MO Tested: EarPeace Earplug Review
Protecting motorcyclists' hearing through variable noise damping
For almost a quarter-century, I’ve been wearing earplugs while riding, and I’ve tried just about every kind of earplug out there. For about the past decade, I’ve used musician’s earplugs because they fit my funny-shaped left ear canal, and they don’t muffle sound – just lower its intensity. However, I’ve had to put up with some idiosyncrasies, like the slight protrusion from my ear. Imagine my interest when the folks from EarPeace approached me to review their product. On the surface, it appears to address my issues with musician’s earplugs while still playing to their strengths.
We’re accustomed to unboxing experiences with expensive products, but EarPeace has taken presentation to heart, too. The first thing you’ll notice when you look through the clear plastic package is that there are three earplugs. Yep, you can lose one without rendering the entire set useless. The next observation will be of the machined aluminum carrying case that, upon closer inspection, has a clip and dual storage chambers with screw-on caps. The top chamber has room for two plugs, and the bottom chamber gives you a choice. You can either store your spare plug or the extra noise-reducing filters.
The removable filters are EarPeace’s killer feature. The rider gets to decide what level of noise reduction they desire. The clear filters deliver a claimed SNR 17 / NRR 11 reduction, while the red and black filters give SNR 20 / NRR 14 and SNR 26 / NRR 19, respectively. The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is probably the standard with which readers are most familiar, though, with higher numbers representing more sound attenuation. (For sake of comparison, the box of Hearos foam earplugs I keep in my garage – for emergencies, along with an extra set or two in my track gear bag – are rated at NRR 30, but I am never quite able to get my left ear to seal properly. So, my actual rating is likely much lower.)
The earplugs themselves are short, dual-flanged pieces constructed of silicone. They are soft and conform easily to differing ear canal shapes – even my troublesome left ear. Each plug has a short tab that extends from the plug that is your grip when you remove the plugs. You need to align the pull tab with one of the two notches above or below your ear’s tragus, the flap of your external ear that covers the ear canal. If you don’t do this, you may find yourself digging the plug out of your ear with your bike key. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) With careful insertion, the earplug is easy to remove with the pull tab, but the need to be careful with the tab’s location is my sole complaint about the EarPeace earplugs.
The EarPeace plugs fit snugly, but comfortably, in my ears and don’t require the user spread the sides of the helmet (like my previous musician’s plugs) to keep them from being knocked loose when donning the helmet. I spent a lot of time testing the three filters and found the clear ones ideal for around town. For any more than a couple of miles on the freeway, I’d recommend switching to the red filters. In fact, the red filters would be my compromise daily use filter. Not surprisingly, the earplugs come fit with the red filters in the package. The black filters do the best job of blocking sound, but I still prefer to be able to hear vehicles around me on the street. So, these filters are likely the ones I’d use on track days, where the speeds/noise levels are higher.
After so many years, I never thought that I’d be switching to a different brand of earplug, but EarPeace’s quality and comfort have won me over in just a few rides. EarPeace earplugs retail for $25 in a standard or small size with a choice of a red or black aluminum carrying case. I highly recommend these comfortable, effective earplugs.
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