Tested by Michael Cowton | £19.99 | www.pinlock.com
I HAVE suffered from tinnitus for more years than I care to remember, brought on, I believe, after years of playing bass next to drummers. All that crashing of cymbals royally screwed my higher frequencies, and as a consequence I live with a constant hiss. With one in ten Brits suffering from the condition, no doubt there will be a considerable number of bikers in the mix.
I admit to being over-sensitive, if not a little paranoid, about the condition, and therefore am extremely conscious about how to protect what hearing I have left from further damage as a result of riding a bike. So, I have been trying various different types of ear protection, and not having been entirely happy with the squidgy, disposable sort, which I found difficult both to keep in place and not particularly effective, I decided to invest in a pair of Pinlock Earplugs, which are especially engineered for riders.
Utilising an integrated advanced precision filter, the plugs have been developed to help block wind noise, but still allow the rider to pick up on those all-important sounds, such as emergency vehicle sirens, horns, sounds from approaching vehicles and conversations, without causing muffled hearing. Made from medical grade silicone-free materials, the filter itself is removable, thereby making it easy to clean the plugs. The latter come in two sizes in a molded polystyrene case, so dependant on your ear size, you can opt for either the medium or large.
I opted for the larger of the two, and was not disappointed. Simple to place in the ear, I almost immediately forgot that they were in situ, such was the comfort level. As important, the reduction in wind noise was immediately apparent, something which previously I had grown more conscious off as it was, in fact, beginning to affect my concentration. Forming a good seal with the ear canal, I have had no problem with them becoming dislodged when either putting on or removing my helmet. However, the one thing I hadn’t accounted for was actually when it came to extracting them. Trying to locate the tab with which to pull them out has proven to be one of frustration on more than one occasion.
It is hard to put a price on ear protection. Whilst taking preventative measures is without doubt better than wearing no protection at all, for me, the only negative is that they don’t filter out the constant nagging from her indoors whenever I mention purchasing a new piece of kit or, heaven forbid, another bike.