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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 7/21/2005 9:38:36 AM EDT
I am toying with the idea of wearing earplugs on my next long distance trip. My theory is that the plugs will reduce fatigue due to the constant exposure to the wind and road noise of the vehicle. I have worn ears while a passenger before and found it helps, but being a passenger and being a driver do not necessarily compare. I am considering this now because I recently learned that some motorcyclists wear ear plugs. Does anyone know how effective this would be? Are there safety drawbacks and would they be offset by reduced fatigue? Can you get a ticket for wearing them? Would an officer mistake them for hearing aids? Has anyone here tried this? What are the interior noise levels of common vehicles at cruising speeds?

I will appreciate any insight.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 9:44:14 AM EDT
I would imagine an officer wouldn't be too happy if he had to keep saying "Roll down your window, Sir. Do you know how fast your were going?"

They put horns in cars for a reason.....

What if another driver tries to beep at you to warn you about something on the road ahead? How are you gonna hear it?
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 9:44:58 AM EDT
I don't know, but...

as a personal preference I like to hear what is happening around me.

And on a professional basis, I much prefer that you be able to hear me when I am behind you with my lights, siren and airhorn blasting you at 10 zillion decibels.

Get out of the MF'ing way!!!
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 9:48:45 AM EDT
It is illegal to wear earplugs or a headphone that covers both ears while driving a vehicle in California and I would imagine many other states. Something about being able to hear things going on around you I believe.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 9:49:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/21/2005 10:00:04 AM EDT by monkeyman]
I've worn earplugs driving before. Had an old Bronco with knobbie tires, no air conditioning and a soft top. You couldn't hear anything anyway when that thing got up to speed humming down the road.

I don't know of any law against it.in my state. Can't see it being much different than people who listen to music in their cars using in the ear headphones.

BTW: Do deaf people drive in California?
Do people drive with their car stereos on or drive luxury cars in California?
Do people talk on cell phones in their cars in Cali?

Go ahead and do it, just stay out of suck-ass california.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 9:50:03 AM EDT
Some states have laws against blocking both ears, mostly due to idiots wearing stereo headphones and cranking them up.

Not sure where earplugs would fit on the list.

You could always use a noise canceling headset but that would get you pulled over as well in some places as it's impossible to tell the difference from the cops point of view.

As a passenger on a long trip I'll usually use my Lightspeed ANC headset from my flying gear. Yeah, it makes me look like a total geek but it makes hours in the car as quiet as an afternoon in the library.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 9:53:00 AM EDT
When I roll the windows down, I wear them. Most people have good enough hearing that plugs won't drown out emergency sirens or normal speaking.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 9:56:11 AM EDT
I can usually hear loud noises and whatnot while wearing ear plugs anyway.

Can't be any worse than cranking up the stereo.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 9:58:52 AM EDT
I tried them for about an hour on a long trip and didn't like them. They made me feel isolated from the world and I consequently felt very drowsy. I guess I just need to hear the world around me to stay awake.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 10:10:39 AM EDT
I used to drive a convertible as my daily driver, and would always wear plugs to block the wind noise. I use the disposable foam kind that just take the edge off, but you can still hear with them in.

I always wear them when I am riding my motorcycle, because if I didn't I'd be deaf by now. If your car is that loud, then you need a better car.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 10:12:55 AM EDT
Noise fatigue is real. Try flying a noisy GA airplane for 10 hours straight with only a stop for fuel and you will know noise fatigue.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 10:30:40 AM EDT
Noise fatigue IS real.

I've worn plugs on long trips before, when I needed to be fresh after the trip, and it did help. I did not have that shagged out feeling quite as bad as usual.

You get over the isolation feeling after about half an hour.

It makes the trip more peaceful for sure.

Hearing sirens and horns is no problem--the normal ambient noise is blocked out, and you can acutally hear large differences in sound (like a siren) better than normal.

Just wear the foam plugs and nobody will notice.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 10:56:44 AM EDT
I always wear earplugs under my motorcycle helmet. I've never considered wearing them in the car before. I'm usually listening to the radio or something.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 10:57:41 AM EDT
I wear earplugs on a motorcycle whenever I ride. I use them on a top down Jeep on the expressway too. I have used them on long trips with the window down, and it works well for me. Many times I’ll put in just one in the window facing ear. This helps a lot and lets me hear conversation in the cabin better. I don’t know if I am violating any laws, nor do I care. I have precious little hearing left to loose.

FWIW I wear ear plugs while driving a tractor and even running a mower or chain saw. I am the family hearing protection Nazi.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 11:53:35 AM EDT
Have not driven a car with them, but I NEVER get on a dirt bike or my tractor without them. For some reason, a day's worth of tractor work does not seem to tire me out as much when I wear the plugs.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 1:21:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DzlBenz:
I always wear earplugs under my motorcycle helmet. I've never considered wearing them in the car before. I'm usually listening to the radio or something.



Same, same.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 11:53:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Schulze:
When I roll the windows down, I wear them. Most people have good enough hearing that plugs won't drown out emergency sirens or normal speaking.



That is not true. It is very difficult to hear a siren coming up behind you even with no radio on and the windows down. I have seen it demonstrated both in the police car and the car in front. Most people did not hear the siren until the police car was alond side you passing. We knew it was coming. We were listening and were told to key the radio mic when we heard the siren. It was amazing how difficult it is to hear the siren when driving normally.
Link Posted: 7/21/2005 11:53:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By monkeyman:
I've worn earplugs driving before. Had an old Bronco with knobbie tires, no air conditioning and a soft top. You couldn't hear anything anyway when that thing got up to speed humming down the road.

I don't know of any law against it.in my state. Can't see it being much different than people who listen to music in their cars using in the ear headphones.

BTW: Do deaf people drive in California?
Do people drive with their car stereos on or drive luxury cars in California?
Do people talk on cell phones in their cars in Cali?

Go ahead and do it, just stay out of suck-ass california.



That coming from someone from Michigan!

Ha Ha Ha Ha
Link Posted: 7/22/2005 12:37:45 PM EDT
magnum_99, I am happy to hear that you have tried this and found, as I hoped, that it reduces fatigue. I did not consider that the plugs would help in hearing horns and sirens by filtering out the background noise, which is great, nor did I expect any (temporary) isolation, but as a passenger sleep was usually the idea behind my wearing them.


I would remove them if pulled over, solving that problem.

Rather than hope that an officer that pulls alongside thinks they are hearing aids (my actual reason for mentioning that), would disguising the window-side plug as a hands-free cellphone earbud work better?

As far as road/wind noise my vehicle is only a couple years old and within average and I have spent weeks on the road with it. Also, two of my recent trips were in someone else's car and I ain't going to buy them a new one.

I usually listen to the radio in town, but tend to turn it off after a while on long drives, so that is not an issue for me.

Noise cancelling headsets sound great and I<GACK>forget that idea, too expensive for my needs.


Oh yeah, since someone mentioned it...what's the point of using a Walkman/Ipod while driving? Don't they have a stereo in their vehicle? I have seen people in new, nice cars doing this and been stumped about why.


Thanks for eveyone's comments.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 2:54:27 PM EDT
I have been haphazardly testing this idea for the last 2 months and I like it. I have not been on any real trips, but have tried them in traffic while commuting, during freeway cruising up to an hour or two, and on a couple hundred yards of gravel road/driveway.

On pavement up to 95mph the plugs cut the wind noise to practically nil and reduced the road noise of my pickup and off pavement they really cut the vibration noise from washboarding. I haven't noticed any reduction in my ability to drive in traffic. Plugs with horns, sirens, and being pulled over have not been an issue yet; I did notice that horns and sirens, without plugs and while stopped and no radio, are surprisingly difficult to hear, so I speculate that plugs will not make any difference at speed.

The only real problem I've had is initially underestimating my speed by 5-10mph. Isolation has been very mild and temporary for me and when I was feeling drowsy pulling the plugs gave me less than another 10 minutes before I had to get off the road. Getting a clear sight of another driver's ear is quite difficult, even in stop-and-go traffic. I will probably end up ordering some custom clear or skin-tone earplugs (www.earinc.com/p1-nonelectronic-chameleon.php) to keep in the truck.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 3:01:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sum-rifle:

Originally Posted By monkeyman:
I've worn earplugs driving before. Had an old Bronco with knobbie tires, no air conditioning and a soft top. You couldn't hear anything anyway when that thing got up to speed humming down the road.

I don't know of any law against it.in my state. Can't see it being much different than people who listen to music in their cars using in the ear headphones.

BTW: Do deaf people drive in California?
Do people drive with their car stereos on or drive luxury cars in California?
Do people talk on cell phones in their cars in Cali?

Go ahead and do it, just stay out of suck-ass california.



That coming from someone from Michigan!

Ha Ha Ha Ha



I am sure that quite a few people put preserving their hearing in front of officers convenience.....
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 3:19:08 PM EDT

Noise fatigue IS real.


I wear them motorcycling or a ragtop jeep on the interstate. I can hear fine what's going on around me, but I don't get worn out.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 3:25:13 PM EDT
For convertibles and motorcycles on long trips, it is a must.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 3:31:14 PM EDT
Absolutely you should wear them. My car is very noisy on road trips (particularly highway droning) and after about 2 hours it's very exhausting to drive. Same with airplanes, noise is BAD for you, no joke.

Personally I'd use earplugs since they're a lot more discreet than a noise cancelling headset. No one will likely notice anyway and you can quickly pop them out if you're pulled over.

It figures that dumbass Cali would have a law against it.

What the hell is the difference between earplugs or buying a very expensive car which is designed to eliminate external noises?

Should there be a statutory limit on how much noise can be blocked from the outside world? Would that make everyone feel safer. Good Lord.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 3:33:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sum-rifle:
It is illegal to wear earplugs or a headphone that covers both ears while driving a vehicle in California and I would imagine many other states. Something about being able to hear things going on around you I believe.



sum-rifle go check the regs in the CVC. You can wear custom moulded earplugs in Kali.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 3:37:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Airwolf:
Some states have laws against blocking both ears, mostly due to idiots wearing stereo headphones and cranking them up.

Not sure where earplugs would fit on the list.

You could always use a noise canceling headset but that would get you pulled over as well in some places as it's impossible to tell the difference from the cops point of view.

As a passenger on a long trip I'll usually use my Lightspeed ANC headset from my flying gear. Yeah, it makes me look like a total geek but it makes hours in the car as quiet as an afternoon in the library.



I flew into Mountain Home AFB for an airshow last week. During the Thunderbird's demo I wore my ANR headset. I always regret not having ears during an airshow. This time I improvised.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 3:43:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sum-rifle:
It is illegal to wear earplugs or a headphone that covers both ears while driving a vehicle in California and I would imagine many other states. Something about being able to hear things going on around you I believe.



Check sub section (d)


27400. A person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, or earplugs in, both ears. This prohibition does not apply to any of the following:

(a) A person operating authorized emergency vehicles, as defined in Section 165.

(b) A person engaged in the operation of either special construction equipment or equipment for use in the maintenance of any highway.

(c) A person engaged in the operation of refuse collection equipment who is wearing a safety headset or safety earplugs.

(d) A person wearing personal hearing protectors in the form of earplugs or molds that are specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels. The plugs or molds shall be designed in a manner so as to not inhibit the wearer's ability to hear a siren or horn from an emergency vehicle or a horn from another motor vehicle.

(e) A person using a prosthetic device that aids the hard of hearing.

Amended Sec. 45, Ch. 594, Stats. 2003. Effective January 1, 2004.

Link Posted: 9/25/2005 4:03:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sum-rifle:

Originally Posted By Schulze:
When I roll the windows down, I wear them. Most people have good enough hearing that plugs won't drown out emergency sirens or normal speaking.



That is not true. It is very difficult to hear a siren coming up behind you even with no radio on and the windows down. I have seen it demonstrated both in the police car and the car in front. Most people did not hear the siren until the police car was alond side you passing. We knew it was coming. We were listening and were told to key the radio mic when we heard the siren. It was amazing how difficult it is to hear the siren when driving normally.




I can attest to that. That is just one of many reasons why you should scan your mirrors periodically. Any time I have ever had an emergency vehicle come up behind me, I didn't hear it, instead I caught it in the rearview mirror and then got over.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 4:08:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/25/2005 4:09:15 PM EDT by Misery]
Never thought about noise fatigue before. Maybe that explains why I'm always sleepy on the computer. I find the fans on my .......
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 4:17:08 PM EDT
Noise fatigue is real and dangerous. I have worn plugs driving before, and esp when travelling on an airliner. My custom earpluhs/headsets for flying are awesome, so I hear no drone.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 4:19:15 PM EDT
Question: what do deaf people do? They ARE allowed to drive, no?
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 4:49:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Fast351:
Question: what do deaf people do? They ARE allowed to drive, no?



They can't get a CDL.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 5:43:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By happycynic:
They made me feel isolated from the world and I consequently felt very drowsy.



Lucky, most people have to pay $25 per 1/8 ounce for that!
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