Soft, generic ear plugs. I’ve been using them for a long time now, and frankly, they drive me berserk. I never seem to get a perfect seal, they pull out when I’m putting on my helmet and after a few days on the road, irritate my ears. I have persisted, because I like to block out wind noise while riding and am acutely aware of the long-term damage that can be done to hearing by not using ear protection.
With this in mind, and the fact that I have become thoroughly addicted to podcasts, I set off to see Andy Strapz who is the Melbourne based agent for Earmold Australia to arrange a couple of sets of Earmold earplugs. The first, a basic set – the Insta-Mold Custom Plugs and for listening to music and the aforementioned podcasts while on a long journey, I opted for the more sophisticated set of I-Monitor Phone jobs in Lab Flex.
Basically, you are looking at plugs that are custom moulded in your ear. The first are on-the-spot, manufactured from soft, flexible Insta-Mold medical grade silicone material. I rode home in them a bit over an hour after the material was removed from my lug ‘ole. By adding phone monitors to newly made plugs allows for hands-free music and phone calls to be trained directly onto my eardrum. They work just like the earbud set you get with most new phones.
A second, more elaborate and higher spec system started with an “impression” being made of my ear and sent off to Earmold Australia HQ. Twin steel armature drivers were moulded into special earplugs for excellent sound quality, clear voice calls and enhanced bass response. The I-Monitor Phone set-up allows you to receive and end calls easily without touching your phone thanks to the glove friendly in-line push button located on the cable with built-in microphone and slide volume control. Of course, your favourite music, radio, GPS and any other listening material can also be utilised.
In fact, that’s how I have been using mine. For music, podcasts, but the phone setup is handy too. I just hit the button to receive calls, then pull up and continue talking. You can use them on the go, but my preferred arrangement is to stop and chat away. Helmet on, no fuss.
The sound quality is top-end, and there seems to be no loss of quality. Clear and as loud as I’d like, with the use of the in-line volume control.
I recently used them on an aeroplane on the long-haul drudge to the States. I simply unplugged when I wanted to sleep and re-plugged in when I wanted to listen to the inflight entertainment. Slept like a baby, and that’s a huge plus for weary travellers. Top marks there.
They are nicely snug in my lid and haven’t looked like pulling out. A nice change from what I’m used to.
Yep, I’m a fan. I don’t know how I’ve done without for as long as I have. Check the website for the huge range of options on offer from Earmold Australia.
THE GOOD OIL
Insta-Mold Custom Plugs $75
I- Monitor in Lab Flex $289 (inc earplugs, impressions required)
Get yours: www.earmold.com.au