Rider with Tinnitus - Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-9-2019, 3:55 AM Thread Starter
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Rider with Tinnitus

As we all know, having tinnitus is one of the worst things that can happen to a guy who loves music and riding.

Just got diagnosed last Friday with tinnitus and hyperacusis. It really sucks! But now, I feel more comfortable knowing why I'm hearing buzzing and ringing that others don't seem to hear.

Was told to either take care of my hearing or totally lose it.

I'm thinking about getting custom earplugs/hearing protection that I can use regularly. Still undecided though as custom earplugs are a bit expensive.

What do you guys think would be best for me?

I'm really stressed out btw.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-9-2019, 4:49 AM
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yeah had the condition for over 25 years and yes it sucks. but you do get used to it so it's not all doom.. as long as you don't develop vertigo to go with it, that really sucks, you will be fine. it just changes how you perceive sound.


to protect what you have something that reduces the noise level by 20db whenever your in a noisy environment will help, industrial ear defenders can be quite good and are fairly cheap. just don't go overboard with them. riding a bike when you can't hear anything isn't a good idea.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-9-2019, 9:42 AM
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After learning a few years ago how much the wind while riding can effect hearing I've been wearing earplugs ever since!

That said, I've tried a few different kinds. So far, the best ones that work for me are the Howard Leight orange with blue strings earplugs. They're cheap, they quiet things down the most for me and they stay in place when I put my helmet on. You can find them at Walmart, any gun store or on Amazon.



https://www.northernsafety.com/Produ...SABEgKIpvD_BwE



My next favorite are the Surefire EP7 Foam-tipped ear plugs. They have a tiny cap that can muffle all of the sound or, when opened, will allow you to hear voices and whatnot while cancelling out the louder noises.




https://www.amazon.com/SureFire-Defe...web_2530550011


I had to do some fidgeting with these as I bought the "Medium" size with the rubber tips. If you look at the picture the black part fit perfectly inside my ear but the rubber tips were too small in my ear canal, therefore I'd hear a lot of noise. So I went with the foam tips in "Large". With these the foam tips closed up my ear canal very well but the "Large" black part was too big for my inner ear and became uncomfortable after a few minutes of riding.
So, I switched out the foam tips to the "Medium" black parts and they fit great!

Problem is, I feel the Howard Leight's muffle more sound than the Surefire's. And they're cheaper and easy to clean with a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-9-2019, 1:03 PM
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Thanks for the info on the hearing protection, I have been looking for something better than what I am using now. Mine have a tendency to get loose when I put my helmet on and are still to noisy. They probably cost more than the Howard Leight's you suggested as well. I wish I would have taken better care of my hearing when I was younger.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-9-2019, 7:25 PM
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I am also a rider with diagnosed tinnitus. VA service connected and all that. I live with a ringing tone in my ears. I wear earplugs to combat the wind noise as after a certain road speed, the sounds of the engine are no longer prevalent.



I use Howard-Leight Max Plus foam ear plugs. They're the most comfortable and effective ones I know of. I used them at work in a heavy equipment repair shop at the recommendation of our industrial health expert. Once I did that, I just found them by the box on Amazon and ordered a box for my house. Primarily for riding but I use them when operating power tools too. Silly cheap too. I think paid like $5.50 for a box of 50 pairs......sean
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-9-2019, 9:43 PM
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I struggled a lot, trying to find better hearing protection. The wind noise at high speeds was driving me crazy. One of the most important things I learned during this struggle is that good earplugs, while essential, are only part of the solution.

Your windscreen, for example, can create a lot of noise. Stand up on the pegs and see if it's quieter up there. If so, you may consider making some adjustments. I wound up chopping most of my windscreen off. The ride is MUCH quieter.

Another thing I learned: much of the wind noise, in my case, was created by air running beneath the helmet (not so much the vents). There are lots of ways to reduce this kind of noise. Super expensive helmets. Windjammers. Chin guards. The best thing I have found is a shemagh, tied around my neck in such a way that it will never fly lose (which would very be dangerous). Makes the helmet much quieter. Also can be wet to keep you cool in hot weather, and it provides neck protection from flying debris.

Finally, I have found the earplugs with speakers in them, such as plugphones, help me to deal with wind noise. Total noise levels may actually be a bit higher, but the sound of a voice or music makes the wind noise SEEM less. And that makes the ride less tiring. And that can make the ride safer. And in my ear anyway they seem to give as much ear protection as most earplugs I've tried.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-10-2019, 1:51 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yorkie View Post
yeah had the condition for over 25 years and yes it sucks. but you do get used to it so it's not all doom.. as long as you don't develop vertigo to go with it, that really sucks, you will be fine. it just changes how you perceive sound.


to protect what you have something that reduces the noise level by 20db whenever your in a noisy environment will help, industrial ear defenders can be quite good and are fairly cheap. just don't go overboard with them. riding a bike when you can't hear anything isn't a good idea.
I also think I'll get used to after a while. But having hyperacusis(noise sensitivity) sucks more. I bought a digital wall clock because the ticking of the old one really annoyed me.

Man, I already have vertigo that comes back sometimes. It started when I got hit by a bottle in an altercation about 3 years ago.

What brand of industrial ear defenders are you referring to? Just want to check them out.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-10-2019, 1:59 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Devilsfan. Will surely check this products out. Thank you so much for this. I wonder if they'd fit me well too. I have narrower ear canals and I tried foam plugs and they hurt a bit.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-10-2019, 2:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpug View Post
Thanks for the info on the hearing protection, I have been looking for something better than what I am using now. Mine have a tendency to get loose when I put my helmet on and are still to noisy. They probably cost more than the Howard Leight's you suggested as well. I wish I would have taken better care of my hearing when I was younger.
Me too. I wish I wasn't as ignorant and careless when I was younger. I was a total squid back then.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-10-2019, 2:09 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apriliarider View Post
I am also a rider with diagnosed tinnitus. VA service connected and all that. I live with a ringing tone in my ears. I wear earplugs to combat the wind noise as after a certain road speed, the sounds of the engine are no longer prevalent.



I use Howard-Leight Max Plus foam ear plugs. They're the most comfortable and effective ones I know of. I used them at work in a heavy equipment repair shop at the recommendation of our industrial health expert. Once I did that, I just found them by the box on Amazon and ordered a box for my house. Primarily for riding but I use them when operating power tools too. Silly cheap too. I think paid like $5.50 for a box of 50 pairs......sean
Mine sounds like an old dial-up. Yup, once I reach 60 mph that's when I start to hearing buzzing and ringing.

For me, it's okay to buy an expensive one that I can use whenever but the problem is everyone's ears are different. I also heard that sometimes even custom earplugs doesn't fit and work that well. Gotta try these cheap ones first.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-10-2019, 2:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by castorp View Post
I struggled a lot, trying to find better hearing protection. The wind noise at high speeds was driving me crazy. One of the most important things I learned during this struggle is that good earplugs, while essential, are only part of the solution.

Your windscreen, for example, can create a lot of noise. Stand up on the pegs and see if it's quieter up there. If so, you may consider making some adjustments. I wound up chopping most of my windscreen off. The ride is MUCH quieter.

Another thing I learned: much of the wind noise, in my case, was created by air running beneath the helmet (not so much the vents). There are lots of ways to reduce this kind of noise. Super expensive helmets. Windjammers. Chin guards. The best thing I have found is a shemagh, tied around my neck in such a way that it will never fly lose (which would very be dangerous). Makes the helmet much quieter. Also can be wet to keep you cool in hot weather, and it provides neck protection from flying debris.

Finally, I have found the earplugs with speakers in them, such as plugphones, help me to deal with wind noise. Total noise levels may actually be a bit higher, but the sound of a voice or music makes the wind noise SEEM less. And that makes the ride less tiring. And that can make the ride safer. And in my ear anyway they seem to give as much ear protection as most earplugs I've tried.
Thank you for the tips. Will surely try them tomorrow.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-10-2019, 10:00 AM
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The problem that I always had was that the plugs would get dragged out of my ear when I was putting on my helmet. I started using Radians Customs.
https://www.amazon.com/Radians-CEP00...ateway&sr=8-86
Buy 2 sets as you will get it close but not quite on the first pair. Read the directions and use a mirror and you will not have any problems getting them to work for you.

As a bonus, you can actually earbuds in to them for a custom earbud.
And before people jump me for not being able to hear my surroundings, I was actually able to hear much better with this set-up as I did not have to crank the tunes to overcome wind noise. Add that to the "ambient" microphone on the SENA and I was never surprised by sirens.

John Z.

If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. -Albert Einstein
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-10-2019, 1:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrookEbisa View Post
What brand of industrial ear defenders are you referring to? Just want to check them out.
probably similar to the ones apriliarider was on about just a simple expanding foam type over here we use them as one shot industrial defenders. use once and throw away. you squeeze them with fingers then insert into ear the foam expands for a snug fit never had one even think of coming out. we get them in a box from industrial supplies about 500 in a box for the price of a coffee.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-11-2019, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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I just watched this video and it's pretty insightful.
They're a custom hearing protection company that has a youtube channel and they seem pretty interesting. Still not decided what to get though, as they're a bit on the expensive side.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-12-2019, 8:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrookEbisa View Post
I just watched this video and it's pretty insightful.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAqFtwJ0vDM
They're a custom hearing protection company that has a youtube channel and they seem pretty interesting. Still not decided what to get though, as they're a bit on the expensive side.

Yeah, to me, when a company has to REALLY sell their product...I'm skeptical. These guys have a ton of videos and it appears that EVERY SINGLE REVIEW is positive! To me, that's a red flag because there's ALWAYS someone that has something to critique. Ain't no product that good, especially with motorcycle riders. They bitch about EVERYTHING!!!

IMO...if I can get a $5 pair of earplugs that work great then why in the world would I ever throw out another $195 for plugs that will do the same?!?!

Think of it this way, unless you're using an actual pair of ear MUFFS there's only so many decibels you're going to be able to muffle. I mean, put your fingers in your ears around a loud object (wouldn't suggest to do this while riding!) and how much of the sound is filtered? Your fingers should be able to completely cover your ear canal and your fingers are pretty solid.
Therefore, unless you have something covering the entire ear as well (helmet padding obviously helps) there's only so many decibels you can muffle. And I think those $200 plugs are, probably, very good...but I can get similar for a heck of a lot cheaper!

***I will throw out this link:

http://quietridemuffs.com/order_now.html

Not sure how these are but, they make sense! Seems like a homemade-type of kit that you can maybe make yourself.

In the end there are 2 things I do know - 1) there is no such thing as a "Quiet" helmet, only quiet"er" helmets and, 2) to get a total effect of noise suppression you have to go further than covering just the ear canal.

Also, speak with your doctor and ask him/her what they suggest.
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-12-2019, 9:29 AM
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I found that no matter what plugs I wore, the wind noise was always a huge factor. I was able to solve it by increasing the padding in in ear cups of my helmet until the padding was physically touching my ears and lightly pressing against the plugs, physically blocking the wind across the plugs.
Combining this and the video above for making custom earbuds, my riding volume was exactly the same as the volume at home. As a bonus, the plugs are comfortable enough to wear while mowing the lawn, which is a place people forget about when trying to protect their ears.
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If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. -Albert Einstein
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-15-2019, 1:04 PM
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My personal favorites are the Howard Leight Pilot reusable foam plugs. Comfortable enough to sleep in, perform well, easy to put in (none of the foam rolling business), reusable - cheap enough to toss when they get gross...
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-15-2019, 2:24 PM
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I have had the issue for years from being in the service.
I recently bought a shoei helmet because I have heard how well they keep the wind noise low. A good helmet and ear plugs will help out a ton.
No more cheap helmets for me.


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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-16-2019, 1:05 AM
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Not everyone can wear a Shoei.
Plus 1 though for a good helmet and ear protection. My current helmets all fair quite well with my Howard Leight's. No issues with wind noise or anything above about 65 mph. All I hear then is a slight hum...sean




These are the one's I wear. I was recommended them by our industrial health expert at work ( a doctor of audiology) so I went with her recommend. They work quite well in all environments. Mostly though, these fit me best and are the most comfortable I've found. The "barrel" shaped ones cause some skin "tearing" when I use them. Unseen by me, but seen on the scope when the audiologist did her exam.


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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-16-2019, 1:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john z View Post
I found that no matter what plugs I wore, the wind noise was always a huge factor. I was able to solve it by increasing the padding in in ear cups of my helmet until the padding was physically touching my ears and lightly pressing against the plugs, physically blocking the wind across the plugs.
I can't say I've ever had that problem with wind inside my lid going across my ear plugs. My helmets are so tight that never happens. I realize everyone is different but that just has never happened to me in all my years of riding.


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post #21 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-16-2019, 1:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Devilsfan View Post
After learning a few years ago how much the wind while riding can effect hearing I've been wearing earplugs ever since!

That said, I've tried a few different kinds. So far, the best ones that work for me are the Howard Leight orange with blue strings earplugs. They're cheap, they quiet things down the most for me and they stay in place when I put my helmet on. You can find them at Walmart, any gun store or on Amazon.



Problem is, I feel the Howard Leight's muffle more sound than the Surefire's. And they're cheaper and easy to clean with a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol.

I don't know how you wear those inside a helmet. I was issued a similar style "christmas tree" ear plug in the military a couple of decades ago. I could not wear them inside a helmet. The little "posts" would catch on the ear cup padding and rip them right out of my ears. When I did manage to get them to stay in, they hit the foam inside the ear cup and transmitted all the external noise straight to my ears. I quite using them after that. The Howard-Leight Max plugs I posted above were what were recommended to me in the years since then......sean


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post #22 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-16-2019, 7:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apriliarider View Post
I don't know how you wear those inside a helmet. I was issued a similar style "christmas tree" ear plug in the military a couple of decades ago. I could not wear them inside a helmet. The little "posts" would catch on the ear cup padding and rip them right out of my ears. When I did manage to get them to stay in, they hit the foam inside the ear cup and transmitted all the external noise straight to my ears. I quite using them after that. The Howard-Leight Max plugs I posted above were what were recommended to me in the years since then......sean
Probably because like you stated above, your helmets are so tight.

My helmets are snug. When I put the helmets on I generally use my thumbs to pull apart the bottom of the helmet, get the helmet over the ears, then let the helmet seat on my head. On occasion the helmet will grab the posts of the ear plugs but I pretty much have the method down!
Once my helmet is on I don't have an issue with them coming out.

Bottom line - everyone's ears are a little different. Just have to find what works for the individual.
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post #23 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-16-2019, 2:10 PM
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I used foam ear plugs for longest time. Then my wife introduced me to silicone ear plugs for shooting-range and they are definitely step up. Similar to sticking fingers into ears example above, they just completely block everything. These are soft gooey putty-like ones that looks like cough lozenges and feels like cookie dough. I really like them for race-track.

I've also tested Bose QC30 noise-canceling headphones and they're really magical! Really dampens noise with monotonous occurrence like exhaust and wind-noise, yet lets through irregular sounds like voices. I can actually hear loudspeaker announcements when going past start/finish line, yet bikes around me are quiet! It's really kinda freaky because of its selective dampening.

I get helmet on by using two long shoe-horns over my ears. Once they are situated in ear-pocket opening of helmet, they stay put just fine.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 7-16-2019 at 2:14 PM.
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post #24 of 24 (permalink) Old 7-27-2019, 1:34 AM
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Ah tinnitus... I've had tinnitus since I was 20, while working on some equipment in an auxiliary space one of my techs accidentally overcharged a pressure tank causing it to explode. I thought my hearing was done forever but luckily after a few hours it came back with a new constant ringing undertone. Took me a few months to adjust to the new noise but it eventually is just there.

I wear blue 3M plugs and I cut the end down so they don't get caught on anything. Make sure you put plugs in deep enough or they won't work.
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