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Old 07-12-09, 07:41 AM   #1
seawind161
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Reducing Wind Noise?

While I was riding yesterday, I got to thinking about wind noise and how it interferes with hearing the rest of the ambient sounds.

It would seem to be pretty simple to reduce it- just holding a finger vertically in front of your ear and in contact with your head makes a dramatic improvement.

I have found references to a product that attaches to the helmet strap, but it apparently is no longer available, so I'm thinking about fabricating something simple out of minicell foam.

If anyone has experimented along these lines, I'd love to hear what you came up with- save me some R&D!

Thanks!
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Old 07-12-09, 08:01 AM   #2
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My wrap-around sunglasses reduce a lot of the noise.
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Old 07-12-09, 09:47 AM   #3
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listening to music cancels out the wind noise, and it lets me hear the natural environment... provided you keep the volume on low.

the truth is the puffy muff part of the headset cancels out the wind noise, just like when the reporters uses those huge mic to talk on the street to cancel the wind blowing into the mic.
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Old 07-12-09, 10:01 AM   #4
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Personally, I have never found the wind noise distracting or annoying. Good luck with your research though.
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Old 07-12-09, 11:09 AM   #5
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The most peaceful rides I ever have are when I have sound-isolating earphones, which cut out almost all the wind noise and let me listen to my iPod at low volumes.

I haven't tried the Slipstreamz wind deflector/earphone holders, but I happened upon a commuter who was wearing them, and he had great praise for them even without using them for music.

It looks like they're still available here:
http://www.macfriends.com/theslip.aspx

Three-year-old NY Times article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/02/te...rssnyt&emc=rss

Also found this writeup while looking for them:
http://www.bikexprt.com/bicycle/hearing.htm
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Old 07-12-09, 11:48 AM   #6
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Slipstreamz, which come from South Africa, is having problems filling orders due to a problem with the factory in China. Contact them before plunking down any money. Still waiting on mine.
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Old 07-12-09, 12:30 PM   #7
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I've worked on a design of my own, but I'm glad this product has come out, will have to try it.

For my own design I started with a water polo head/ear cover as a base on which to build. Water polo head covers use a nylon mesh (covering most of your head) on which is mounted two plastic cups which protect your ears from the impact of a water polo ball. You can modify these things to your hearts content and come up with your own design. Just wear your bike helmet over your creation.

Another element you could add to the design is a section of parabolic dish covering each ear, facing backwards (dish could be salvaged from a lamp or speaker etc). This would protect from the onrush of wind from the front, while simultaneously reflecting noise from behind your (such as cars, other riders, etc.)

Also think about the ears of animals, such as the Canadian lynx, which have hairs covering the edges of the ears, as the edges create turbulence hence noise, and the hairs breaks up the turbulence. This element does not appear to be present in the Slip. Perhaps the designers thought it too silly for the market, heh, and probably right.

Also check out the patent database at www.uspto.gov, as I recall finding perhaps a dozen related patents from decades past, all expired.

Have fun!

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Old 07-12-09, 04:23 PM   #8
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I hope all you folks who ride while listening to your iPod are around next week after that Toyota Prius (that you can't hear) pulls up REALLY CLOSE to you.

No earbuds or headphones for me. I want to know what's coming up behind me and what's near by.
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Old 07-12-09, 04:26 PM   #9
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I hope all you folks who ride while listening to your iPod are around next week after that Toyota Prius that you can't hear pulls up REALLY close to you.


I've been standing on the corner and still get surprised by hybrid SUVs passing by if I'm looking the other way...
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Old 07-12-09, 06:11 PM   #10
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Also think about the ears of animals, such as the Canadian lynx, which have hairs covering the edges of the ears, as the edges create turbulence hence noise, and the hairs breaks up the turbulence. This element does not appear to be present in the Slip. Perhaps the designers thought it too silly for the market, heh, and probably right.
So all that hair growing in and out of my ears serves a purpose?
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Old 07-12-09, 06:24 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the ideas so far.

I'm really looking for simplicity here, and durability, and a low dork factor.

Having noticed that holding a finger up in front of my ear cuts the noise dramatically, I cut and shaped a couple of finger-sized pieces of minicell and taped them to the forward strap of my helmet. Pretty low-key, appearance-wise, but I don't know if the placement will be optimal.

Didn't get a chance to try them today, but I'll try them tomorrow and post again.
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Old 07-12-09, 06:32 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the ideas so far.

I'm really looking for simplicity here, and durability, and a low dork factor.

Having noticed that holding a finger up in front of my ear cuts the noise dramatically, I cut and shaped a couple of finger-sized pieces of minicell and taped them to the forward strap of my helmet. Pretty low-key, appearance-wise, but I don't know if the placement will be optimal.

Didn't get a chance to try them today, but I'll try them tomorrow and post again.
Are you creating aerodynamic ears?
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Old 07-12-09, 06:41 PM   #13
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Are you creating aerodynamic ears?
No, at least I don't think so. Just trying to reduce wind noise. Not that I'm fast enough to create a lot of noise, but from headwinds mostly. I ride a lot in rural areas and love the birdsongs and other ambient sounds.
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Old 07-12-09, 06:48 PM   #14
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Oh, I thought you're placing something on the side of your head and directly in front of your ears so that the air will pass over your earlobes instead of hitting your earlobes and adding to the wind noise.

Or at least that's what it sounded like.
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Old 07-12-09, 06:55 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the ideas so far.

I'm really looking for simplicity here. . . . .
A head band is simplicity.

But if you want something effective and subtle and that does all your describe, it will take a heck of a lot of complexity to arrive at simplicity.

Why? Because of materials, the fastening system, the complicated ergonomics, and the interference with other components for starters.

That plus the super-niche nature of this application probably explains why there is no super effective commerical product at this time. Plus the dork factor.
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Old 07-12-09, 06:57 PM   #16
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I hope all you folks who ride while listening to your iPod are around next week after that Toyota Prius (that you can't hear) pulls up REALLY CLOSE to you.
Ehhh excuse me, but wouldn't those of us who depend on our eyes, and not our ears to identify oncoming traffic, have a distinct advantage when and if electrics become prevalent?

You anti-ipod-nazi's gotta learn some basic logic!
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Old 07-12-09, 07:01 PM   #17
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Oh, I thought you're placing something on the side of your head and directly in front of your ears so that the air will pass over your earlobes instead of hitting your earlobes and adding to the wind noise.

Or at least that's what it sounded like.
Yep, that's pretty much what I'm going to try. Didn't think of it as aerodynamics, but I suppose it would be, to a degree. Trying to get a more laminar flow across the ear, less turbulence as someone said earlier, so less noise.
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Old 07-12-09, 07:10 PM   #18
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A head band is simplicity.

But if you want something effective and subtle and that does all your describe, it will take a heck of a lot of complexity to arrive at simplicity.

Why? Because of materials, the fastening system, the complicated ergonomics, and the interference with other components for starters.

That plus the super-niche nature of this application probably explains why there is no super effective commerical product at this time. Plus the dork factor.
I wish it were as simple as a headband, but it was 90 degrees here today and will be warmer the rest of the week/month/season- pretty much rules out a headband, unless you want to pipe refrigerant through it, but then there's that simplicity thing again...

I'm not convinced that it needs a lot of complexity, though. Merely holding a finger in front of the ear in contact with the head provides a significant noise reduction. Should be some way to mimic that effect.

At any rate, it's not a big deal, but it does give me something to fiddle with when the sun goes down...
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Old 07-12-09, 07:16 PM   #19
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Your finger is a complicated shape, and even it has properties that take a fair hump of work to replicate.
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Old 07-12-09, 07:26 PM   #20
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Your finger is a complicated shape, and it has properties that are take a fair hump of work to replicate.
But it was the first thing I tried, and it worked! What're the odds?

I'm betting placement will be at least as critical as shape though, and harder to solve.

As it is, I'm out a dime's worth of minicell and a foot of electrical tape. And if it doesn't work out, well, no harm, no foul.

Full report to follow...
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Old 07-12-09, 08:23 PM   #21
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Full report to follow...
Great, I look forward to the results!

Just watch out for turbulence around regular geometric shapes and trailing edges. Dealing with trailing edges is where the dork factor begins to creep in -- good luck!
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Old 07-13-09, 02:57 PM   #22
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Have you tried putting your helmet straps under your sunglass arms? That made a nice difference in my case, (though my 80's Oakleys do fit a little closer than these new-fangled jobbies they got nowadays.)
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Old 07-13-09, 06:19 PM   #23
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How about foam earplugs? Think of them as sunglasses for your ears.
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Old 07-13-09, 06:29 PM   #24
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How about foam earplugs? Think of them as sunglasses for your ears.
Nooo, no no no no.... Those are good for NASCAR, outdoor firing ranges, and heavy industrial work that doesn't also require soundproofing headphones. You'll hear your brain jiggling around in your head during bumps, but not much else. You need to hear some fidelity, notably sounds in the "s" range, and foam plugs eliminate them almost completely. Trust me on this...

If earplugs are desired, I'd recommend Etymotics over anything else.

http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er20.aspx
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