Motorcycle Ear Plugs
Lucy Dell Ear Plug Assortment
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below)
Why Should You Wear Ear Plugs?
For some reason, it's not "cool" to be seen wearing earplugs
while riding a motorcycle. I know I probably sound like dear old
Mom, but let me tell you something -- it's not cool at all to lose
your hearing, and it's really, really easy to do so.
I urge you
to check out the websites listed above in the "More
Information" section to learn about the effects of noise and
is a very noisy occupation. Sound levels can easily reach over
90dB at only 50mph, and 90dB exceeds the levels at which hearing
protection should be used.
If you were working inside a factory,
various local and national governments strongly advise wearing hearing
protection at those levels.
At 60mph, a motorcyclist can experience
the same noise as if using a circular saw (100dB).
Also, decibel levels increase
logarithmically, which means that each bel is a tenfold increase
in the level of noise. A decibel is 1/10 of a bel, so it takes
about 3dB to double perceived sound level and 10 of them to get to
the tenfold increase.
Note that the
chart on the left, supplied by the U.S. National Institute of
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends no more than a 15
minute exposure to 100dB noise; longer than that, and you risk
permanent hearing loss.
It's very easy (and likely) to exceed 100dB
while riding a
motorcycle, and at those noise levels, permanent damage can
take place in a matter of minutes.
For some reason, people just don't seem
to think it's happening to them. This is probably because the
damage happens slowly, and it's not hard to get used to the reduced
hearing levels, which then become the norm..
Don't count on a motorcycle helmet to
protect you from harmful noise either. Helmets provide only a
very minimal amount of hearing protection. Some helmets can
actually increase the amount of noise; air flowing over and through
the helmet can amplify the sound levels at various
About the only defense we have is to
wear high quality earplugs that fit comfortably and are correctly
The shapes and sizes of ear canals, the
way we perceive noise, and the hearing damage we've already received
can affect the choice, comfort and fit of earplugs. Earplugs are
available in a corresponding variety of all sorts of different shapes
and sizes, and they are manufactured using various types of materials
to control noise, including down, plastic, rubber and silicone.
So it's important to try several different brands of earplugs to find
the one that works for you. If one style of earplug doesn't fit
comfortably, or interferes with the helmet liner, there are other
brands and styles that will work. If you've tried wearing
earplugs and you find them uncomfortable, I suggest you make the
effort to try and find a brand that you like.
Lucy Dell Earplugs
They're a great "one stop shopping" source for
earplugs. They have a
huge selection of dozens of earplug brands and models, and most of
them are very suitable for use by motorcyclists. Various
quantities were available for purchase, with discounts on bulk
If you'd like to try a variety of different earplugs to
see which one is best for you, I suggest
purchasing one of their sample packs, called the "Testpack".
The Testpack includes a sampling of 20 different pairs of earplugs,
all stocked by Lucy Dell Earplugs. This is a
great way to try all of the different brands until you find one or
Chris Dell sent over a Testpack, and I have provided my comments
on each of them (below). My earplug of choice recently has been the disposable Moldex Pura-Fit
6800. They're comfortable, they provide excellent noise control,
and they're fairly easy to roll up and insert. The only problem
I have is that my right ear canal is very large -- much larger than my
left ear canal. I have to insert the 6800 backwards into my
right ear for it to fit correctly, so I've been on the lookout for a
Lucy Dell Earplugs suggests that an earplug
with a high noise reduction rating (NRR) can be worse than an earplug
that fits correctly but has a lower NRR, so this is a good reason to
purchase a Testpack and sample them all. Earplugs can either be
too big or too small, so it's a good idea to make sure the
earplug is big enough so that it doesn't disappear into your ear
You should always be able to grab the end with your
fingers to rotate it and gently remove it. But it's also
important to ensure that the earplug doesn't protrude too far from the
end of the ear, or it may interfere with the helmet's liner.
This can actually channel more noise directly into the inner ear than
To insert earplugs, first make sure
your hands are clean. Disposable earplugs are designed for
one-time use only; they should be discarded after each use.
Reusable earplugs should be cleaned with soap and water and rinsed and
dried prior to each use.
It's important to inspect the earplug
prior to use -- look for any cracks, tears or imperfections.
I've noticed over the years that some brands of earplugs don't have
which leaves some fairly dramatic differences in earplug shapes, even
within the same batch.
To insert a disposable foam earplug, roll
it between the fingers and thumb until it becomes a long, narrow
cylinder. Use a progressive, firm motion to help avoid creating any wrinkles or
folds as the cylinder becomes smaller.
Reach one hand behind your head and pull your ear outward and upward to widen the
ear canal; sometimes it helps to open your mouth and throat while you
insert the earplug.
Insert the earplug well into the ear and hold it in place until it expands.
One of the most common mistakes is not inserting the earplug far
enough into the ear. It's pretty hard to damage anything in
because most earplugs aren't long enough to reach that far. If the seal is not tight, the earplug will not be effective.
As the earplug expands, you should get a feeling like the world is
closing in and most sounds should disappear.
Lucy Dell Earplugs Testpack
We compared a variety of earplugs available from Lucy Dell Earplugs to
the Moldex Pura-Fit 6800 brand that I've been using recently (only
available in the U.S.A., and not
provided in the Testpack).
Remember that my results with these earplugs will most
likely be completely different than yours, due to the variation in ear
shapes, comfort issues and more. Lucy Dell Earplugs ships
worldwide, so feel free to contact them for more information on any of
the products shown in this review.
I measured the earplugs for length and width for
comparison purposes. These measurements are approximate.
The measurements are in millimeters, and the designations are L =
length; W = width; and if the earplugs are tapered, the lengths are
listed wide end/narrow end; i.e., W130/110 means that they were
measured as 130mm at the widest end and 110mm at the narrow end.
Pura-Fit 6800: I've used these for about the past 3
years. Comfortable, soft, lightweight and they do an
excellent job of controlling noise when properly
inserted. Easy to roll up, and they stay rolled up just
long enough to get them inserted, as long as you're quick
about it. The quality control varies from package to
package; some are noticeably shorter and/or thinner than others.
U.S.A. and Canada only. L265,
PuraFit 7700: Slightly shorter than the Pura-Fit
6800, and slightly smaller on the small end, but functionally
about the same. Feels just a tiny bit more rubbery than
the 6800, but may be my imagination. Provide excellent
noise control. I've found that these fit me better than
the 6800s because of the shorter length. The European
version of the 6800. L240, W130/100
7800 "Spark Plugs": Colorful design,
apparently meant to promote earplug use in factories.
Rubbery feel, a bit hard to roll up because they seem to offer
more resistance than the 6800. A different style tapered
bell shape that will fit some, but may work their way out of
the ears of others, as they are hard to get inserted all the
way into the ear canal. Protrude slightly from the ear
and may interfere with helmet liner. L220, W110. (See
1100: Soft feel; "spongier" and more
rubbery-like feeling than the PuraFit with slightly more body
and fast expansion that fills the ear cavity better, but you
can feel a bit of pressure in your ear after expansion.
A bit harder to roll up, and the quick spring back means you
have to be quick about placing them in your ear. I don't
feel like I have to poke them as far into my ear as the
PuraFit, which is good. Seem to control noise as good as
the best. L230, W130/100
303L, 303S and "Form": Soft,
comfortable. These are basically the same earplug
offered in three different sizes. A bit firmer than the
3M 1100. Doesn't expand as quick as the 3M, which makes
it easier to correctly insert. The length of the
"Form" provides a better fit in larger-sized right
ear. Provide good noise control. Form:
L220, W120/100. 303L: L230, W120/100. 303S:
202S: Filled with down; covering feels like a
plasticy condom. Hard to keep in due to slippery
covering. These earplugs do not take any compression, so
they can't be placed far enough into my ear. Don't offer
much in the way of hearing protection for motorcyclists;
apparently will provide a very low level of protection for
other uses. L230, W85
202L: Larger version of 202S with same
characteristics; non-compressible and slippery. L230/W100
"POP": Down filled with open-ended plastic
type covering. Easier to insert than the other Bilsoms,
seem to provide a modicum of noise control. Good for
those who can't use foam or rubber earplugs. W250, L110
Same type of fiber filling as the Bilsom 303 and 202. A
bit stiffer, so easier to insert. Doesn't offer anywhere
near the noise control of the foam plugs. L250, W120
Soft: Very soft, comfortable feel. A bit more
of a rubbery feel than the PuraFit 6800. Quicker
expansion and softness make them a bit trickier to insert; you
have to be quick about it. Provide decent noise control,
but seem about 25% louder than the other foam disposables.
Leight Multi-Max: Very soft, don't have as much
"body" as others. Comfortable; not as much pressure
as the 3M 1100 or even the Pura-Fit 6800. Expand fast
but with just enough time to get them inserted. Fits a
wider variety of ears and works well for riders with different
size ear canals, as the larger end can be inserted
first. Only downside is that their rather extreme length
means that they might contact some helmet liners. Excellent
noise control. L300, W110/80
Leight Max Lite: Different shape than most due to
wide end. Slightly rubbery feel, quick expansion but not
as fast as the 3M 1100. Has stronger "body"
than similar earplugs, and although they seal out noise, the
expanded pressure may bother sensitive types. Longer
than many other earplugs, but doesn't protrude out to where it
hits the helmet liner. Makes a gurgling sound during
expansion. Greater noise protection than other
plugs. Normal insertion doesn't quite fill my larger
right ear canal, and can't insert backwards due to
shape. Would be a good choice for noise control for most
riders. L260, W165/100
Leight Max: Yet another different shape, but the
wide ends make them a bit difficult for me to insert correctly
all the way into the ear. Slightly rubbery, soft feel.
May interfere with some helmet liners. But if they fit
and if they will stay in, they're among the best in providing
excellent noise control. L230, W165/110
Leight Laser Lite: Very similar to the Max Lites
(above), but more colorful. L265, W165/110
Leight Laser Lite & Air Soft; Comfifit; and E.A.R.
Express: Lucydell carries a variety of corded and
non-disposable earplugs. These work well and are usually
easy to insert and remove, but not appropriate for
motorcycling. The E.A.R. Express and Comfifit have
protruding handles that would interfere with a helmet liner;
these also don't feel as comfortable as the foam types.
I couldn't get the Air Soft earplugs to stay in my ear - the
silicone was too smooth to grip.
"DeciGuard": Very stiff foam; hard to roll
up into a cylinder. Offer good noise control.
Apparently not designed to fit very far into the ear canal,
these would be appropriate for those with sensitive inner
ears. But can interfere with some helmet liners, which
might channel noise directly from the helmet into the ear,
which can actually be louder than no earplugs at all. If
they fit you, they'll work good. L185, W130
Leight Quiet: Non-disposable, easy to insert,
comfortable silicone. Slightly slippery when new.
Don't provide as much noise control as the foam plugs, but
would probably work well for those who can't wear foam.
Classic Small, Classic and Grande: These have been
around forever, and they work. Very stiff foam, but
rolls up into a nice, narrow diameter. Slow expansion
provides time to get them correctly inserted. Provide
good noise control. The variety of sizes mean that
riders should be able to find one that will fit without
rubbing against helmet liner. Small: L185,
W130. Classic: L200, W130. Grande:
Note: For informational use only. All material and
photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC - 2000-2011. All
rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld®
page. NOTE: Product specifications, features and details may
change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read
Terms and Conditions!
►Your Comments and
Please send comments to
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
From "C.M." (9/09): "Despite the high reviews, I've found
the Moldex Pura-Fit 6800 ear plugs have not worked for me. The box of 200
that I recently purchased are all too long and quite thin. They tend to
jam up against my ear drum while failing to expand enough to make a tight fit in
my ear canals, consequently reducing noise levels by only a very modest and
The brand of foam ear plugs that have worked best for me are the E.A.R. brand
with a NRR of 29db. They're not tapered on either end and are sometimes
difficult to insert. However, they're thicker than the Pura-Fit plugs and,
once inserted properly, do a very good job blocking sound.
My experience might show that ear canals differ, and the plug that works for one
person might not work well for the next."
From "S.Y.": "Thanks to your website I now use
(Moldex PuraFit 6800 ear plugs)
when riding. This may be helpful for some readers who find it difficult
inserting ear plugs even after rolling the plug and pulling back the ear.
Wetting the ear canal with a wet finger or the plug itself makes for easy
insertion but you have to be careful because it can slide in too easy and touch
the ear drum which can be painful. Hope this is of some benefit."
Editor's Reply: I sometimes hold the ear plug near my mouth
and breathe on it a few times, which heats it up slightly and moistens it just
enough to insert. Be careful of moisture in the ear canal, however, which
could cause problems.
From "T.W.": "I have tried
both the 6800 and the Spark Plug. I actually found the
Spark Plug to be easier to roll and insert. Overall a softer
plug with a very similar rating. Here in Canada the
Spark Plug was about 0.03 per plug cheaper than the