Pinlock has come to the rescue of riders who are particularly susceptible to hearing loss from prolonged exposure to riding noise.
It’s not actually exhaust or engine noise that cause the biggest problem, but wind noise, according to the American Industrial Paramedic Services. And I would add another – music.
Bluetooth helmet speaker systems pump noise into your ears above and beyond the background wind noise, heightening the potential hearing loss.
The best system for reducing wind noise, but still hear music is a set of professionally moulded Earmold earplugs. However, even these soft moulds can be a bit tiring after a while and not as convenient as speakers inside a helmet.
If you like the convenience of a helmet headset, but want to preserve your hearing, Pinlock claims it has the answer.
The Dutch manufacturer of the famous anti-fog visor inserts has now produced earplugs with a special filter that is claimed to not only reduce harmful wind noise, but still allow you to hear the music.
The filter somehow reduces wind noise without muffling the sound of your speakers or preventing you from hearing important sounds such as emergency vehicle sirens and car horns.
They come in soft plastic packs in two sizes so they fit most ears. And because they are small, they aren’t uncomfortable and don’t easily become dislodged when putting your helmet on or removing it.
When I first tried them, it didn’t seem like they were very effective because I could still hear normal sounds such as speech.
But I have tried them on the bike with one earplug in place at a time and then with the two inserted and the reduction in harmful wind noise is discernible. It’s not significant, but over a long day in the saddle, it could make a difference to your long-term hearing.
The most important thing is that because the wind noise is reduced, you don’t have to blast the music as loud to hear it.
They feel like they are made of rubber, but Pinlock says there is no silicone and shouldn’t cause any allergic reactions.
You can wash them and pack them away in the small, convenient case which fits in your jacket pocket and is soft so it doesn’t feel uncomfortable.
If you want, you can upgrade to custom-fit plugs with the special filter inserted.
I have worn them all day and they didn’t feel at all uncomfortable. In fact, because you can hear conversation with them in place, I forgot a few times to take them out when I stopped and took off my helmet!
They’re not cheap at $39 via eBay (see the ad at the top right of this page) or from some motorcycle dealerships through Cassons distributors, but what price is your hearing?
While I can’t guarantee they will save your hearing, any preventative measure must surely be better than no protection at all, especially on long trips where sustained noise over a period of time is the most damaging to your hearing.