Friday, May 9, 2008


I've been wearing earplugs while riding and racing since the late 80s. (I also wear them when flying and sometimes when sleeping in hotels.) But the giro really puts some extra stress on the earplugs. I end up wearing them much of the day and then sometimes all night in the hotel! The problem is, the foam earplugs really seam to push out on your ear canal, and it can actually really hurt when you pull them out after a couple days of use. One solution I have found is to use smaller diameter ear plugs. You can get a sample kit of cheap disposable foam plugs of all different sizes from a place called the earplug store. I found the Mack's "Safe Sound Jr." to work best for me. They are soft and smaller diameter than most.
But this year, I've decided to try some custom made earplugs. Technically, they do not offer the same sound reduction as the disposable foam plugs, because the are made of a more solid silicone material. But they are cast to the shape of your ear and thus I hope will not be trying to expand my ear canal for hours like the foam ones do!
I made an appointment with Linda at EarPlugs USA. She made a set for myself and for Lorraine very quickly and professionally. She seems to be a pro at this, and that made us both more comfortable with the experience. In short, she puts a tiny cotton ball in your ear as a safeguard to prevent and of the silicone from going to far into your ear, and then fills your ear with silicone goop. You wait a bit while it hardens. Then she removes the plug and and the cotton ball. She does some cleanup work to the plug and you can get the plugs later. I was really happy with the attention and work Linda did to get our earplugs right.
I'll report on how they worked after the giro!

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