Hi All. I have 15 years riding experience. I'd say that during 14 of those years or more, I have used IEM's. I have taken 3 MSF courses, always wear full gear, and am extremely safety conscious. Motorcycle riding was my choice after learning about the risks, how to statistically reduce those risks, and weighing those with my riding enjoyment. I usually take long rides and only commute in town out of necessity, due to what I feel is increased risk of getting hurt. Therefore, my riding is normally on the highway, mountain roads, and necessarily cruising through small towns on the way to another open road. I write this to give you a feel for my philosophy about riding safety.
That being said, it is almost universally recommended, by people who are in the know, to wear hearing protection while riding. This is regardless of helmet and motorcycle type. Reason being, wind noise, even at speeds as low as 20-30 MPH, can damage your hearing. Again, this is regardless of helmet and motorcycle type. Therefore, practically speaking, you mostly can't hear your environment while you're riding, WHETHER OR NOT YOU'RE WARING HEARING PROTECTION. I personally always ride with hearing protection. A well known acronym by motorcyclists, ATGATT, stands for "All The Gear All The Time" and is commonly used while talking about motorcycle risk management and safety. For me, ATGATT includes hearing protection.
Since you can't hear your environment anyway, why not listen to some music while it's safe?
I personally believe that INFREQUENTLY, it IS possible to be able to hear a useful warning. Examples are screeching tires, a horn, siren, and other sounds. These are ONLY audible while stopped or at slow speeds, when wind noise is lower. While cruising through towns, I normally turn off my music for this reason.
Personally, I use an Autocom system which senses and adapts the volume to match ambient noise. The system also allows for me to listen to music, GPS navigation prompts, and have a conversation with my passenger or other motorcycle riders I am riding with, via GMRS or CB radio. I prefer IEMs with maximum sound isolation, minimizing the need to increase volume levels to compensate for ambient noise.
I have full control over the volume of my devices at all times, similar to when driving a car. As when you are in a car, you choose the appropriate volume of the system at the appropriate time.
I did not come here to discuss whether or not using IEMs is acceptable, but I had to share what I have come to know about the subject after reading the discussion.
I came here to ask the community a few IEM related questions and share with you my experience while using IEMs for motorcycle riding.
SOOOOOOOOO...... Here is what I actually came for in my next post...