I tried earplugs designed specifically for motorsports at one of the loudest races in the world — here’s the verdict

So what’s the verdict? (That’s me this past June at the famous Dunlop Bridge on Le Mans’ Circuit de la Sarthe, by the way.)

So what's the verdict? (That's me this past June at the famous Dunlop Bridge on Le Mans' Circuit de la Sarthe, by the way.)

Matthew DeBord/BI

I took my Etymotic earplugs with me this past spring to test them at one of motorsports’ greatest events: the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an endurance race that starts on Saturday and ends on Sunday — an entire day of racing, designed to break men and machines.

It’s a big race, and there are lots of cars, and once they start running, the noise never lets up.

I had access to much of the race track and had the chance to see how the Etymotics performed over the long haul.

They did very well — far better than foam plugs, which do indeed block out too much sound and can be uncomfortable, with a tendency to fall out of my ears. The Etymotics stayed put in my ear canals and were comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

For $25, I think they’re worth the substantial premium you might pay over a decent pair of foam earplugs (the kind you might use for a few races), and they’re less expensive and cumbersome than full-on over the ear hearing protection.

I had one minor problem, however, that has to be mentioned. Because they’re so light and unobtrusive, after the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans was over and I took the earplugs out, leaving them dangling around my neck, the French winds carried them away, to a place I know not where. (Etymotic was kind enough to send me another set so that I could take some photos.)

Aside from that drawback, they were amazing. Highly recommended if you take in a lot of auto racing and don’t want you love of the sport to ruin your hearing.

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