Everyone wears earplugs on their bike, right? Wrong!
Having upgraded to a Suzuki GSX-R1000 with a rather loud exhaust I changed my approach to earplugs and went for a pair of Auritech Biker earplugs. In the past I only wore plugs on long-distance Euro trips, where the wind noise eventually gets a bit much, and even then I only wore basic foam plugs.
But when I came back from riding the Suzuki to visit a friend who lives about four hours away, my ears were still ringing when I woke up the next day. This worried me.
Since reading up about earplugs, I found out that hearing can be damaged when exposed to 85 decibels (dB) or above; noise when riding can reach 105db and spectating at a race like MotoGP can reach 130db. Once you damage your hearing there ain’t no way of getting it back!
Think of all of the noise encountered on the bike – engine noise, wind noise, road noise, and not to mention how loud I tend to have my intercom!
I may have been slightly naïve, as I only considered wearing earplugs on the bike when the noise became uncomfortable, and certainly never when spectating – who wants to be ‘that’ person? – but reading up on it scared me a bit.
When I took delivery of my Auritech plugs in their aluminium travel case I thought to myself ‘I’ll only use them on long-distance trips’ as I chucked them in my suitcase for a trip to the Isle of Man.
Boy was I wrong! I’ve been testing them in a variety of situations and find myself reaching for them more often than not.
No longer am I squeezing earplugs and holding my fingers in my ears until they’ve expanded to their rightful foamy capacity, the Auritech earplugs take a quick spin on the way in and you’re off riding quicker than you can say ‘where’s my glove?’
There’s no mistaking when the plugs are in place; it took a few attempts, but once in they create a good seal. Like the kids say − when you know, you know!
Auritech’s use of ceramic filters removes unwanted sounds like wind noise and muffles loud sounds like my noisy exhaust, but allows me to hear my engine and other people talking. It’s as if they decide what you want to hear and magically remove everything else.
The aim is to protect your hearing, obviously, but also to allow you to hear what you need to hear. This should then help to enhance awareness and concentration.
I can vouch for the concentration aspect as I used them at a Ron Haslam Race School and there was a difference in the one session when I didn’t have time to put my earplugs in. Without them I could hear other bikes gaining on me and I wasn’t concentrating on my riding as much.
I used them nearly every time I’ve been over the mountain section of the Isle of Man TT course. The one time I forgot them, I was gutted. At high speed, with a lot of wind noise and over long distance, they are faultless. They help with concentration as they remove all of the unwanted noise so I can just ride.
The one slight niggle I had, is that I use an intercom and with plugs in I struggled to hear what my friends were saying at higher speeds. It’s not a fault of Auritech that I only have one working speaker, however.
As the Auritech plugs have a hole running through them (where the ceramic filtering happens), I am yet to find out whether moving my speaker further back in the helmet, in line with the hole, would solve the problem for me.
Oh, and the travel case is handy too. I put a keyring with a hook through the loop on top and I’ve been clipping it onto the zip of my rucksack or bumbag. This means they are always there when I need them − no chucking them inside my pocket, losing one and picking fluff off the other one.
The case did make me chuckle, as there’s a picture of how you should stack the earplugs, but I’m still not sure what would go wrong if I put them in the wrong way!
I’ve had discussions with people on Instagram who cannot see the difference between foam earplugs and these. Let me tell you, there is a difference.
It’s hard to describe unless you actually use them, but I’d say they are worth the twenty quid or so − I’ve had lots of use out of them and can vouch for the comfort.
I also can’t help but think how many of the foam ones I’d have used, and lost or thrown away, in that time. I feel like I’m saving the planet, in a reusable, Womble kind of way. Instead of throwing away non-recyclable foam earplugs I keep the Auritech ones in the travel case and wash them when I need to.
So if you’re looking to protect your hearing and need some magic wonder earplugs and a neat little case, check these out.