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r1limited

Listening to music/ear plugs and other distractions

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r1limited

Not much discussion on the practice of riding while listening to music wearing ear plugs or other items of distraction like a headset for the phone.  Unlike a car there is a certain amount of safetly IMO that is lost when on a bike.  I know it is a personal preference, but for me it is a matter of 100% conentration on everything when out and about on my bikes.  Have I rode with music and such yes, did not like it much as I found it very distracting personally.  Here are the reasons I personally would advise not to for a new rider or for that matter a seasoned rider

 

  1. It is a distraction from keeping full mental focus on tasks at hand (If you are learning these tasks are full conentration)
  2. Like white noise it will drown out ambiant noise such as horns sirens etc (Human Ear/Brain)
  3. IMO it brings a level of unneeded danger to an already dangerous choice of travel (see 1 & 2)

 

Yes, these are basic reasons but sound (no punn intended) reasons, as the primary purpose of any adventure on a motorcyle should be #1 getting back safely at the end of the day.  I know people are comfortable with lsitening to music or having ear plugs, I find them distracting even in a cage.  Ear plugs I have mixed ideas on those, racing OK fine, no problem, I dont use them canot hear anyway probably because I dont use them :) but I have and often do depending on where I am going.

 

So what is the Advise?

Personally it is a personal choice, I however advise against it for various reasons as mentioned and I have more but for the sake of brevity It is simple for me, Safety.

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shinyribs

I am losing my hearing. The two main contributing factors have been race cars and riding motorcycles on the highway for extended periods of time with no hearing protection. 

 

Highway wind noise will destroy your hearing. Google it if it sounds crazy to you. There are varying degrees of db reduction available in ear plugs. You need to be aware of your surroundings, but you need to protect your hearing, too. Once it's gone it never returns. 

 

 

With ear plugs, I can hear the hum of approaching car tires from behind me that would otherwise be masked by wind noise. When I finally started wearing ear plugs I was actually surprised how much BETTER I could hear certain sounds than without them...and remember, I'm already losing my hearing. 

 

Seriously consider ear plugs on the highway and give it a test for yourself. You might be surprised just how much you will enjoy it. I wish I'd done it years ago...

 

Can't speak on the music bit. Never saw the point on a bike. I want to hear the bike. 

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motomeek

Like you said - It is a personal choice. 

 

I agree with @shinyribs - which is why I wear ear plugs. The only time I might remove one is so I can ensure I can hear directions through my communicator. 

 

And I do play music half the time. But it's still with ear plugs on. 

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botticelli

Ear plugs in, music / directions from Sena headset on.

 

That said, I am almost completely deaf in my right ear from being a sniper in the navy. 300Winchester Magnum is not as forgiving. My left isn't much better hearing wise, but the plugs make it not painful.

 

On the track I double up on plugs and ear covers.

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r1limited

I will add I have lost as well a good portion of hearing, I always wore plugs racing, rarely riding again I will say depending on where I am going.  My tone deafness is genetic in nature, sure probably did not do any good watching/racing indoor short tracks, working in a machine shop, concerts, blaring stereos, blowing shet up all that most certainly adds up.  So as noted Safety, this includes safety to the ears and good advise from all with regards to protecting what you got.  I guess I am a ol fuddy duddy ol schooler who wants to hear the motor screaming yelling at me to SHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIFFFFFFFFFFTTTTTTTTTTT

Edited by r1limited
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Slug

I ride with Plugfones 99% of the time because the music seems to keep me more focused on the road. If i don't have music on, I get bored on the normal/every-day riding and I tend to zone out. The music keeps my mind active, but not distracted. However, I keep it low enough to just slightly hear the music, so I can still hear the bike and everything around me. I can't ride with the music overpowering the sound of the bike, I feel like I'm not in control.

For anyone not familiar with Plugfones, they're just tiny speakers inside of either flanged or foam ear pro. I highly recommend them to anyone wanting to listen to music while still having hearing protection in.

https://www.plugfones.com/

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rider

I either wear earplugs or earbuds with music  whenever I'm going to be at highway speeds for awhile (my commute to work is around 30 miles one way depending on which route I take).  I use a Sena with earplugs and the speakers or with earbuds plugged into it, it's super easy to turn the volume up or down or off if needed.  If I don't have something to deaden the wind noise, I feel more fatigued and half deaf at the end of the ride.  Probably depends a lot on how loud your helmet is.

But, for around town trips, I don't need anything.  I really think I can hear ambient sounds much better (passing cars and such) on the highway with earplugs in because they cut the wind noise.

But, I agree, if music distracts you, then don't have it on, like r1limited said.  Great advice there.

Also, "Kickstart My Heart" by Motley Crue makes you go much, much, much faster...

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stev74

Also agree with shinyribs. For Longer distances on the highway always use earplugs. (especially on bikes with a windscreen)
Because my main job is related to music I have to be very careful with my ears.

 

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Cruizin

i lost alot of my hearing in the 1980's from shooting in the Army and too many rock concerts. Once it's gone, it doesn't ever come back. 

 

Take care of your ears and your teeth when you are young. Solid advice that I should have followed. 

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kbob2000

Always wear them.  I wear some quad flange ones I got issued and now I'l not comfortable without them.  I put music on top of them with my Sena if I'm in the mood and I really don't feel like it significantly impacts my awareness.  Whether or not you listen to music is your choice, but I think everyone should wear ear protection in some form.

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Zephyr

Yep.  I prefer to ride with plugs as a rule.  Even short low speed trips I feel more comfortable with them in as I'm not a fan of wind noise, especially any whistling.  I did ride with one ear plug and an earbud in the other ear for the 100 mile one way trip the other weekend.  I was happy to have the music as it made the trip much more pleasant.  The ears were a bit sore from the helmet pressing on the earbud for ~2hrs, but the discomfort went away shortly after removing the helmet.  I think that music is nice for longer trips, while shorter trips and especially town riding would be distracting with music.  As was stated above.  Regardless of your choice, ear protection of some form should be part of your standard riding kit.

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cyow5

With my RPHA11, I cannot get close to getting earbuds on - either before the helmet or after - since the padding comes right in tight. That plus the ducting, and I don't find the noise bad at all. With the vents all closed, it is very comfortable. Heck, I can hear the stock exhaust at 75mph. I've been looking at getting a bluetooth system in the helmet so I can have music but mostly so I can listen to directions. 

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yamahazaki

I have been using earplugs since day 1 of riding.  I can hear ambient noise just fine.

 

This topic has some bad advice to new riders if you are telling them not to wear earplugs.  Doesn't matter what you think, no earplugs = ear damage over time from wind noise. 

 

Music is another matter, and that's fine to be against.  But telling new riders not to wear earplugs is a bad opinion/advice.

Edited by yamahazaki

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r1limited

I never stated not to (ear Plugs) and I stated clearly "personal choice", I can see however in the way the OP was initially stated how one would surmise I did.  I guess my point was really Music some earplugs deaden all sound and like music and if like me will be cranking and this removes a level of safety "AGAIN JUST MY HUMBLE OPINION".  It is clear the practice of it is evident from the posts above, does it make it right or wrong? Not for me to say, but for me it is all about Safety and being Safe on a bike.  I have seen riders bumpin and grindin while operating a bike in traffic knowing full well that favorite song was playing?  Are you saying this is not a distraction?  How safe is that?  We have all seen it.  Race conditions is far different then Road we agree, ear plugs are far different the Earbuds.  For a new rider bad habits should not be learned good habits should.  Kind of like riding with one hand on your hip in B2B traffic or through town, ya that is a great habit :)

 

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Beemer

I recently bought a new helmet, an adventure helmet and it's noisier than my other helmet which is more street oriented. I personally don't like the feeling of the pressure within the ears that ear plugs create but I also know my hearing is more important than any uncomfortable feeling I may experience for a few hours. I do wish that at low speeds I could hear more when the plugs are in. I feel my senses are unnecessarily numbed and it is a numbing feeling, (at least to me) it's too quiet, as if I'm deaf and I don't like that but what can you do? It's too much trouble to have to stop and put the plugs in and out so they stay in for the duration of the ride. Now if someone could make an electronic ear plug that can be adjusted (remotely) to let more or less sound in. 😃 I think the technology is here already so I'm waiting for that day. Who ever the inventor of that may be, get on it now! Thanks much! 😀

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mt7fan

I've used cotton in my ears successfully many years in concerts. Totally adjustable and comfortable. Not yet tried with helmet on bike.

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norcal616

** I turns off my hearing aides, then I put brain bucket on** 

 

just wait till you hearing folk gotta learn to ride an electric dirt bike or road bike 😅 

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rick

Pretty sure that wearing earbuds while driving is illegal here in PA where I live. There are some states that also prohibit earplugs, though thankfully,  I think PA is not one of them. I'd still wear the plugs and risk it if I lived in one of those states though. Just can't imagine dealing with the roar for hours. They never seem to block all sound. Some cars are so quiet inside (some even have active noise reduction), I suspect isolation from the world is far greater surrounded by glass and sound insulation with or w/o the radio on, than any basic foam earplug can cause.

 

 

 

 

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bornagainbiker

I use Ear Peace ear plugs, and these plugs allow you to hear pretty much everything, but it's turned down by about 10 db.  They are light, comfortable, and fit well, although they are a little pricey. ;)

 

https://www.earpeace.com/

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faffi

I began using ear plugs way too late in life, about a decade back, maybe a little longer. Started riding in 1980. Once I had used them for a few rides, I have never looked back. I can make a short ride at low speeds without, but for longer rides they are mandatory. I use 36 dB plugs. Would never consider to listen to music while riding - cannot see music being much better to my hearing that wind roar  - but I do have radio connection with my sons while we ride together. 

 

Wearing ear plugs makes it easier to pick up the important sounds without getting tired from all the useless noise that's merely sound pollution. YMMV.

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duenan

Yeah, luxury vehicles these days block out more sound when driving than when you are riding with earplugs AND playing music from a sena bluetooth.  I can attest for this personally.

 

Anyway, all you noobies out there, if you value your hearing, wear earplugs while you ride.  Don't be a victim of "hindsight is 20/20".

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shinyribs
On 10/16/2017 at 11:26 AM, Beemer said:

I recently bought a new helmet, an adventure helmet and it's noisier than my other helmet which is more street oriented. I personally don't like the feeling of the pressure within the ears that ear plugs create but I also know my hearing is more important than any uncomfortable feeling I may experience for a few hours. I do wish that at low speeds I could hear more when the plugs are in. I feel my senses are unnecessarily numbed and it is a numbing feeling, (at least to me) it's too quiet, as if I'm deaf and I don't like that but what can you do? It's too much trouble to have to stop and put the plugs in and out so they stay in for the duration of the ride. Now if someone could make an electronic ear plug that can be adjusted (remotely) to let more or less sound in. 😃 I think the technology is here already so I'm waiting for that day. Who ever the inventor of that may be, get on it now! Thanks much! 😀

It can be hard to find an ear plug off the shelf to fit you. You can go to a doctor and have custom molded plugs made ($$$) or you can hit up eBay and snag a Radian ear plug kit and custom make your own for about $10-15. Really easy kits to use. 

 

 

Most off the shelf plugs are too tight inside my ears, too. I finally found some that were comfortable to me. Not too tight, no discomfort for hours at a time and they are good for a 32db reduction. Once I found some I liked, I ordered a bulk box of them. Most can be ordered in bulk since that's how many shops are set up- a big box of community ear plugs in the work area.  I think it was about $12 for a box of 500 pairs of ear plugs ( the pairs are tethered together). A pair of plugs usually lasts me a few months at a time before I lose them or they start looking too dingy to shove back inside my ear holes. I'll probably never have to buy anymore plugs. I mounted the box on the wall in my shop years ago, right over my workbench, and it prompts me to wear them much more often in the shop than I normally would. Just throwing that out there. 

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shinyribs
19 hours ago, duenan said:

Yeah, luxury vehicles these days block out more sound when driving than when you are riding with earplugs AND playing music from a sena bluetooth.  I can attest for this personally.

 

Anyway, all you noobies out there, if you value your hearing, wear earplugs while you ride.  Don't be a victim of "hindsight is 20/20".

Agreed on the sound deadening in modern vehicles. That's another reason why I think it's a shame that motorcycles come with such pitiful horns. You pretty much need an aftermarket horn to be hard by anyone other than a pedestrian. 

 

I can't hear my own horn on my FZ when I'm wearing ear plugs. I actually thought it was broke! I could hear the stock horn on my KLR and CB's clearly with plugs in. 

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