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NoNoise Motorsport Hearing Protectors Review

NoNoise Motorsport Hearing Protectors

Greg Drevenstedt
January 31, 2014
Filed under Gear, Motorcycle Gear Reviews, Motorcycle Parts + Accessories + Luggage: Reviews

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Just as I’ve always worn a full-face helmet to protect my entire head, I’ve always worn earplugs to protect my ears from the potential damage caused by wind noise. Even with a windscreen, a fairing and a full-face helmet, wind noise can be unpleasantly loud at highway speeds. Whether from attending too many loud concerts during my misguided youth or from the wind noise that still creeps in through earplugs when riding, occasionally I suffer from tinnitus (ringing of the ears).

Twisted Throttle recently started carrying NoNoise Motorsport Hearing Protectors, and I received a pair for evaluation. According to the NoNoise package insert, wind noise on a motorcycle can reach 95 decibels (dB), and permanent hearing damage can occur at 85 dB. With its hearing protectors (aka earplugs) tested using the European EN352-2 standard, NoNoise reports average sound attenuation of 17-30 dB, depending on frequency, which should reduce wind noise well below the 85 dB threshold.

My earplug of choice has always been the inexpensive, disposable kind. I buy them in bulk at the drug store, or I cadge them from the dyno room at Jett Tuning when we do power runs on test bikes. They’re easy to use, they work well at reducing wind noise and, since they’re cheap, it’s no big deal if I drop one in the dirt or lose one. I’ve got extra earplugs stashed everywhere—in the pockets of my riding gear, in my backpack, at the office and in my garage.

With foam earplugs, you squeeze and rotate them between your forefinger and thumb, insert them into your ears, and they expand to fill each ear canal. NoNoise earplugs are made of silicone-free, hypoallergenic thermoplastic. They have a central, hollow shaft with three soft, concentric, mushroom-like caps on one end that fit inside the ear canal. The other end of the shaft serves as a small handle so you can push the earplug into your ear canal and pull it out back out again.

NoNoise earplugs feature a patented ceramic sound filter.

NoNoise earplugs feature a patented ceramic sound filter.

Designed and manufactured in Europe, NoNoise says its hearing protectors were “developed over 20 years by leading experts” and “use patented ceramic sound filters to ensure maximum protection…without a muffled effect.” Inside the hollow shaft there’s a Venturi-shaped sound channel and a precision-tuned ceramic filter that, NoNoise claims, sits deeper in your ear than conventional earplugs. After years of using conical foam earplugs, it took practice to insert the NoNoise earplugs to the appropriate depth—not so shallow that they were ineffective and not so deep that I had trouble getting them back out (one time I had to use a pair of needle-nosed pliers to grab the end of the shaft and extract it).

Comfort is comparable to conventional earplugs—when they’re inserted properly, you forget they’re there. And NoNoise earplugs are very good at cutting wind noise, at least as good as the best foam earplugs I’ve used (Howard Leight MAX) while eliminating the dulling, muffled effect that some earplugs produce. You need to be able to hear horns, sirens and other traffic noise to maintain situational awareness, and NoNoise earplugs offer more sound clarity than foam earplugs.

NoNoise earplugs work very well, but they have two downsides. One, at $29.95 per pair, they’re expensive. If they last long enough and provide the superior hearing protection that NoNoise claims, the investment might be worthwhile. But if you’re the type that loses things easily, the cost may be prohibitive. NoNoise does provide an aluminum canister to store the earplugs in, and the cap has a small keyring that can be affixed to a zipper pull.

NoNoise earplugs come with an aluminum storage canister.

NoNoise earplugs come with an aluminum storage canister.

Two, because they’re not disposable, you have to clean NoNoise earplugs regularly. Those three mushroom caps collect a fair amount of earwax, and you’ll need to be careful that the sink you wash them in has a screen so they don’t accidentally go down the drain. Also, NoNoise says that if the hearing protectors become cracked or damaged in any way, they should be replaced and not reused. I’ve been wearing them on a daily basis for a few weeks and they’re still in good shape, but I don’t know how long they’ll last. If I care for them and they last a year, then $29.95 is a reasonable amount to pay for top-notch hearing protection.

In addition to the motorsport-specific NoNoise earplugs, Twisted Throttle also carries the company’s hearing protectors that are tuned for other activities such as work noise, music, travel, shooting, etc.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit twistedthrottle.com/nonoise-motorsport-precision-noise-filtration-hearing-protection

Comments

4 Responses to “NoNoise Motorsport Hearing Protectors Review”

  1. Steve Waclo on February 1st, 2014 1:39 pm

    Excellent review Greg, especially the background information on hearing loss and tinnitus.

    Every time I roll out the Nighthawk, it is preceded by a 15 minute ritual of AGATT, including insertion of the roll-up foam earplugs you mention. You point out the importance of good hearing as an essential part of situational awareness and while an important part of safe riding, I believe you would agree it falls down on the list of importance when compared to vision, vision, vision, experience, training, maturity and riding alertly.

    Subsequently, I accept the greatly muffled sound of my environment as a trade off for the serenity of riding without wind noise (and don’t get me started on ear buds).

    I’ll be 70 this month and have endured tinnitus for as long as I can remember and while I can’t blame it all on riding w/o ear pro, I have no doubt that was contributory to the constant, high pitched whine I endure. Unfortunately, it’s one of those maladies, unlike putting your hand into a flame or eating too many greasy fries, that builds insidiously over decades and by the time you begin to notice a problem, there is no going back (OK, I’ll concede you can stop with the fries.)

    [Reply]

  2. Dan Hammack on February 13th, 2014 7:40 pm

    As the only person in my group who wears earplugs I always felt rushed rolling up foam plugs, inserting them, and waiting for them to expand why everyone else waited on me. The result was that many times I wouldn’t get a proper seal. I then tried some custom molds that were supposed to be for motorcycling, but unfortunately blocked too much sound making it difficult to hear what others were saying, especially a problem at border crossings and national park entrances. I finally tried Moldex Comets and these work excellently. They push right in, no rolling, no waiting for expansion, and block just the right amount of noise. You can still understand what others are saying, they’re reusable and perhaps best of all they’re cheap.

    [Reply]

    Dan Hammack Reply:

    I have gone to wearing EarPro EP5 Sonic Defenders . Why the Moldex Comets fit easily and work well, they would began to hurt my ears after a while, they are just too hard for me. The Sonic Defenders are much softer and don’t hurt my ears even after many hours of riding. The Moldex Comets however are much cheaper and easier to install, and I would recommend trying them first to see if they work for you.

    [Reply]

  3. Jerry Harvey on September 7th, 2014 2:01 pm

    Well, if i could have gotten them out of my ears i might have been happy. Tried them twice, and when fully inserted they tend to help with ambient noise, however they are almost impossible to remove. Perhaps it’s just me, but i have used similar types in the past and never have i had such a difficult time removing anything from my ear.
    Sorry for the bad review, but if they had only cost a couple of bucks i wouldn’t be as unhappy as i am with these.

    [Reply]

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