Earmold music ready ear plugs
Earplugs are now an essential part of my motorcycling kit. They reduce fatigue as well as long-term hearing loss. If you have ringing in your ears after a ride you've done damage. Sorry, missed that what did you say?. Getting out of town usually involves at least a couple of hours of droning along a major highway before turning off to attack some twisty roads. These hauls can be made much more pleasant if I have a few vibes in my head. The Hume Highway near Euroa or the Autovia near Guadalajara, no real difference really.
Just prior to my trip to the Old Dart, Isle of Man and Europe this year I was fitted with a set of Earmold's custom made earplugs with FBI style sound tubes attached. I must admit to being a bit "sus" of them as I have tried allsorts of tricks and kit over the years to get good quality music inside my helmeted head. Nothing overcame the wind noise of the Elefant's fairing and I felt that I was actually suffering more hearing damage from trying to get sound than if I was riding wearing a helmet and no earplugs. I have tried a couple of brands of speakers that fit into the ear recessions in my helmet, gaffa taped pod earphones into my ears and even tried to make foam carriers for walkman speakers. The music had to be turned up loud enough to overcome the wind howl to even be audible. The result is a deafening cacophony or loss of clarity.
So what are we talking about? The system comprises of a pair of custom fitted Instamold earplugs with a set of thin tubes embedded in them. These lead to a transducer then to a cable which then plugs into a radio, MP3 player or CD player. They work on the stethoscope principle. These weird curly tube things are a revelation! As weird as it may sound the earplug system moves the music into my head and the wind noise (what's left of it) outside the helmet. I think that the brain must be doing something like cancel out the wind noise as much as the earplugs stop the incessant howl. The music could be played at a comfortable level and the clarity is astonishing. Even at speeds that would be very naughty here.
"Surely it's not safe! How can you hear the motor?" I hear you say. I never felt unsafe; in fact I felt more alert and switched on if anything, never lost the connection with the bike. At times I must have looked like a real loon though, stomping my feet and rocking away to Tex Perkins's grungy beats with a grin from ear to ear. I managed to ride safely through the Swiss Alps. The Pyrenees Mountains on the border of Spain and France is one to the sweetest bike roads I have ever ridden and had no issues. Well, there was one�. When I stopped to help a bunch of German's who had lost a member of their party over the edge of the road I had to stop, remove my helmet, the earplugs, then start to try and converse with the guy waving his arms wildly at the side of the road.
Fitting is pretty easy. The plugs are gently pushed and screwed a half turn into each ear. The tubes are a bit difficult to get right as they tend to pop out from behind my ear as I put on the helmet but I got it right more often than not after a while. Even if the music was turned off I felt confident in the quality of the earplugs. I'm often looking for a clean, safe place to stash my earplugs. When I stopped for a break and removed the earplugs they would dangle safely on the coiled tubes. I used a PDA computer for the trip and found it very convenient to have the music player in the inside pocket of my jacket rather than have wires connecting me to the tank bag or a plug under the seat.
I travelled around 9,000km on this trip and must have used the system for at least a third of the journey. They have been well tested and I'm impressed!
Earmold can be contacted on 08 82515285 or at earmold.com.au for an agent near you.
Andy "Strapz" White