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Monday, 8 August 2011

Useful things no.1

At the bike show at Ingliston in March this year, I decided to take the plunge and get a pair of custom earplugs made. I'd been thinking about a pair for some years, so when I saw a stand offering them, now was the time.
The stand was of a company called Plugzz They sat me on a high stool, inserted cotton wool 'bungs' on a thread into my ear, then squirted in some moulding compound. This feels really weird, and I had to sit for a few minutes while it hardened, before they pulled them out. I selected the colours and other options - red for right, and blue for left, plus I wanted 'acoustic filters' fitted. These allow you to hear sound from in-helmet speakers whilst blocking outside noise.
A few weeks later my completed plugs arrived, along with a velvet drawstring bag.

First time you try, they're a bit fiddly to get in, but you soon get the hang of it. Once in place they sit very neatly and comfortably into your ear.

You won't believe how hard it is to take a good photo of your own ear! You can see the small hole that allows sound from speakers to go into the acoustic filters.

In use they are fantastic! Very easy to put in (once you've learned how to), very comfortable even after long rides, and they block the sound so completely that you feel really relaxed after a ride.
They also have the advantage on not moving whilst your riding, a problem I've had with other types of earplug. There's nothing worse than having to stop and remove your helmet just to replace an earplug!
I haven't yet tried them whilst using helmet speakers, but I've got a pair and will report back once I've tried them with an iPod and a Sat Nav.
They cost £53 for a pair with acoustic filters (£45 for a pair without), which I regard as incredible value for money. Well worth buying either from Plugzz, or from any of the other companies offering them. Once you've worn a pair of these, you'll never go back to foam ones!
Only small caveat is that as these aren't disposable, you have to keep them clean for hygienic reasons. Plugzz recommend just giving them a wipe with a damp cloth, so they're not that difficult to look after.

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