GIVE ME AN EAR – Pinlock Earplugs

Review and pictures by Wahid Ooi Abdullah

Like many Malaysians, I’ve watched P. Ramlee’s “Seniman Bujang Lapok” countless times and still have a good laugh. But there’s one particular scene which cracks me up the most.

 Sudin attempted to assist a policeman in breaking the news of Pak Mat Tempe being hit by a car to his hearing-challenged spouse. But his efforts was always replied with something else. Exasperated, he yelled above his lungs and acted out the accident, and she finally got the news. Sudin then turned to the policeman and yelled, “ENCIK, SOUND DIA ROSAK (Sir, her hearing is out)!!!” It doesn’t sound as funny in English, but I’m positive we Malaysians would laugh out loud.

I find it particularly funny because I’m actually laughing at myself.

Although I’ve been riding for 30 years, I’ve only started wearing earplugs since some 5 years past. Consequently, I sometimes find it difficult to pick up what people are saying and they had to repeat themselves a few times, and yes, I talk very loud. Additionally, I have a slight ringing in both ears, as a sign of tinnitus, which is incurable.

pinlock_earplugs

Permanent hearing damage starts through prolonged exposure to noise levels of above 85dB. Riding at speed, incidentally, produces wind noise up to 105 dB. You may be wearing the “quietest” helmet in the market, but that wind noise will not be completely eliminated.

The worst thing is, hearing damage and loss occurs progressively over time, almost imperceptible to the sufferer until your loved ones and friends have to yell to get your attention (I raise my arms to concur).

Even pro-racers wear earplugs under their made-to-fit helmets. 3-time 500cc World Champ, Wayne Rainey once said, “The quieter it is, the faster I go.” Valentino Rossi can always be seen stuffing earplugs into his ears before he puts on his helmet.

Earplugs are easy to find in pharmacies and they’re cheap. Those are quiet – appropriate for a good night’s sleep – but are far from suitable for riding as they damp out almost all sounds, robbing us of the all-important 360-degree situational awareness when we ride. In my personal experience, I almost turned into a car next to me because I couldn’t hear it.

So should we continue to ride without ear protection?

Pinlock has the answer. Yes, Pinlock, the company who are famous for making the anti-fog lenses for helmet visors. Pinlock had graciously sent us a set all the way from the Netherlands for us to sample.

The plugs come in a small box, where you’ll find 2 pairs of plugs of different sizes. The filter has been installed in one pair and you could remove and install them in those of different size.

These Pinlock earplugs have special filters that reduce sounds level at certain frequencies. For example, they reduce 22 dB off the noise frequencies from 125 Hz to around 500 Hz, then cut up to 30 dB at 2 kHz, back to 22 dB at 4 kHz, before reaching the maximum reduction of 30 dB at 8 kHz. The lower frequencies i.e. 125 Hz to below 1 kHz are the roaring wind noises, 2 kHz is the midrange, and the higher frequencies around 8 kHz are heard as those sharp, whistling noises.

We had the opportunity to test them on our two April 2016 rides to Phuket, Thailand.

The first ride was to the Phuket Bike Week and I rode the Victory Cross Country Tour. Being a bagger/tourer, I wore an open face helmet. With the plugs in, the bike’s twin cylinder roar and mechanical sounds could be heard clearly, as with the traffic and surroundings. Wind noise was perceptibly lower, while there was no whistling. I could still talk to Nick when we stopped at traffic lights. Inserted correctly, the plugs fitted comfortably in the ears and didn’t have the tendency to pop back out.

Next ride was a fortnight afterwards, with the Aprilia Riders Club Malaysia. As I rode the Shiver 750 this time, and I wore a full-face helmet this time. The helmet was already quite to begin with, but with the earplugs in, things got even more pleasant. Being quiet means I didn’t have to turn my music up to full blast, to overcome the wind noise.

Having less noise to contend with also has another benefit: Less fatigue. That means you don’t have to struggle with trying to “squeeze your ears” and that leaves you to fully concentrate on riding.

Besides that, as you’re not overwhelmed by noise, you don’t feel you’re going too fast to handle, which in turn gives you more confidence. Just like what Rainey said.

I’ve since worn them on a daily basis and when testing fast bikes such as the Ducati 959 Panigale at Buriram, Thailand, the Yamaha MT-09 Tracer, and the monstrous KTM Super Duke 1290 GT.

These Pinlock Earplugs are distributed by KLCL Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. and their authorized dealers:

KLCL ENTERPRISE SDN. BHD.

Review and pictures by Wahid Ooi Abdullah
Like many Malaysians, I’ve watched P. Ramlee’s “Seniman Bujang Lapok” countless times and still have a good laugh. But there’s one particular scene which cracks me up the most.

Sudin attempted to assist a policeman in breaking the news of Pak Mat Tempe being hit by a car to his hearing-challenged spouse. But his efforts was always replied with something else. Exasperated, he yelled above his lungs and acted out the accident, and she finally got the news. Sudin then turned to the policeman and yelled, “ENCIK, SOUND DIA ROSAK (Sir, her hearing is out)!!!” It doesn’t sound as funny in English, but I’m positive we Malaysians would laugh out loud.

I find it particularly funny because I’m actually laughing at myself.

Although I’ve been riding for 30 years, I’ve only started wearing earplugs since some 5 years past. Consequently, I sometimes find it difficult to pick up what people are saying and they had to repeat themselves a few times, and yes, I talk very loud. Additionally, I have a slight ringing in both ears, as a sign of tinnitus, which is incurable.

Permanent hearing damage starts through prolonged exposure to noise levels of above 85dB. Riding at speed, incidentally, produces wind noise up to 105 dB. You may be wearing the “quietest” helmet in the market, but that wind noise will not be completely eliminated.

The worst thing is, hearing damage and loss occurs progressively over time, almost imperceptible to the sufferer until your loved ones and friends have to yell to get your attention (I raise my arms to concur).

Even pro-racers wear earplugs under their made-to-fit helmets. 3-time 500cc World Champ, Wayne Rainey once said, “The quieter it is, the faster I go.” Valentino Rossi can always be seen stuffing earplugs into his ears before he puts on his helmet.

Earplugs are easy to find in pharmacies and they’re cheap. Those are quiet – appropriate for a good night’s sleep – but are far from suitable for riding as they damp out almost all sounds, robbing us of the all-important 360-degree situational awareness when we ride. In my personal experience, I almost turned into a car next to me because I couldn’t hear it.

So should we continue to ride without ear protection?

Pinlock has the answer. Yes, Pinlock, the company who are famous for making the anti-fog lenses for helmet visors. Pinlock had graciously sent us a set all the way from the Netherlands for us to sample.

The plugs come in a small box, where you’ll find 2 pairs of plugs of different sizes. The filter has been installed in one pair and you could remove and install them in those of different size.

These Pinlock earplugs have special filters that reduce sounds level at certain frequencies. For example, they reduce 22 dB off the noise frequencies from 125 Hz to around 500 Hz, then cut up to 30 dB at 2 kHz, back to 22 dB at 4 kHz, before reaching the maximum reduction of 30 dB at 8 kHz. The lower frequencies i.e. 125 Hz to below 1 kHz are the roaring wind noises, 2 kHz is the midrange, and the higher frequencies around 8 kHz are heard as those sharp, whistling noises.

We had the opportunity to test them on our two April 2016 rides to Phuket, Thailand.

The first ride was to the Phuket Bike Week and I rode the Victory Cross Country Tour. Being a bagger/tourer, I wore an open face helmet. With the plugs in, the bike’s twin cylinder roar and mechanical sounds could be heard clearly, as with the traffic and surroundings. Wind noise was perceptibly lower, while there was no whistling. I could still talk to Nick when we stopped at traffic lights. Inserted correctly, the plugs fitted comfortably in the ears and didn’t have the tendency to pop back out.

Next ride was a fortnight afterwards, with the Aprilia Riders Club Malaysia. As I rode the Shiver 750 this time, and I wore a full-face helmet this time. The helmet was already quite to begin with, but with the earplugs in, things got even more pleasant. Being quiet means I didn’t have to turn my music up to full blast, to overcome the wind noise.

Having less noise to contend with also has another benefit: Less fatigue. That means you don’t have to struggle with trying to “squeeze your ears” and that leaves you to fully concentrate on riding.

Besides that, as you’re not overwhelmed by noise, you don’t feel you’re going too fast to handle, which in turn gives you more confidence. Just like what Rainey said.

I’ve since worn them on a daily basis and when testing fast bikes such as the Ducati 959 Panigale at Buriram, Thailand, the Yamaha MT-09 Tracer, and the monstrous KTM Super Duke 1290 GT.

These Pinlock Earplugs are distributed by KLCL Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. and their authorized dealers:
KLCL ENTERPRISE SDN. BHD.
Unit D-01-3A, D-02-3A, D-03-3A
Pusat Komersial Setapak (STARPAC)
(Opposite JPJ Wangsa Maju)
68, Jalan Ibu Kota
53300 Kuala Lumpur
Wilayah Persekutuan.
Tel: +603-4144 3319
Email: enquiry@klcl.com.my
Web: http://www.klcl.com.my
FB: https://www.facebook.com/KLCL-1377850292452538

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