In Ear Monitor and Tinnitis

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by bigbassmike, Jan 14, 2014.


  1. bigbassmike

    bigbassmike

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    This might be a lengthy post: I play in the worship band at church. A couple weeks ago I went to an indoor shooting range with my boy. It was my first time and wore foam ear plugs. The guy at the counter said people use them all the time. We spent about an hour at the range and afterward my ears were pounding. My boy used ear phones (I should have used them too) and he is fine. Since then I've had ringing in my ears. Tomorrow I have an appt with my ear doc.

    So, in the band everyone uses IEM's. I just used a 30 dollar set of Sony ear buds which I got by with. I've still played with the band but have kept the ear buds out because I didn't want to do anymore damage. I got a pair of Etymotic ER20 plugs to use in the mean time and are working out well, although having IEM's would make it easier to hear everyone since the whole band uses them. I guess my question is is it safe to use IEM's with tinnitis? I read that the singer from Coldplay has tinnitis and uses IEM's. If I can use them then I will purchase actual IEM's vs. the Sony ear buds. Do IEM's protect the ear more than regular ear buds? I plan to speak more with my ear doc, but wanted other bass players thoughts/suggestions.

    I've also read posts here that people often use musician's ear plugs when playing live or practicing. When those are used are the other musicians using IEM's or wedge monitors? I was just curious. I appreciate the feedback.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA USA
    Wow bummer, I'm sorry to read that Mike - I hope you're not in a lot of pain and your hearing is better soon. I'm not a doctor, so I don't know - and ear PLUGS are made for hearing protection, not IEM/earbuds. I hope you feel better soon.
     
  3. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Mendocino County, California
    Foam earplugs are not enough at a shooting range. Get a good pair of range-approved full cover ear muffs, and use them along with your earplugs. Gunshots put off very high SPLs. Multiple guns at a range are worse.

    I do lots of weed mowing on a 3 acre plot during spring and early summer. The 350 pound 15hp mower puts out a ton of noise. I wear musicians earplugs AND shooting muffs at the same time to deaden the noise. I use the same combo when shooting.
     
  4. bigbassmike

    bigbassmike

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    Thanks for the kind words. No pain, it's just irritating to have an almost constant ring in the ol' head. It comes and goes and today has been a mostly quiet ringing day.
     
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  6. GK Growl

    GK Growl

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    Wow. I'll have to give that a try for my tinnitus! :bag:

    Jokes aside, I have no specific experience with in ear monitors but on the other end of the spectrum I have had a little success with a different herbal remedy, chamomile tea. I have constant ringing and usually have cricket sounds by the end of the day but the chamomile seems to cut some of that down.
     
  7. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Mendocino County, California
    As every politician from every political party from the dawn of time has said, "You took my quote out of context!"

    :D
     
  8. bigbassmike

    bigbassmike

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    I've been drinking the same tea--I'm a special ed teacher during the day, so at least it is keeping me real mellow. I'm also taking lipoflavonoid and magnesium. Thanks man!
     
  9. ggunn

    ggunn

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Custom IEM's can certainly help because they screen out stage noise and reduce the SPL your ears receive. Those that do not seal your ear canal can actually make things worse because you have to have them loud enough to be heard over what is getting in around them.
     
  10. hsech

    hsech Ain't no blues like old blues. Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Location:
    Central Iowa
    If it's any help to you, a single exposure of high volume should not cause long lasting tinnitus. I'm not a doctor, but I do know a little about it. I wear hearing aids when I'm not playing or practicing. I also have tinnitus. Mine was caused by long continued exposure to jet engines, turbines and later on industrial pumps and motors. I always wore ear plugs, but with long repeated exposure that wasn't enough.

    Get your ears checked, but don't despair just yet. I think the long term continuous noise is what causes permanent tinnitus and hearing loss. In Vietnam I was near several explosions that caused my ears to ring for days, but then they would clear up. No need to speculate. See what the Doc says. BTW, even though I have pretty significant hearing loss I can still hear through ear buds just fine.
     
  11. GK Growl

    GK Growl

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    Bless you!! OT but I have an autistic son.
     
  12. GK Growl

    GK Growl

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    Dec 31, 2011
    Hearing loss can be caused by single exposure sounds if it's loud enough. Tinnitus is usually caused by repeated assault. That's how mine happened. Marshall guitar amps and loud cymbals with no earplugs. Stupid.
     
  13. bigbassmike

    bigbassmike

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    Thanks for the encouraging response. A pharmacist friend of mine told me the same thing. Back in the 80s and 90s when I was jammin' metal we never wore ear plugs and cranked it loud and proud. I'm surprised that I didn't get ringing then. I might have to contact some of my old bandmates and see how their ears are holding up.
     
  14. hsech

    hsech Ain't no blues like old blues. Gold Supporting Member

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    Jun 27, 2012
    Location:
    Central Iowa
    These days I play through a Markbass mini rig (500 watts and 2 cabs with a single 12 eac. They sit below ear level. They are mic'd through the PA so we just monitor the bass amp on stage and at lower volume.
     
  15. bass81800

    bass81800

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Location:
    Southern CA
    My tinnitis has actually gotten better since I started living in a quieter environment over a year ago and possibly practicing better ear health. I also carry a pair of earplugs and/or keep in the car. The Etymotic plugs have a perfect case for key rings. I happen to have a pair of custom ones fitted by an audiologist.

    So, hopefully your case of tinnitis will get better.

    So, noisy work environments, loud gigs, happy hour, whatever, even a loud movie, the earplugs are always there to use. And, I never use those ear buds you put in your ear. Use headphones when playing the mp3 player.

    Even after a medium loud gig, I make sure to rest my ears and have as much silence as possible the rest of the evening.
     
  16. bigbassmike

    bigbassmike

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    Thanks for the helpful information. I went to a movie last weekend (Lone Survivor) great movie--anyway I wore my Etymotic plugs and they worked out very well. So, during live gigs do you wear the molded ear plugs?
     
  17. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    N.H.
    Good topic man.
    I live with tinnitus in both ears & wear hearing aids as a result.
    I do not use IEM but have wondered about the affect of tinnitus with them on.
    TAKE CARE OF YOUR EARS, scream at your guitar player when he is too loud, hell punch him if you have to.
    This is a living nightmare that has negated the enjoyment of live music for me.
    It is 24/7 year round.
     
  18. KingRazor

    KingRazor

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    Jun 4, 2010
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon USA
    Make sure there's a limiter in the IEM signal chain!
     
  19. ggunn

    ggunn

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    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I have heard Pete Townshend quoted as saying that the explosion in the kick drum on the Smothers Brothers' Show is largely responsible for his tinnitus.
     
  20. bigbassmike

    bigbassmike

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    Update: I went to my ear doc and my "symptoms" sound like tinnitis. She says, " It could go away in time or it could be permanent." Actually, I wasn't too impressed with her insight. She set me up with an audiologist this morning for further testing. Things look okay inside the ol' ears, but have developed high frequency hearing loss in both ears. Whether the shooting range caused it or exposure to jamming live music for 30 years...who knows? She did suggest not using IEMs with tinnitis. The audiologist works with Westone and can make molds for musician's ear plugs. I talked it over with my wife and I'm going to go ahead and get the ear plugs. I'm working things out with the sound guys that I play with to give me a small wedge monitor. We'll see how things go. Thanks for all of the responses. Rock on.
     
  21. leroy diamond

    leroy diamond

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2005
    Location:
    ireland
    If you want to protect what you have left of your hearing, get moulded ear protectors. No two ear canal are the same so generic plugs, though cheep and cheerful are a bit of a joke. I have had tinnitus for years and have developed ways of coping with it, though on occasions it can be a severe pain in the ass. Hopefully your tinnitus is just a temporary thing, but well done on getting the moulded plugs. I use ACS er 20's and love them.
     

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