Protect Your Hearing With These Motorcycle-Friendly Earplugs

Three options to help keep wind noise at bay on short and long rides.

Wind noise can be a safety hazard while riding a motorcycle, particularly on an all-day outing when the constant droning swirling around your helmet at highway speeds can cause premature fatigue and even a loss of concentration. A snug-fitting full-coverage helmet with a face shield that seals well is an excellent first step toward on-bike tranquility; a bandana tied cowboy-style around your neck can help smooth the flow of air under your helmet.

Foam earplugs—the readily available type marketed for use at music concerts, traveling by air, or shutting out a snoring spouse—are the easiest and least-expensive step you can take to make your ride a quieter one. Reusable or even custom-molded examples are also widely available, though they vary greatly in design, comfort, function, and, of course, pricing. Here are three affordable and effective options.

Howard Leight By Honeywell MAX USA Disposable Foam Earplugs

These preshaped, contoured earplugs were created to suit most ear canals and provide all-day comfort. A closed-cell foam skin is intended to reduce dirt build-up. Each pair comes individually wrapped.Amazon

MAX Disposable Foam Earplugs are a staff favorite. In fact, we keep a stockpile on hand at our offices so editors can't make excuses for not fitting hearing protection before venturing into the dynamometer room or the wilds of Orange County and its crowded network of freeways. This soft, bell-shaped, uncorded design boasts a 33-decibel Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) and comes in two colors: Coral or, as seen here, a patriotic red, white, and blue.

Etymotic ER20XS High-Definition Motorsport Earplugs

ER20XS earplugs claim to lower sound evenly 20 decibels. The stemless design has a low profile to conform with the plane of the outer ear, making them ideal for use with helmets.Amazon

Etymotic Research, founded in 1983 by Mead Killion, Ph.D., stresses consistent, lifelong use of hearing protection. To wit, the Illinois-based company develops and manufactures a diverse collection of products engineered to prevent hearing loss as well as enhance the listening experience for both children and adults. Specifically created for motorsport, the ER20XS universal kit includes earplugs, plus three pairs of tips, a storage case, and a neck cord. A flexible pull tab eases removal.

These soft foam earplugs from family-owned McKeon Products boast a "uniquely contoured, hollowed, and flared design" that is said to maximize comfort for those—women, in particular—with smaller or particularly sensitive ear canals. They are pink in color and carry a relatively high NRR of 30 decibels, which means they are a good choice for use in conjunction with motorcycles with little protection from the elements or fitted with a louder-than-stock aftermarket exhaust system.