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Etymotic ear budsJoanne Elves/Joanne Elves

  • Etymotic ER20XS Motorsports Earplugs
  • Available at:
  • Price: $26.95

Being exposed to 85–90 dB for up to eight hours a day is within safe hearing limits in Canada but riding on the back of a motorcycle or hanging out at a drag race can exceed the safe level. Without protection, those little sensory hair cells in your ear can be permanently damaged, to the point of being plagued by that constant ring of tinnitus.

Earplugs come in a few different levels of protection. The cheap squishy foam muffles sound and custom fit earplugs moulded by professionals can be costly. In the middle is a great solution – the Etymotic ER20XS Motorsports Earplugs.

The set, which looks like a simplistic three-tiered fir tree design, reduces sound across all frequencies evenly by 20 dB. It comes in a pack of three different-sized tips, a neck cord and a case. Even under a helmet, they sit comfortable in the ear.

Be warned, however, that if both earplugs are plugged in, you could be liable to a heavy fine. Whether on a bike or piloting the car, wearing two plugs is deemed dangerous in many jurisdictions because your awareness is reduced. The RCMP in British Columbia tweeted last year “that you may only drive with one ear bud in.” If caught with two buds in, the fine is $368 plus four demerit points. That law applies to the driver, not the passenger.

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