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Earmuffs vs. Earplugs vs. Bose QuietComfort ANC earbud installed in earmuffs

Earmuffs vs Earpluggs

Excessively loud wind noise at highway speeds vibrates the helmet shell material creating loud wind noise inside the helmet at the ears. Wind sound levels inside the helmet shell are magnified due to small air space between the inside of the helmet shell and the person's head. Also, wind noise entering the bottom of the helmet is magnified due to small air space between the inside of the helmet shell and the person's head.

Wind sound inside the helmet causes the head bones to vibrate wind sound. The vibration is transferred to the head bones surrounding the ear canal and act like wind sound speaker system in your ear canal. As a result noise reduction earmuffs rated at NRR19 block only sounds in the small air space between the inside of the helmet shell and the outside of your head. They, can't block wind sound inside the earmuff cup created in the ear canal by head bones vibrating wind sound. As a result, the actual noise level reduction is 10 dB at the ears which translates into a 50% noise reduction

Earpluggs shown inserted

Ear plugs effectively block sound sources from outside of the ear plug wearer's head from entering the ear canal. Unfortunately ear plugs create an air pocket between the ear plug and the eardrum in the ear canal. The wind sound vibrating the head bones surround the ear canal is magnified inside the air pocket. As a result earplugs wearer's still experience unwanted wind sound in the ears when cruising at highway speeds.

Earpluggs shown inserted

Bose QuietComfort active noise cancelling earbuds inside Quiet Ride noise reduction earmuffs effectively cancelling wind sounds created by head bones surrounding the ear canal acting as head bone speakers. As a result the total noise reduction at ears provided by earmuffs and ANC earbuds increases to approximately 20 dB which translates into a 75% total noise reduction of wind and engine noise.

NOTE: Ear buds malfunction when wind flows by ear buds when worn in a helmet without earmuffs. Earmuffs seal out any possibility of air movement, which allows ear buds to reduce sound levels in ears muffs.

Fact - For every 10 dB (decibel) of noise reduction the ears perceive a 50% noise reduction. The second 10 dB of noise reduction would be a 50% reduction of the first 50% reduction which would be a 25% additional noise reduction resulting in a total noise reduction of 75%.

Earpluggs shown inserted

If you suffer from tinnitus a 75% noise reduction in your ears should allow you to continue riding your motorcycle without further damaging your hearing. If you do not have tinnitus wearing a helmet that reduces wind and engine sound levels by 75% should protect you from getting tinnitus.

Harley with pipes

Yahama Virago



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