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Any way to block that constant car noise?

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Any way to block that constant car noise?

Old 11-03-04, 06:58 PM
  #1  
vrkelley
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I'm realizing that the stress from 4 lanes of cars wizing by at 40mph is mostly just the noise alone. There's about a 5mil section of road that's most annoying an the alternative is to go several miles of of the way on a pot-hole ridden road.

Anyone know of a helmet that blocks the car noise yet vents somewhat for winter?? Motocycle helmet is probably too heavy.
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Old 11-03-04, 07:10 PM
  #2  
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You could try riding routes with less traffic. I suppose you could use headphones or earplugs but I'm not sure that blocking out the noise is a good idea. I think that's one of the senses you would most likely want to use to aide in being safe.
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Old 11-03-04, 08:30 PM
  #3  
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This one looks OK...but it's 3 honk'n lbs and ventilation only comes through the front.

http://www.webbikeworld.com/r2/motor...et/bell-mag-8/
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Old 11-03-04, 11:26 PM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by vrkelley
I'm realizing that the stress from 4 lanes of cars wizing by at 40mph is mostly just the noise alone. There's about a 5mil section of road that's most annoying an the alternative is to go several miles of of the way on a pot-hole ridden road.

Anyone know of a helmet that blocks the car noise yet vents somewhat for winter?? Motocycle helmet is probably too heavy.
I ride with a guy that often puts cotton in his ears to dampen wind-noise on long road-rides. You might try that. You'd still be able to hear the cars, but it might dampen it enough to make it somewhat less annoying...

-Trevor
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Old 11-04-04, 05:10 AM
  #5  
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Foam earplugs are great for wind noise. Helmets won't block it, and if you look, most your serious motorcycle riders will be wearing earplugs inside the helmet. Once you kill the wind noise, you can actually hear everything else.
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Old 11-04-04, 06:37 AM
  #6  
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Huh, learn something new everyday. I have a dozen of these things just incase I have an overnight guest that snoring might bother. Since I haven't had an over night guest in some time, I may as well use them, cause the wind noise, man.
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Old 11-04-04, 07:25 AM
  #7  
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I have a never-ending supply at those from work - nice 3M ones with strings so that you can take one out and not lose it if you have to hear something. I'll have to try that this morning.
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Old 11-04-04, 08:00 AM
  #8  
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Three suggestions:

1. A lower traffic route.
2. Noise cancelling headphones. There are some that use earbuds now and you don't have to plug them into a radio to get the noise reduction.
3. Earplugs.
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Old 11-04-04, 08:17 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by vrkelley
This one looks OK...but it's 3 honk'n lbs and ventilation only comes through the front.

http://www.webbikeworld.com/r2/motor...et/bell-mag-8/

Be careful of wearing a motorcycle helmet on a bicycle - some of those helmets are designed for a less crouched over position than what most cyclists have, so when you ride a bicycle with them, the back can press uncomfortably against your neck. A friend of mine actually passed out while riding her bicycle with a motorcycle helmet. She ascribed this to the pressure-on-neck issue, but it could be that she was just overheated. Anyway, keep this in mind.
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Old 11-04-04, 09:22 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by vrkelley
I'm realizing that the stress from 4 lanes of cars wizing by at 40mph is mostly just the noise alone. There's about a 5mil section of road that's most annoying an the alternative is to go several miles of of the way on a pot-hole ridden road.

Anyone know of a helmet that blocks the car noise yet vents somewhat for winter?? Motocycle helmet is probably too heavy.
I ride a 4mi stretch on my commute with a 7 lane road (3 each way and a middle suicide lane). Speed limit is 45-50mph, cars generally go up to 55-60mph and during rush hour there is constant traffic at that speed.

I note this as I have never had a problem with the noise, if anything it is comforting in the sense that I can tell if there is a big truck, school bus or jacked up 4WD vehicle with off road tires on it.

Are you sure it is the noise that is the stress factor?

Al
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Old 11-04-04, 01:06 PM
  #11  
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I used to drive a jacked up 4x4 trail truck that had no a/c and I would use those foam earplugs to knock the wind/tire noise down when driving to more distant trails. They were FANTASTIC! ... I would arrive noticably less fatigued and more alert. I would be worried about losing early warning notification from a bike saftey standpoint though. I guess it wouldn't be any worse than those that listen to music on headphones while riding though. (I wouldn't do that either)
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Old 11-04-04, 03:16 PM
  #12  
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I started wearing earplugs last month, mainly for wind noise. I have tinnitus and wanted to protect my hearing as much as I could. The wind was one of the last noisy area to eliminate, so I gave it a shot and I really like wearing them on my bicycle. I hear what I need to, can communicate with others and if someone honks or I pass a train (which I often do) I will not go deaf or be startled. If I hop on for a quick ride now I wonder why it is so loud.

I use E-A-Rsoft style earplugs. I find that they hold up the best to multiple uses. They can be purchased in bulk fairly inexpensively, 200 pairs for $35-45. Walgreens sells a similar style earplug called the Super Hearo's that come in a 10(?) pack. They work very well and last a long time.

I also ride a motorcycle and use them with a full face helmet.

The benefit of protecting my hearing vs losing my hearing is worth the inconvenience. I would not do it if I did not feel comfortable on the road.
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Old 11-04-04, 06:00 PM
  #13  
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My vote if for foam earplugs. It blocks out enough noise, but not so much that you can't hear what's going on around you.
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Old 12-14-04, 05:45 PM
  #14  
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The ear plugs are blocking about 25 dcbs but it doesn't seem enough, I going to try ear muffs instead
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Old 12-14-04, 06:32 PM
  #15  
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25 dbA is a LOT of attentuation for being on a bike...
I suggest getting something like the 180's, they block wind and dampen a lot of that rumbling noise from it.
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Old 12-14-04, 06:40 PM
  #16  
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I love me some headphones.

Frankly, I'm of the opinion that hearing just isn't that useful a sense on my commute. Overtaking collisions are a small proportion of all car-bike collisions which are themselves a small proportion of all cycling accidents. At least here, there's pretty much always going to be car noise and it's pretty hard to tell the difference between the car that's going to run me down and the car that's just following as any vehicle would.

On the plus side, it blocks out the intimidating sound of the hyped up heavy-duty truck or the moron who thinks they're going to honk me out of their way. I have a good time and the noise cancellation keeps me from making new friends at stop lights. Consequently I would posit that it may actually make me safer to not be able to hear.

John Allen has an interesting take on the subject.

Last edited by bostontrevor; 12-14-04 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 12-14-04, 07:01 PM
  #17  
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Ramp it up to 760 mph. Let them eat sonic boom.
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Old 12-14-04, 08:50 PM
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My suggestions:

Learn to enjoy the noise. Mind over matter, my friend.
Learn to ride faster - it will be over sooner.
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Old 12-14-04, 09:27 PM
  #19  
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http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er20.asp

I used these when hanging out in clubs waiting to dj and they work superb. I had my pair for over a year (stopped using them a while ago though). Used them almost every other night while standing next to speaker stacks taller than me. They let me go home without going deaf and and they really do not stop you from hearing things like friends. I could have conversations fine, if not a little louder but no screaming to hear one another like with the foamy orange ones. Consider these as the 20db drop in noise may be enough to stop fatiguing your ears.

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Old 12-15-04, 01:09 AM
  #20  
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I too have started using ear plugs while bicycle commuting. The traffic noise can be quite high. I have tinnitus, and a recent hearing test showed significant hearing loss in the very high frequencies. I started thinking about where I was exposed, and since I am in the safety profession, I have no excuse not to use hearing protection.

Does noise cause stress? Yes, certainly, definately. Studies have shown this, and a recent bicycle ride once again showed it to me. I took my van for servicing, and dropped it off at the shop. I then faced a five mile bike ride to work, along a busy, four-lane road. In places there were no bike lanes either. At mile two I started feeling the acid stomach. By mile four, I was uncomfortable enough to look for relief, and a half mile further stopped by a drug store for some TUMS. The next day, though it was raining, I wore hearing protection, and did not have stomach problems.

I use the ear plugs provided by work (E-A-R plugs, I believe). They have a very good NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) of somewhere around 20 dBA. This is a huge reduction, and as people above mentioned, will help a lot with the startle reflex. The higher frequencies, which are most damaging to the inner ear's hearing mechanism, are filtered out better than the lower frequencies. This is why we can still hear important sounds, and speech, while not damaging our ears when wearing hearing protection.

Muffs, believe it or not, do not have as good an NRR as good-fitting ear plugs do. Muffs tend to leak noise, especially if you wear glasses. The best with glasses have a fluid-filled padding.

I have not tried noise-cancelling muffs or phones yet, but they sound promising.

But the ear plugs are easy to use, and provide excellent reductions of noise exposure. I recently had my plugs in, on my trip home, when I heard my cell phone ring. I was able to answer it and carry on a conversation with my wife even with the ear plugs in place.

I would recommend commuters in busy areas with longer commutes begin using ear plugs, as they will reduce the off-the-job exposures to noise. Noise exposure is cumulative, and hearing loss is a huge problem in the modern world. Auto drivers are insulated by the enclosure provided by their vehicle from the noise the vehicles produce. We are not. Also, since a vehicle is in the flow of the traffic, they remain at a distance from most other vehicles. But those vehicles travel within a few feet of us as bicycle commuters. This happens continually, and because of their proximity, the noise can be quite high (95+ decibels). Add studded tires, and the road noise can cause significant stress, not only on the inner ear, but also on the overall body.

Hearing protection can help the bicycle commuter preserve his/her hearing for the rest of our lives. Hearing is under-rated by our society, and hearing loss is more devistating than blindness to people experiencing these disabilities. Nobody knows that a person is deaf, but they know and take into account that a person is blind. We need to do all we can to preserve our hearing.

John

Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 12-15-04 at 01:13 AM. Reason: Add information
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Old 12-15-04, 10:49 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by slvoid
25 dbA is a LOT of attentuation for being on a bike...
I suggest getting something like the 180's, they block wind and dampen a lot of that rumbling noise from it.
You are probably right. I'm using BlendingNoise's earplugs. But after reading up on the subject, these plugs get worn out over time. It's probably time to replace them.

Last edited by vrkelley; 12-15-04 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 12-15-04, 02:40 PM
  #22  
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I use a cheap am/fm radio attached to my shirt. It plays out loud, and I can turn it up as loud as I need, and the traffic noise is not a problem when I have something pleasant to listen to. I would be concerned about earplugs that they would block noise i need to hear (unusual things coming up behind me...) but the out loud radio is 1)legal and 2)helpful.
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Old 12-18-04, 11:24 AM
  #23  
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Jessica, just know that you are in all probability damaging your hearing. While the music makes the other noise more tolerable, it is also noise, and turning it up to greater than the traffic noise means you are most likely subjecting your ears to pretty high noise levels. It would not hurt to get your hearing checked by taking an audiogram at your doctor's office. Once lost, hearing cannot be regained. But there are what is called "temporary threshold shifts" that, with rest, will allow hearing to come back. Basically, we have little cells with hairs in our inner ear, and those hairs can be bent down to where they will not register noise. If left alone, they can straighten out over time. But if the hearing loss is permanent, it means that these hairs have been broken off, and that is permanent.

It's like walking on a lawn. A few times, and the grass simply bends down. But if hundreds of people walk the same path, the grass is trampled and breaks, and the pathway becomes dirt, not grass.

Your solution is probably not in your best long-range interests for your health here. You could be loosing your hearing with this radio blasting out the noise of the roadway.

John
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Old 12-18-04, 08:30 PM
  #24  
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The new ear plugs *plus* a balaclavia really help. It's not perfect but I arrive less frazzeled. Thanks everyone...I'm good until summer...then will have to find some other solution.
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Old 12-18-04, 11:57 PM
  #25  
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Ummm.... use ear plugs... use ear buds for music... use ear plugs WITH balaclava...

I am going to bookmark this thread for the next person who fronts up with a thread: "It's not safe to ride and listen to music"

I expect all of you to post a reply, especially when all the do-gooders have had their go.
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