Tuesday, February 25, 2020

DIY ear-plugs

So a couple of weeks ago I dropped my custom ear-plugs in the shed while moving the Tenere (they were resting on the topbox).  I found one but the other vanished - it may even have been processed by the hairy apprentice...

Anyway, with the TT coming up I needed some new ones.  I used disposable jobbies on the Dusty Butt but wanted something more comfy for the longer days on the TT.  My old custom plugs were awesome, I could easily sleep with them in and they fitted nicely under the helmet, kept out a lot of the wind noise while letting me still use the Sena.

When I got back from the DB I started looking around and the guy who made my last ones no longer does them, local earologists want around $180 and Plugs for Lugs are a wee ways away from here.  So, Google was pressed into service.

And, there's a lot of options out there.  I initially found the ones I got on an Aussie website but more searching located a dealer in NZ (I needed them quick) for about $5 more.

The goop you make them with is some sort of two-pot silicon which you mix together and then quickly mold to fit your lug-holes before it goes off (it takes 10 minutes).

Less sticky blue-tack...
When molding them to your ear you need to push them into your ear canal a bit and then smooth the rest of the material around so it fits tightly and doesn't stick out when you put your skid lid on.

One weird thing was the ten minute wait with them in.  While the stuff is going off you can kind of hear and feel it moving.  But once the ten minutes is up they're pretty hard and ready to go.

I think I made a better job of the left one (my second attempt).  As you can see there's a bit more material to go into my ear canal and it's got a bit better shape to it.

So, do they work?

Well, prior to trying them out, I happened upon the package sent to me from the guy who made the last ones many moons ago.  And guess what?  Inside was another pair of plugs that I didn't know existed...Best do a quick comparison then...

Slipping in the new home-made jobbies I noticed that the material is not quite as soft.  They aren't uncomfortable - just not quite as good as my "pro" ones. 

The fit also wasn't quite as good either - I had to make sure that they were in properly otherwise it felt like they'd slip out as I put on my helmet.  This is most likely my fault rather than the product.

I tried them out on a short ride on the Tenere.  There was a bit of wind around and I also tried them with visor up or down.  They were definitely stopping a lot of wind noise and more comfortable than foam plugs.

I then stopped in and put in the "pro" plugs.  They went in a lot nicer and there was no issues putting my helmet on.  I think that they did also offer more protection from the noise but it is hard to tell.  I didn't have the Sena with me so I don't know how well they'll go with it on - I would guess that they'll be fine.

Anyway, I guess I'll stick to my "pro" ones but will also pack these new ones as spares in case I lose the others.  And yeah, at $45 I'd recommend them if you can't find a pro to help you out.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andrew,
    I found exactly the same as you when I bought a "self help" kit in Hamilton a few years back. I had a new set made in November by Plugz 4 Lugz. The last set made by them was about 3 years ago. The new set are slightly better than the last ones in reducing wind noise and comms clarity. Maybe it's because my ear canals have changed slightly in that time.