Big Ear Custom Earplugs - Dirt Rider Magazine

Noise isn't just an enemy to our sport, it is an enemy to your mental state. Yes, studies have clearly shown that excessive, loud noise tends to irritate, upset and tire humans. What this means is that exposure to loud noise, like your bike or even wind noise in a helmet, can fatigue you. Even if you don't know it. Earplugs are the answer; custom ones are even better.Big Ear does fittings at events you can locate by state (check out its website) and offers a wide range of applications that go from standard all the way to ear candy with high-end electronics and a $1000 price tag. I sampled a standard set of BE-SP solid plugs ($84.95) and was pretty impressed.Aside from having a small piece of foam and goo slowly pumped into my ears, which felt weird, the fitment process was painless. The material used is actually a proprietary, hypoallergenic silicone and is available in a variety of colors. Within minutes I had a custom set of plugs. After getting the hang of inserting them into my ears, I was blessed with the goodness of near silence; you hear your own footsteps and breathing more than the surrounding sounds. On the bike I found it a relief, especially on loud MX bikes. I could feel the power better and avoid relating power to the noise the bike was making. On 250Fs, this made a really big difference.Riding off-road, the plugs eliminated the wind noise I usually get on faster-paced rides. Sure you need to have your buddies repeat everything, but now I know how Grandpa feels; "What was that you said, Sonny?" And I really do feel less tired or fatigued after riding; it was surprising.This prompted me to try a set of BE-1C stereo earplugs ($349.95) which feature tiny speakers installed in them. They come in a nice case with some cleaning tools to get the wax out of them (yes, ear wax gets into everything, and keeping these gems clean is the path to their longevity). The shape of the plug allows the cord to stay out of the way when putting on your helmet. Now the calm of near silence was replaced with my favorite tunes through an MP3 player. The sound quality is good, maybe not the killer bass of high-end ear buds, but do you really need that when you're on your dirt bike? Happily, these babies do not fall out or come loose every time you put on your helmet.At first any plug can be a little irritating but with time your ears not only get used to them, they'll thank you for plugging them. I ride with mine quite a lot now, mostly the nonspeaker ones when riding with friends because I can't hear anyone talk to me when I'm rapping alongside Mike Jones. But the music is super cool for shaping a mood and has made some rides like a music video. Do your ears a favor and plug them. -Jimmy Lewis