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Hearing Loss and Ear Plugs

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

  1. I spent years being "that guy" with ear plugs. I used to buy the cheap foam construction-style ones by the box of 200 and would just toss them in coat pockets, cases and glove compartments. It used to be the ritual for awhile that I would forget until the first song and then catch it for the second.

    Few years ago went and got fitted for pro-quality plugs. Had to go through all the testing before they would do it. I was told that for what I do my hearing is significantly intact; I'm at about average with what a non-musician would experience. Never been more thankful to be "at about average or slightly better."
  2. Some of those hearing tests seem a bit questionable to me,
    I can tell I've lost some hearing on certain hertz levels,
    but the tests don't pick up that I've lost anything...they
    keep telling me my hearing is well within normal ranges...
    yet when other noises are present, I can't hear what some
    folks are saying. Just took a test 8 months ago and left
    feeling somewhat worried that they missed a buncha stuff.
    speyer likes this.
  3. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    Westone custom molded earplugs are great. For me, 25db attenuation is a must. Anything less would only work for jazz lol. They lose a little high end but sound way better than any other plugs.
  4. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    Go to an audiologist that has an AuD (Doctor of Audiology) tall them that you are a musician and that although you might be WNL (Within Normal Limits) that you want to know more precisely as this is how you make your living. If they are unwilling or unable find a new audiologist (or move to upstate NY and make an appointment with my wife)
    ibasso and Big Shrek like this.
  5. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada, eh!
  6. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    You forgot the "- eh?" ;)
    Artman likes this.
  7. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada, eh!
    Eh? No worries, eh!
    murphy, Artman and RoadRanger like this.
  8. 46and2


    Nov 12, 2017
    I was born deaf in my right ear, and my left ear has bad cauliflower from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I can only wear foam plugs or over-ear style protection like at the gun range. Looks like I'll be deaf when I get old. :roflmao:
  9. Finally got to try out the Eptomotic's at practice last night. They work great! Couldnt hear myself perfectly but might just take some getting used too. Our guitarist really needs them he is complaining about ringing all the time.
    Big Shrek likes this.
  10. Big Jon 71

    Big Jon 71

    Jan 10, 2018
    I remember one of my first bands we played in the guitarists parents basement. One of those little of to the side rooms. All concrete. No carpet. We got the drums in there. Our amps. Oh man we were ready to buy the bus and tour the world and elsewhere.

    I’m telling you It sounded like 1200 circle saws in a beehive. Man it was so ungodly loud!!! After that we used the old big total coverage old school hi Fi stereo headphones as our “ear plugs”. Big difference. I’ve been devoted to at least attempting to protect my hearing ever since. I use earplugs at gigs and if I go to a rock show (which is rare) I wear ear plugs.

    I’ll never forget how loud that was!!!
    Artman and Big Shrek like this.
  11. I have tinnitus in my left ear, some high-frequency loss in both ears. My ENT Doctor also wants to have me retest in six months as he says that I have lost some lower frequency loss in the right as well.
    During the 1980's and 1990's, I played loudly in a very loud rock band. Commonly used either 2x410 or 4x15 stacks just to be heard over the immature drummer with the chip on both shoulders, the arrogant guitarist/lead singer with his Marshall stack and Lab Series stereo setup. I also rode motorcycles for several years.
    I don't ride motorcycles anymore, and from now on I will always wear earplugs if playing above normal conversational volume level, and I refuse to play with anyone who is so loud that I need more than a couple of hundred watts and 2 small 1x12" cabs to be heard. Unless of course, they offer for me to join a big-name act on a world tour of big venues and pay well enough for me to make the needed sacrifices that touring requires. But still, I'm not going to play without the earplugs.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  12. BassAuD


    Oct 4, 2017
    a low B sound wave is 36.61 feet long.
    I'm glad to see this thread. I used plugs periodically (mostly an orchestra player) and would plug the right ear (next to the brass) and as a result I have a slight hearing dip in my LEFT ear since it was left unprotected. Now that I went back to school for audiology, holy crap has everything changed. I still occasionally loosen the left ear plug when I know it won't be loud but it stays in my ear to be pushed in as needed. Hearing protection is something that NEEDS to be taken into consideration.

    I do want custom plugs (freelance bassist AND grad student is not the most financially stable scenario) but settle for the foam ones. These are not ideal and I am looking into some OTC flat attenuation plugs. One member of the section always has a snide remark about the tuba player using ear plugs and I got a little flak about it this week too. Oh well.

    I am considering doing my research project next year on determining how much protection is needed in different parts of a professional orchestra. I want to take measurements with as many different plugs as I can because you only need to keep the levels hitting your eardrums around 80 dB. If you're not in front of trumpets or timpani, you can get away with plugs that don't reduce as much as the foam ones and may not sound as bad. I'd love to expand it to electric bass situations as well, but that'll have to wait.

    Keep 'em plugged, folks!
    zon6c-f and oldNewbie like this.
  13. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Even with ear plugs if it’s loud enough the sound goes through the face and still damages your hearing.

    Protect it you’re a musician!
    If they won’t turn down find another “they.”
    Johnny Crab and Artman like this.
  14. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Played with foam and couldn’t always hear pitch.
    The $25 Hearos are very effective but I am one who they make my ears ache. So I have customs. Don’t be cheap you’d spend this for pedals. They are amazing. Music sounds exactly like without. There’s an extra plug that’s for chain sawing etc.
    Fun Size Nick likes this.
  15. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    I use the Etymotic Music Pro plugs. They're $300, and they work great. It took me three gigs to get used to them, and now I forget I have them in. You can have a normal conversation while wearing them, and protection when things get loud. I've already got hearing loss and tinnitus from decades of being an idiot and not wearing them. At least now my hearing isn't getting any worse. PS: As with others, they work best when you don't push them in too far.
    Jimmy4string likes this.
  16. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    @Bunk McNulty Thanks SO MUCH for the Ety comment, I've been using ear plugs off and on, got right ear damaged by the deaf person next to me running his pile of noise at 130+ dB one night. Drove home after that gig with my right ear distorting anything I heard. Use plugs ALL the time since, spent $1500 for my OWN IEMs when we play at venues with FOH provided. I researched the Music Pros and the law enforcement ones. Being in engineering, I called their pocket-protector engineers and asked about the difference. The only differences are the electronics and minor settings, pricing is the same as-is the device size/structure. Checked with our EHS Dept here at work(multi-plant petrochem complex) and they approved the law enforcement ones for in-plant use if I wanted. We have the foam ones(-33db NRR) for free here but I really want a set that works with band, at concerts, at work, or during shooting sports/practice. The LE version
    fits that task and it gives one a bit more attenuation/noise reduction which is what I need for work, band, and sports. Wifey and I use electronic muffs now for shooting sports that work very well.

    When I get them, I'll post the results.
    Chuck Chill-Out and Bunk McNulty like this.
  17. fretlessbass

    fretlessbass Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2010
    Tucson, AZ
    I'm 63, and have had to wear hearing aids since I turned 50--the direct result of playing in loud bands--not just rock, but all genres.
    Even with my hearing aids, I struggle to understand people; without closed-captions on tv, I'd never be able to understand the dialogue.
    One of the toughest aspects is that any loud music, or even loud groups of people, are irritating as hell...everything sounds distorted--hearing aids or not.
    Fortunately, my son, who plays drums professionally, learned from my mistake: he always wears plugs--even on soft gigs.
    RoadRanger likes this.
  18. Jdash


    May 21, 2018
    I wore hearing aids for over 20+ years as my hearing decreased. I now am bilaterally implanted with cochlear implants. I highly recommend getting professionally examined for your hearing. A research university in a large city known for hearing research. My hearing loss was due excessive volume listening and playing music very load as a teenager. I am now 63. HEARING LOSS FOREVER. I am now completely deaf but with CIs am able able to appreciate music and play bass again
    bkbirge and RoadRanger like this.
  19. A couple of years ago our local MusiCares chapter provided a molding and free fitted ear plugs for all the musicians who played at our big annual festival. Mine have been a blessing. We're not a loud band, but other bands are. I have them with me all the time.
    RoadRanger likes this.
  20. Corbusier


    Feb 21, 2018
    I'm requesting updated recommendations for the best brand of earplugs, since the posts on this thread are from 2008.
    Thank you.

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