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getting used to earplugs?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ricktunesmith, Nov 4, 2002.

  1. In the mid-late 1980's, I was diagnosed with minor tinnitus and some hearing loss in my left ear. During the 90's, I didn't play live music since my kids were small so the hearing problem was a minor irritation. For the past year and a half, I've been playing bass again.

    This weekend I tried using ear plugs for the first time at a job. I took them out after the first song. I could hear the instruments OK, but it was conversation level. I wasn't comfortable not being able to assess the total volume of the band.

    For the guys who wear hearing protection - How long did it take before you got comfortable wearing earplugs? Was it difficult getting used to them? Do you think earplugs affect your playing?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You have to prepare yourself. Just putting them on right before a gig will only confuse you.

    When I started using ear plugs, I worked at a wood shop during school breaks. I practically wore plugs all day and it soon became second nature.

    So I recommend putting them on at home or at work (if possible), so you have enough time get used to them in a standard environment. You'll learn to "hear" with them pretty quick.

    Just don't use those standard plugs, get Hearos or Hearsafe plugs, they are much better.
    The best option are custom-made ones, but they cost 100-150$ IIRC.
  3. I actually liked my ear plugs from the start, I find it helps me hear the drums and bass a lot better, although if I wander away from the monitor it makes hearing the lead vocals difficult sometimes.

    I usually set up and sound check with them out, then I bung them in and we play a tune or two. After a few gigs I found it quite easy to adjust volume up and down as required throughout the gig.

    A bonus about not being able to hear the conversations is that you don't have to listen to the guitarists droning on about J minor demonic pentatonic scales or whatever it is they dribble on about. You just nod sagely while checking out the lovely ladies in the room :D

    Oh yeah, i'd recommend investing in a pair of 'proper' muso earplugs, they're miles better than those standard yellow foam doo dahs.

    By the way I use custom ER15s, well worth the money:)
  4. SoyBase


    Jul 1, 2001
    Atlanta, Ga
    May I suggest going to the local hearing aide store, or even some ear doctors and getting a set of custom plugs?
    I did this about a year ago and havent looked back. You dont get any frequency loss and they are much more comfortable. I used the foam ones for years and found that I had to play a LOT harder to hear myself in certain situations. You can get into a pair of customs for about 100 bucks. I think my hearing is worth at least that much.

  5. I've found earplugs to be hroses for courses.

    I had tried the foam ones - unfortunately they cut out lots of things and not evenly. However, I use disposable 3M ones when I'm riding my bike as they cut out about 30dB worth of wind noise!!! (they also cut out the sound of the exhaust, but a nice little carbon fibre end can soon sorted that out.....)

    For band work, I use ER-20 earplugs. These are great, they have a flat frequency response and are absolutely fantastic (for the money!). When I have a bit more cash I might well get a set of custom ones!

    Getting used to the ER-20 plugs was easy, a bit weird to insert them at first, but once in they take the shape of your ear canal. The biggest surprise that we got was that suddenly as well as hearing the whole band equally, we could hear the bass pedal squeak!

    I didn't find any great difficulty getting used to the earplugs - although our singer did. The only bit I don't like is cleaning them!!!!! Although, I've found that baby wipes (the Johnsons variety) are amazing at cleaning them up (they get chain lube off your hands too......)

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