Like listening to music in the car, many of us love music when on our motorcycle. Your favorite playlist can add enjoyment to the ride, as well as help you stay alert and focused whilst riding. Using earphones can also cut down on damaging wind noise and so offer protection at the same time, making them a preferred choice to in-helmet systems.
However, like most things in life, there are negatives to consider. Wearing earphones under a helmet can be unpractical. They can protrude from your ears, making them uncomfortable and distracting. It can be difficult to put your helmet on whilst ensuring the earphone stays securely in your ear – which could prove costly if it falls out in the process and gets damaged. Depending on your earphones, you’re likely to have to crank the volume up really high to hear the music over the wind noise. This process, as well as other external noise, is damaging to your ears.
So, for those who don’t like to compromise, we’ll identify those qualities to look for in an earphone which will ensure the best under-helmet listening experience.
What makes a comfortable under-helmet earphone?
The key to comfort, when under a helmet, is the fit of the earphones in your ear. If the earphones do not fit, they are distracting and cause ongoing discomfort. If you have smaller ears, you’ll find that there is not enough space in your ear for the earphone to sit in, causing it to protrude – not so great with a motorbike helmet on. Although some earphones are small and can be comfortable without a helmet, such as AirPods Pro’s and the Jabra Elite 75t, they do not sit flush in your ear so when putting your helmet on they become uncomfortable.
So, even smaller earphones do not guarantee under-helmet comfort. Therefore, a good fit with a helmet is a vital element in a comfortable set of earphone for motorcyclists.
Another cause of pain and irritation is when you listen to music too loud. It’s frankly a personal assault on your ear drums! A rite of passage while we were teenagers, but as we get older, you start to realise that listening with the volume too high is less cool and more irritating to our ears. Therefore, a good quality of audio is important in under-helmet earbuds.
It may seem obvious, but fit is the #1 criteria for ear comfort, especially when riding with a helmet. Having a custom-fit tip guarantees comfort, but also has the added benefit of reducing noise generated from air resistance, wind as well as the motorbike engine.
Enter SnugsMoto custom fit range. They are designed to sit flush in the ear so once you have them in, you can slide your helmet on over the top and they won’t get in the way or dislodge from your ears. A low profile equates to no hassle; helmet on and away you go.
Custom-fit ensures security in your ears with the added benefit of sheer comfort. With a deeper custom fit in the ear canal, they will not budge. So, you can take your helmet on and off safe in the knowledge they won’t move and this option removes any anxiety about losing an earbud. It also provides passive noise isolation. This means you’re reducing noise, wind, engine or other high intensity sounds just by wearing them. It also means with our earbud option, the clarity of sound available at lower volume levels is good for your eardrums too!
“I am easily able to pull on any helmet while wearing the Snugs without disturbing them. I have worn them on a six-hour ride and felt no discomfort whatsoever. In fact, the SnugsMotos work so well that, on a recent day trip with my girlfriend, using Sena’s latest communication system in our helmets made our ears feel like they were about to bleed in comparison. Maybe I’m getting spoiled here, or maybe my ears have just started to heal and are more sensitive now.”
Read the full review here
How loud is it really?
There have been many articles written about the dangers of noise while on your motorbike. Today’s workplaces are governed by legislation ensuring the workers are protected from noise for the duration of the workday. The surprising aspect is that motorbike riders can expose themselves to noise levels that often exceed those their employers by law have to protect them against.
Reports commissioned by ADAC, the German Automobile Asociation as well as at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom shows:
- At speeds above 40mph the wind noise can exceed the noise of the motorbike itself
- Riders are exposed to 85dB at 40mph;
- Exposed to 105db at 70mph;
- Exposed to 115dB at 125mph
The German study went on to highlight the amount of time riders can be exposed to these noise levels before the risk of permanent damage may occur. The results are somewhat starling.
- At 62mph permanent damage can occur after 15 min;
- At 74mph these exposure numbers in mins drop rapidly to merely 7 mins;
- While not legal in many countries, at 87mph 3 mins
Simply stated, no more pumping out the music, so you can hear it above the din of all the other external noise. Look after yourself! A good motorcycle helmet, some custom-fit earplugs or earphones, with comfort at the forefront of your decision, is the best thing for your long-term hearing.
Your ears are on your head – get a combination that works
As motorbike helmets have evolved with different materials and designs, they have become more comfortable and the benefits they provide are simply life saving. Today’s design fall into the following groups:
- Half Helmets
You also want to make sure that your helmet fits well. Of course, this is common knowledge in general. No matter what speaker system you use, if any, your helmet should be a perfect fit. After all, the helmet is what protects you the most in the event of a crash. A good helmet fit is one that fits snugly, doesn’t wiggle or jostle if you shake your hair, doesn’t impair visibility, and is comfortable to wear.
There is one common aspect across all the differing design options; the helmet will fit snugly to the user heads and is most likely coming into contact with the riders outer ears. Therefore, the importance of SnugsMoto products to further promote that experience of comfort we seek when we select a motorcycle helmet. Our investment in protecting our heads while riding is imperative, let’s remember to do the same with our ears for all the long-time benefits it provides to our hearing.
You can read more on SnugsMoto here. To summarise, here are some key earphone specifications:
- Battery Life: 3 hours music playback; 6 hours call time; 220 hours standby
- 3-button controller with microphone
- Nanocoated wax and moisture guard
- IPX3 water-resist
- Single Balanced armature 20-12kHz frequency response
- 12mm long, 5mm diameter micro-speaker
- 3D printed acoustic speaker housing
- Superflex foldable neckband fits any neck size or easy to store/wrap
- Charged via Micro USB (cable provided)
- Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity for instant connection
- Supported Bluetooth profiles: A2DP AVRCP V1.5, HFP V1.6, HSP V1.2
- 1 year warranty