Reviewed by: Mikko Nieminen // RRP: £65+p&p // Sizes: Custom fitted // Colours: Red, yellow, green, blue, blue/red, clear
I had been meaning to get custom earplugs made for years, but never quite got round to it. Something always got in the way. Then last year at Motorcycle Live in the NEC I bumped into the guys from Ultimate Ear and had a chance to get the impressions done there and then. It was never going to get any simpler than that so I jumped at the chance.
The process of getting the impressions done starts with an ear inspection to make sure there are no infections or build-up of wax that might have an impact on creating the impressions. If you get an all-clear at this point the next step is a little foam stopper inserted into your ear, followed by a good squeeze of silicone to fill the cavity. The silicone needs about five minutes to set. Once fully set, the impressions are removed and the ears checked one more time. The whole process only takes about 10 minutes. Then the impressions are sent to the Ultimate Ear lab where the earplugs are made.
After a few weeks (or sooner if you pay extra) the earplugs arrive in the post in a small carry case with cleaning instructions, a little tube of cream designed to help the plugs slip in the ears easier, and the original impressions in case you want to get more plugs made based on the same mould.
The ear defenders are made from soft ‘squidgy’ medical grade silicone. They provide roughly the same level of protection against noise as regular foam plugs (30dB), but the real edge they have over the disposable products is that they are moulded to the exact shape of your ears, so the seal should be perfect throughout your ride. And, of course, they will last for years, so there’s no need to keep buying new plugs all the time.
Although the plugs come with fitting instructions, the first time I tried them it took me quite a while to get them perfectly in place, but once they were in they felt great: the seal was perfect and didn’t break even when I moved my head around.
On the bike the plugs don’t really feel much different to a pair of disposable foam earplugs, but they stay in place better. The carry case that the plugs come in is handy for storing the plugs in while off the bike, so they don’t get lost. They are pricey so I don’t want to replace them too soon.
The plugs need a quick clean with a damp cloth after each time they’ve been worn, but this only takes a minute.
Overall I’m really impressed with the earplugs. As you’d expect from a custom product, the fit is perfect and I can concentrate on riding the bike, without worrying about the earplugs. In my opinion, these are well worth the investment.
For further info about the full Ultimate Ear range, see: www.ultimateear.com
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