different types of earplugs on webBikeWorld, always
searching for the perfect example. It's apparent that most earplug
manufacturers focus on certain market niches, but almost none focus on
motorcycling (an exception is
The Green Leopard
in the UK).
For example, Hearos earplugs seem to be marketed
primarily to musicians. The Hearos brand is sold through many music
retailers, and we purchased ours for the recent
webBikeWorld Hearos review
at Sam Ash Music.
Other brands focus their marketing efforts at manufacturing plants and
machine shops, which can have very noisy environments. Sometimes even
the packaging is optimized for use on the shop floor.
Silencio, on the other hand, seems to focus most of their marketing
effort on practitioners of shooting sports. The brand is often found
on the counters of gun shops, and their products seem to be only available
through shooting sports related websites.
Silencio directs customers
to the Shotgun Sports website to purchase earplugs, but we were unable to
find any reference to Silencio products for sale on that site, nor could we
find any type of search capability to determine if earplugs are for sale on
the Shotgun Sports website.
We ended up purchasing our assortment of Silencio earplugs from Bass Pro
Shops at what we consider to be an exorbitant price. The Silencio
Disposable Soft Foam earplugs cost $3.99 for a package of 6 pair, or $0.665
The Silencio Red-E-Fit disposable earplugs cost $4.99 for a
package of 6 pair, or $0.83 per pair, and the Silencio Silent Partner
non-disposable (aka reusable) earplugs cost $6.99 for a single pair.
We can sometimes find our favorite earplug, the Moldex PuraFit 6800, in
boxes of 200 pair for as low as $20.00 per box (all prices not including
shipping). That's $0.10 a pair, which is very reasonable for what we
think is (so far) one of the best performing all-around disposable earplugs
available for use when riding motorcycles.
Silencio also manufacturers ear muffs and other types of ear protection,
and these products are also focused on the shooting sports. Although our original intention
was to try the Silencio Silent Partner reusable earplugs, we decided to give
their disposables a try also. The earplugs were distributed among the
crew, and this review is a compilation of everyone's comments.
Silencio Disposable Soft Foam Earplugs
These earplugs have an obviously different configuration than any other
disposables we've used. They have a hexagonal shape and a claimed NRR
There's no explanation that we could find on the Silencio website to
explain the advantages or disadvantages of the hexagonal shape; we can only
guess that it's used either for marketing purposes or because of some
manufacturing process that makes this shape easier to produce.
The typical rounded cone shape of most disposables (like the Silencio
Red-E-Fit shown in the photo below) is produced in a mold. It's
possible that the
hexagonal shape is manufacturing by extruding the material through a die and then cutting
it to length.
Although the extrusion process could also work for a cylindrically shaped earplug,
so it's hard to tell what's behind the hexagonal strategy.
Earplugs are hard to describe in a product review.
There are only a few differentiators among this otherwise commodity item
(i.e., purchased solely on price). Disposable earplugs are all roughly
the same length (20 mm) and the same diameter (about 10-12 mm).
foam used in disposables seems to fall into one of two categories: either
it's soft and rubbery version or firm. Softer foam that is also
rubbery feeling usually rolls up into a nice, narrow cylinder, making them
easier to insert into the ear canal. But if the foam is too soft or
too rubbery, the earplug can be too hard to insert unless they're perfectly
centered in the ear canal.
If the manufacturer's claims for Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) are
accepted, then we're only left with subjective differentiators.
Earplugs must decrease the ambient noise level, or they're not useful. They
must also be comfortable to wear. And finally, they must be easy to
insert. Low price doesn't hurt either...
The Silencio Disposable Soft Foam Earplugs are made from what feels like
a firmer material than found in either Silencio's Red-E-Fit, the Moldex
PuraFit 6800, or the Hearos. The foam used in the Silencio Disposable
Soft Foam earplugs doesn't seem to compress as easily as the softer earplugs
Our general opinion is that the hexagonal shape produces an
earplug that is relatively difficult to compress and insert into the ear, and
we found that the denser foam
does not feel as comfortable as softer brands, for example, the Silencio
The Disposable Soft Foam earplugs also don't seem to expand
large enough to
fit the larger sized ear canals either, and finally, they seemed to let in
noticeably more noise. The manufacturer rates them with a 29 NRR.
Silencio Red-E-Fit Disposable Earplugs
These earplugs are very similar in size and shape to the Super Hearos
and the Moldex PuraFit 6800 brands.
They're conventional in length and diameter, but the foam used in this
earplug is very soft.
They roll up into a nice cylinder and are
relatively easy to insert, although we found that they are so soft that they
can be relatively difficult to insert in some ear shapes. The NRR is 32, which is
the highest rated disposable earplugs.
However, there's no particular distinguishing characteristic of the
Red-E-Fit earplugs. Our opinion is that their performance is very
similar to the Moldex PuraFit 6800 or the Hearos.
Since the Silencios
are comparatively expensive, they may only be practical for motorcyclists if
no other suitable (and less expensive) earplug is available.
Silencio Silent Partner
Silencio also makes the "Silent Partner" non-disposable earplug.
Although most disposables are designed for single use only, we've found that
it is possible to use a disposable 2-3 times if they're treated with care.
But the foam used in disposable earplugs is an environmental nightmare,
making a reusable earplug an interesting alternative. In theory, a
reusable earplug could also cost less in the long run, depending upon how
long it lasted.
So it would be nice to find a reusable earplug that works well for
motorcycling, and we're always on the lookout for an example that really
works, making the Silent Partner an intriguing prospect.
Silencio claims that the Silent Partner is made from silicone with a
hypoallergenic skin. The 'plugs have a "squishy" feeling, and they can be
extruded into a roughly cylindrical shape by rolling them between the
Their "at rest" length is approximately 25 mm (measuring the
dark blue body only), but they can be rolled out to 45 mm or longer.
The silicone filling is very soft, so rolling them out to that length makes
them virtually impossible to insert; there just isn't enough longitudinal
stiffness to get them into the ear canal, in our opinion.
When rolled to a smaller length, they're still difficult to insert, and
they don't seem to expand as well as a good disposable. The Silent
Partners have a tube attached to the wide end of the body, but Silencio's
website doesn't explain the purpose of the tube.
It could be a device to help
equalize air pressure, similar to the Heartech FliteMate (see
the wBW review), or maybe it's simply a "handle" to grasp to remove the
earplug. We found that the tube can interfere with a helmet liner,
depending upon the shape of the rider's head, ears and liner.
Several reviewers found that the Silent Partner earplugs offered very little
noise blocking when riding a motorcycle and at least one rider told us
that he noticed no difference at all with these plugs inserted.
Silencio lists a 29 NRR for the Silent Partner, but we were not impressed
with their noise blocking capabilities and almost every disposable we've
ever tried seemed to work better at reducing noise.
Our opinion is that earplugs with equal or greater performance can be found
elsewhere for less cost than this selection of Silencio earplugs. The
Red-E-Fit seems equal in comfort and performance to some of our favorites,
but can also cost up to four
times more per pair than the competition. We don't feel that the Silent Partner is suitable
for use with a motorcycle helmet.
Review: Silencio Silent Partner, Soft Foam & Red-E-Fit
Retail Price: $3.99 - 6 pair Disposable; $4.99 - 6 pair
Red-E-Fit; $6.99 pair of Silent Partner (reusable).
Comments: The Soft Foam brand is firmer than other
earplugs and hard to fit in the ear canal due to its hexagonal shape.
The Red-E-Fit is soft, comfortable and performs well but is relatively
expensive. The Silent Partner is reusable (made from silicone) but
hard to insert and doesn't perform as well for motorcycle riding as some
Earplugs and Hearing
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►Your Comments and
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Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
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From "J.H." (9/09): "Some comments about the
Silent Partner earplugs (review). North Safety
manufactures earplugs having the same name. From the photo
on your review page, the North Safety Silent Partner earplugs
look identical to the ones that your review says are
manufactured by Silencio. They look the same, but the NRRs
The North Safety brand has an NRR of 25, whereas your review says
Silencio's NRR is 29. Also the packaging seems to be
different. If you want to see what I mean by the plugs
looking identical, a photo of the North Safety plugs is (here).
Because both plugs have the same name (Silent Partner), and
because they look the same, some readers of your review may
confuse one with the other, which is why I am responding to the
I have been using the North Safety Silent Partner earplugs for
several years. These earplugs are the only ones that have
helped me to block out noise. I tried more than 40
different brands of earplugs before I found Silent Partner.
They are expensive, but they last several months, so I consider
them to be cost-effective. Even so, I am always looking
for a place where I can buy them for less, and it was during
today's search that I found your review.
Because both brands of plugs look the same, the correct
insertion technique would also be the same: Mold the plug into a
cylindrical shape. Then while stretching out the outer
edge of the ear with one hand, insert the plug with the other
hand. After the plug first gets into the ear, hold the plug down
for about 10 seconds, to give it a chance to expand into the
From "M.C." (7/09): "I've been using Silencio
Silent Partners almost exclusively for about 10 years and, on
those occasions when I've had to find a substitute, have found
no other earplug that works nearly as well for me.
In fact, the noise reduction is so dramatic I suspect that if a
user notices little or no noise reduction they're probably not
inserting them properly. In my experience, they're the most
effective earplugs I've used (although I'll admit that people
I've recommended them to have been split in their enthusiasm.)
When I wear them in a noisy environment, covering and uncovering
my ears with my hands has little impact on the perceived noise
levels, which I take as an indication that things are working
well. They're rather stiff when new but become softer with
use. I know it's a little disgusting, but I moisten them
with saliva before inserting and they work just fine.
Working with noisy yard equipment, they do a better job than my
bulky earmuffs, just not as convenient. My ear canals are
two different sizes and most disposables are too small for one
of my ears. The Silent Partners fit both ears without
problems. They last a long, long time and are easily
cleaned with soap and water. My biggest problem is finding
them. My local gun store stopped carrying them and I've
had to rely on mail order.
I'm surprised at your confusion about the orange tube at the
outside end of the earplugs: it's a handle, and a useful one at
that. I recently had to use a pair of Leatherman pliers to
extract a foam earplug that another rider had pushed to far into
his ear; he couldn't grasp it with his fingers to pull it out.
That's not a problem I've had with the Silent Partners.
By the way, I've just recently found your website. My
congratulations on a job very well done."
From "R.P." (7/09): "I have used these for
about two years now, and of the ear protectors I have tried, I
find these to be very good.
When you did your review on them you state that they are hard to
insert into the ear and you're right. I put a little, very
little, hand cream on them when I have squished them to their
smallest and then twist them into my ear. Doing it this
way lets them go farther into the ear and then they perform as
they were meant to.
I do shoot a little and have tried to find a good ear protector
for some time, when I found Silencio Silent Partner at a local
gun shop I thought I would give them a try and was pleased with
the performance of these. I also found that on a 12 hour
bike trip that my inner ear was not sore and that made me a
believer in the product."
"I have been using the hexagonal soft earplugs as
described in the article. The ones I get are in a package
containing 60 pair. The 60 pair package or smaller amounts
in a plastic box can be purchased at Home Depot, a home
The package I get has Safety Works
as the Brand name. The could be the supplier for Silencio
or maybe not. The 60 pair pack cost $10.
As far as
how they are made, a foam sheet with paper on one side is cut
with a die that makes all the plugs in one stroke. I've
been using these for four years 40 hours a week at work and when
I ride. In all the years since foam plugs have been
available I have used every type I have seen. These are what
works best for me."