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Old 02-22-2011, 06:46 PM   #1
xcgates
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Question Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

I commute on my motorcycles, heck, my Ducati is my grocery-getter!

Pretty much every time I go anywhere, I use earplugs, and have long used the same pair until they don't *feel* right. Be that they get crap on them, they aren't firm enough, whatever. So at a minimum, if I didn't reuse them at all, I'd go through a minimum of 2 pairs a day.

I will normally use one pair for a week of commuting (approx), storing them in a small plastic box that I got with some box of plugs a while back.

As I threw out a rather disgusting pair this morning, I was wondering if this practice is bad? I don't (generally) re-use them if they fall on the ground, or get vehicle/road crud on them.

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Old 02-22-2011, 06:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

I reuse them until they get soiled.
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

Use them until they don't work....
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

I've washed them with hair shampoo and then rinsed them well, and they come out like new.
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

Until they gross me out.

I wouldn't share them, now that I think about it.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

Considering I bought a box of 500 pairs for something like $25 dollars, I don't think I'm going to go to the effort of washing them, but it's good to know others do the same thing I do.

I really just thought about it, because the plugs were truly on the nasty side of the scale this morning. Kinda made me think a bit.

@Jack Olsen, what do you mean share? I don't think I'd ever want to share plugs that had been in someone else's ear. It is kind of like sweaty workout clothes, I don't mind putting my sweat-soaked warmups back on, but I'm the biggest wimp about touching other people's sweaty clothes.

Of course I have extra plugs littering each bike, my car, work, garage, living room, etc. That is what I love about the ones that come prepackaged in plastic, you can just stash them everywhere.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

Just a thought, if the bike is so loud that you need earplugs inside a helmet, maybe earplugs aren't the correct solution...
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

My bike is a Honda ST1100 that is quieter than most sedans. However, I often wear ear plugs to quiet out the wind noise. Stick your head out the window of your car at 70 mph and see how loud it is.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

The main thing is to wear them. You never get your hearing back once you loose it.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

why not spend a little money and invest in a few pairs of custom molded ones? they are easier to clean, more comfortable, and work better.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:37 PM   #11
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotek View Post
Just a thought, if the bike is so loud that you need earplugs inside a helmet, maybe earplugs aren't the correct solution...
Not the point of ear plugs. Ear plugs are to soften the wind noise. You actually hear the bike and surroundings better when you have plugs in. The wind noise will make you deaf, even with a full face helmet on.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:44 PM   #12
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

They call them disposable for a reason. Had a dozer operator at work who use to pop the same pair in and out all day long. He ended up with an ear infection that doctors said was caused from rolling and inserting them with dirty hands. He ended up missing a week of work. You can buy a lot of earplugs for a weeks wages. Toss them, or at least wash after you wipe and you should be ok........
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

I reuse mine a number of times but yeah, I try not to roll them with dirty hands. Not into filling my ears with crud - they do that well enough on their own.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by metal1313 View Post
why not spend a little money and invest in a few pairs of custom molded ones? they are easier to clean, more comfortable, and work better.
+1 my racing coach had a pair of custom ones mainly because he use to race skip barber and SCCA and he swore by them except for the day he lost a sound filter for one
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:02 PM   #15
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

I always wear them when riding my motorcycle. As mentioned above, even with a helmet they cut the wind noise. It can really wear you out after a long day if you don't wear them. Plus, hearing doesn't come back...I have a partial hearing loss as it is, I don't want to lose any more.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:03 PM   #16
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

Bike noise: About the only way I hear the bike at speed is if I duck below airstream behind the windshield. And then pretty much only if I'm at greater than 1/2 throttle, which I really shouldn't be doing a whole lot of. To add to that, I'm thinking of getting a lower windshield after I get another seat, because if I stand up with my butt about 2 inches off the seat, my head enters clean air, and the noise drops significantly.

And as much as I play at being a hardworking man, I sit at a computer most of the day, so unless I break down on the side of the road, I don't normally have greasy/gritty hands. And even though I don't think it's doing much, I use that earwax remover from time to time. Can't hurt, right?

And somewhere I do have the number of a custom earplug maker here in San Antonio. Picked up his number from a couple guys at a shotgun competition, but didn't get to him before he left. (I was scoring)

Yes, earplugs cut down drastically on the fatigue when you are riding all day long, especially. Even makes a difference around town.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:29 PM   #17
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

last year i had a pair of howard leight earplugs, they lasted daily use on the bike for the better part of 4 months.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:45 PM   #18
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

I'll use them till I feel they are too dirty. Then I use a new pair, I bought a 10 pack last year and still have some.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:56 PM   #19
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

I used to work in the woods running saws all day. I always just put them in my pants pocket and throw all the clothes in the washer. It worked on a daily basis for 5 years and I still wash them that way, just less often now.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:08 PM   #20
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Default Re: Reuse disposable foam earplugs?

Okay, now some of you have me thinking, what would be a good thing to toss the plugs in to the laundry? Do they have small mesh laundry bags? I have a couple large ones that I've used when I use mass laundry facilities.

Easier to just use handsoap, a sink, and some old fashioned effort?
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In order of acquisition: '85 Kawi ZN700, '99 Subie Legacy Outback, '07 Ducati ST3, '79 Suzuki GS850G
In order of use: Duc, Kawi, ..., ..., Subie (where did the keys to the Subie go???)

Beer is an acquired taste. You should acquire the taste of the cheap stuff.

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