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Hearing Loss and Ear Plugs

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Boplicity, Jul 28, 2000.

  1. Well, I'm back from my appointment with the ear specialist. I was expecting some permanent hearing loss and well, I have some permanent hearing loss. Fortunately, it's not that bad. I had good hearing until I hit the 6000hz range when my scores totally dropped.

    The hearing test had two parts. In the first part, I wore headphones and had to hit a buzzer whenever I heard a tone (more like a high-pitched whine). The tone would be replayed at diminishing volumes (or higher pitches?). Did the left ear first then the right ear. When I was doing the fainter noises, I really noticed the blood rushing through my head - made it really hard to hear.

    In the second part, I had to repeat words that were spoken to me - really simply stuff like "oatmeal", "fish", "playground".

    Anyways, I'm probably going to spring for the professional earplugs - the molds will be custom but the recommended filters are Etymotic Research's ER-15.

    Right now, I'm using Sonic II with a 6db cut but that's barely adequate for my rehearsals. Live shows will probably be louder. :bawl:
  2. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I've had my appointment too. I forked out for the muso earplugs with the 15db pads and they're Brilliant (they also offer 9db and 25db). You can still hear everything but softer and therefore clearer. They change the tone a little but its not hard to get used to.

    I declined the hearing test though. Why? Because it only tested the frequencies between 250hz and 8k. I tried to explain that there's a lot of music that happens below 250hz, and a lot of music that happens above 8k - and she kinda understood. Apparently the audiometer would go a low as 125hz but that's it. They were primarily cncerned with the frequencies that relate to understanding speech. So I told her I'd look around for a more comprehensive hearing test.

    Has anyone else come across this?
  3. King David

    King David

    Dec 13, 1999
    I have used ear plugs for a while, but I am wondering about the custom ones. I use the yellow foam ones. I sprung for a box of 100 pairs from some safety place. I bought the ones that are longer than usual. They offered better protection than the others. I think the regular offer like 29 db protection while the longer ones provide 33 db protection. I make sure I insert these suckers as far as is comfortable (and so as not to damage my ears that way too!). I use either the larege ones or the smaller ones dependng on the situation. I use the large ones all of the time when mowing the lawn and working in the workshop. I don't understand why they make shop vacs so stinking loud!

    Do the custom earplus offer more protection, or do things just sound better as opposed to the foam ones?

    I can live with the less than optimal sound through the foam ones, I just don't want to lose any more hearing.
  4. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    They sound clearer. I'm like many musos who tried really hard to like the foam ones, but they made everything sound muffled.
  5. Hey Petebass, have you tried the store-bought musician earplugs? Right now, I'm using Sonic II's which have a 6db cut. They don't muffle the top end as much as the foamies but offer less protection. Are the custom plugs significantly better than the off-the-shelf plugs?
  6. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I tried every type of off-the-shelf ear plugs available. Musician, Swimming, industrial, you name it I tried it (remembering that we seem to have far less brand options here in Oz than you luck Americans). Most as you say cut the highs, some didnt, but I swear some even boosted the bottom end.

    To answer your question, "it's no contest". They custom ones MUCH better. As you can tell I'm hard to please and these things are excellent. Since my original post I've even started to feel naked without them. I forgot them at home once and found that I was kicking myself - everything sounded loud and harsh and I went home with ears ringing. I honestly don't know what took me so long to get a pair. I just gotta make sure I don't lose em.
  7. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    woaahh...just discovered this thread...and since I play loud stuff, and Im just about to get my bigger, louder amp, I'm definitely gunna muy a pair of Mike D's. Those seem to be described as quite good, and a great deal. I don't know if I'd fork over $140 for custom yet, but Mike's will definitely do until then.
  8. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    My earplugs, the ER-20 are made by the same company that makes the filters for the custom plugs. There was a post on the TBL about my plugs yesterday and, of course, everytime that happens I get hammered. Currently all I have is solid colors. I should have clear and color/clear combinations by Friday

  9. Did you just called me an "American"???? :eek:

    With that being said, I gotta book an appointment to get the molds...
    herbygardener likes this.
  10. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    You could call me a New Zealander and we'd be even..... :)

    Sorry I didn't mean to offend Americans or Canadians, or New Zealanders. You're all wonderful........
  11. RichBriere

    RichBriere Guest

    Jan 1, 2003
    Upstate NY
    I'll continue to take it one step further, be the Mother Hen that Im becoming known as ....and ask this favor/question. If you keep looking for a solution to protecting your ears, try the most obvious.......turn down. :)

    I know, your guitarist/drummer/accordion player won't do it so neither can you. Don't take no for an answer. The shrinking audiences are telling us that THEY are tired of being bombed with high sound pressure levels as well. While we can still hear, we should listen.

    Mike........(and others).......some VERY nice points.


  12. Very informative thread. I've been noticing the onset of ever-present tinnitus for the past few months in varying degrees of intensity and while I wore plugs occasionally before, I think it better become an all the time practice now.

    I've only been a gigging musician for the past year so I've only been exposed to loud amps and drums for that period of time, therefore I think this has been more triggered by the band after working a couple years in loud factories, and my habit of seeing live music ~once a week.

    My drummer showed up at practice with the custom moulded plugs yesterday ($170) and said he absolutely loves them so I think I'm going to spring for a pair.

    I have a couple questions about these:

    Which filters would you recommend? I would like to use the plugs both at practice and when I'm out at concerts or club shows, should I have different levels of db protection? Can you switch filters with a single mould or do you need a different pair of plugs for different filters?

    Has anyone ever lost these? $170 seems like an awful lot of money to spend on something that may or may not stay in my ear if I'm jumping around or headbanging.
  13. RichBriere

    RichBriere Guest

    Jan 1, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Are you forced to wear plugs at rehearsal?? If so, I'd consider purchasing a pair of the ear cups like you see loggers wearing. This will send a message to your bandmates that you find the volume level a bit offensive. And believe it or not, the high quality cups actually work. They look just like headphones. The fact that they say "John Deere" on the side is kind of a giveaway.............but it beats going deaf. :cool:

  14. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    I just got some molds for some customs The audioligist pulled a huge chunk of wax out of my ears:eek: now I have more high end;)

    Sorry but its the truth any way Ill report back with the impresstions on the plugs

  15. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    WHen I said "I hope i don't lose them", I was talking about leaving them behind at a gig or putting them somewhere so safe I can't find em.

    There's no way they're gonna fall out while your playing, no hatter how hard you head-bang.

    Apparently the filters are interchangable with the single moulds. I like my 15db's for gigs but note that it makes it a bit hard to hear band chatter in between songs (small price to pay). For gigs where the DJ is blaring in between sets, they work nicely. And to my surprise, no one in the crowd has hassled me about wearing are plugs.
  16. I think all of the plugs use the same filters from Etymotic Research. The recommended level is -15db. They say that -25db is too much and -9db is too little. I'm currently using off-the-shelf plugs with a -6db cut. They are adequate for rehearsal but I know they will be useless at a show. Even my plugs won't fall out during rehearsal so I'm assuming that the custom molds won't either. With that being said, one of my friends lost the filter (but not the mold) while moshing in a mosh pit.
  17. enzyme


    Feb 4, 2003

    I have been using the foam type plugs for years now. They work fine. In fact the make it a lot easier to hear the bass and drums.
  18. After many years of off and on usage of many different types of over the counter ear plugs this past Monday I had molds made and my custom plugs should be arriving in two weeks. I'd been talking about doing it long enough so like my good friend Funkster, I headed off to UMASS Medical Center in Worcester MA and paid my $110 which is money well spent. I went with the 15db cut but I can order the 25db filters if I choose later on.
  19. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Well I got my plugs first impression these things aint goin anywhere! They are IN THERE, kinda wierd:rolleyes:

    Anyway I got the 9's and the 15's cause Im exposed to alot of not quite loud but still loud. they seem cool they sound good at home witht the stereo.

    Ill write back with more.

  20. iplaybass


    Feb 13, 2000
    Houston, TX
    I used earplugs at a very loud practice, and I found I had to take them out because I couldn't play as well for some reason! My timing was off and I just couldn't get the hang of playing with them in. Has anybody else had this problem? I really want to protect my hearing, but not at the expense of my musicianship!

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