Does practicing at home damage my ears?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by AnTz0r, Apr 26, 2003.

  1. Ok so here's the deal

    I bought a nice Trace Elliot combo 2 weeks ago. It has 130 Watts and a 15" speaker.

    I dont play in a band (yet?). I have played keyboards in a band for 3 years though.

    Now when i practice at home, i have the volume set at 1/10, which seems like a reasonable volume to me. The master volume works with intervals, if i set it any lower i hear the bass itself louder than the amp.

    My parents (always seems to come down to this :) ) are complaining about the noise it is making. "the house is shaking", "i can hear it everywhere" bla bla. But the argument im most concerned about: u might be damaging your ears.

    I read this topic:

    My main questions are: -at what volume do you people play at home? do you use earplugs when practicing at home?

    -what is the consequence of this combo? i used to play with a 30W 10" combo. Is the difference in volume (i think it is equally loud, the TE just has more low end) or is it really in the low end?

    -when i set my combo to 1/10, playing 2 hours i nweekends on average and 1 hour on weekdays, can i do any ear damage?

    i cant really make sense out of this post:

    please gimme some more info on this! tnx!
  2. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    my rule of thumb: if you have to SHOUT/not yell, to be heard when standing close to someone when the music is playing, ITS LOUD ENOUGH FOR EARPLUGS!!!

    85db is a comfortable stereo level, if your trying to communicate and you just raise your voice JUST a little, your close to 85db.

    p.s. try turning the bass knob down a little too! ;) yes, 130watts in your bedroom with the stereo cranked (if you play with songs) could hurt your ears in the long run.

    At this point you becoming aware that it IS possible to hurt your ears from too much loud music is the first step towards protecting yourself in the long run. 5 years down the road when you have a 600w 8x10 rig and your playing clubs or something, but hopefully you'll be wearing your earplugs and all will be right with the world!

    you're doing alright!
  3. Ziggy


    May 9, 2001
    Orange County, CA

    As I recall from earlier days of attending rock concerts; the FOH mixer would often have a 'sound pressure' guage secured to the top of the mix board, just above the meters. If memory serves, I'm thinking I was told that 'their' industry standard was something like 98 - 110db at the board's distance from the cabinets on stage.

    At any rate, the first suggestions I would've mentioned have already been pointed up... I concur. If the bass knob is wide open or even 3/4 full, dial it down to about 1/2; give or take a hash mark or two.

    Some other points:

    -those slow moving bass signals become more prevailent if your cab is sitting flat on the floor; espeicially if you have nice, hardwood floors and / or are on the main floor of a house with a basement... try putting it up on something like a milk crate or a few old phone books.

    -proximity to flat wall surfaces also has an affect; pull it atleast 1&1/2 feet from the wall. Or; if your room is as full of everything you own at this time in your life as I recall mine was during those high school years, twist the cabinet to 30 to 45 degrees off parallel from the wall.

    -finally, whenever I'm working out, transcribing, or picking out bass lines for a new tune, I put on a nice set of earphones with the volume at a 'comfortable' level and turn the bass up just enough to hear both my own bass notes and those in the tune I'm working.

    Hope you get this situation resolved to the satisfaction of your folks and neighbors alike...

    michael s.
  4. Obsolex

    Obsolex Guest

    Nov 17, 2002
    Ok man, 1/10 of 130 is 13. That means your using 13 watts. I have a friend that has a 15 watt combo, that actually can crank pretty good.
    That will not damage your ears, if you wore earplugs with that, you would probably hear the TV or your dog barking louder (lolz).
    But I think it really all just depends on your EQ. I mean, if you have a nice flat sound, cut mids, and no treble, than I'd say you could go a lot louder without earplugs.
    I think the real thing that damages ears is high pitched buzzes and bangs. So if you had your bass down, mids and treble up, than if you had that thing cranked up at 130 and made me sit next to you slapping and popping for an hour, I'd probably cry :p :rolleyes: .
    I think that most people (me anyway) use about 20 to 60ish watts at home. Like, if I made up some solo or something, i'll crank it. But if your using all your 130, I might use some earplugs.
  5. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I'm pretty sure it's not as simple as that. It's not a linear scale.
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    While you're most likely not doing damage to your ears, I'd like to clarify two points, as I've done extensive research on hearing and hearing damage.

    1. Bass frequencies do far more damage to hearing than treble, compounded by the fact that bass freqs don't cause your ears to "ring".

    2. 85db (A weighted) is the threshold of damage. Extended exposure to SPLs above 85db can cause permanent damage.

    Here is the OSHA text:

    Worth reading.

    And remember, everytime your ears ring, you have done permanent, cumulative damage to your ears. It may seem like you get better, but you never return to 100%.
  7. miccheck1516

    miccheck1516 Guest

    Feb 15, 2003
    as moley said your wrong, it takes differant amount or power to produces differant higher notes wont use as much power as lower notes.
    inother words, lower notes would take more power from the amp, than higer nots, but the higer notes would still be audible (spelling :meh: )
  8. don't forget that it's not only the volume that can damage your ears. even if you have a relatively low volume, but expose your ears to it for a long time, it can damage your ears.

    some people tend to think that the only ear damage they can get is tinnitus, and as long as they don't get it, they're safe. I, for one, nearly screwed up my ears about a year ago, practicing with my band without earplugs and listening to my MD walkman every day for hours. from then on I always have to rest my ears after listening to music for a longer time.

    I think everyone should think of resting their ears from time to time.. maybe don't practice every day with your amp on, or if you do, don't do it for a long time everyday.. I guess you can feel when your ears are a bit tired, then it's time to rest.