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Electronic Earplugs. Has The Time Come?

6
September
2011
  Posted at 06:00:00 PM
  File under  Gadgets Safety
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France
click to see where USA is on the map

Riding motorcycle can be detrimental for your ears and hearing. Even the best motorcycle helmets let in a lot of noise, so much and constant, that you don't even realize it, but at the worst, you'll slowly become more and more deaf, and at the very least, you become tired after a long ride. Many bikers wear earplugs to fight this.

The basic earplug is a foam one that you find in airplanes and most chemists. They do the job, and are cheap. The next step up is a custom-made earplug, using a mold of your inner ear, an earplug is made that fits your ear perfectly. Some of these custom earplugs even have tiny loudspeakers fitted in them, allowing you to listen to music, or talk to your pillion.

But the next step in the technology ladder has shown itself. Full electric earplugs!

hd 15 earplug

hd 15 earplug
The Etymotic Research's HD-15 High-Definition. Open link in a new window are earplugs that have a small microphone, loudspeaker and a small processor built-in into the earplug.

The HD-15 is inserted (several foam pads are supplied) into your ear. Then when you are riding your motorcycle (or doing something else that has a loud noise), the built-in microphone "hears" the loud noise, and compensates by blocking it. The noise levels gets reduced by 15%.

Though the earplugs are not made for motorcycles (at least, it's not in their documentation), I suspect it should work well. The loud noise that is generated by your helmet, traffic and/or engine could well be blocked by this gadget.

hd 15 earplug
If you've been riding your motorcycle without hearing protection for a long time already, then you've probably already lost some of your hearing (Do I need to SAY IT LOUDER?). In that case the HD-15 comes in handy as well, since you can flick a switch on the unit, and it will amplify soft sounds (like a conversation) by up to 25%, but still protect you from loud noise.

All-in-all an interesting device that could be a good product for bikers who want to protect their hearing.

The only down-side???? The price! US$499 will get you a pair. But remember, once your hearing is gone, it can never be restored. But for 499 you can buy a lot of normal earplugs.

Click here for the HD-15 info page. Open link in a new window.

Via: Gizmag



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