OK, I've just wore earplugs for the first time...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Alvaro Martín Gómez A., Dec 14, 2005.

  1. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    ...and couldn't stand them! Here's some background:

    Maybe I'm getting old, but recently I've started to feel very annoyed with on stage monitors cranked at singers' request (mostly). Last week I started yelling to the sound guy to turn the monitor by my side down. This has made me feel concerned about my hearing, so I went to a doctor asking about earplugs. She took a mold of my ear channels and the result was a pair of orange-colored earplugs which had an approximate cost of US$13 (at the current exchange rate) including the visit to the doctor and a little bag for carrying them.

    I've just got home after a gig and found the opportunity of trying them. Mixed feelings during the whole afternoon. Here are the pros and the cons:


    - I felt really good because I'm protecting my hearing for the first time after 19 years of gigging.
    - Singing background vocals feels cool because I can hear "inside" and that gives me even more pitch control and accuracy.
    - I didn't feel "bad" because not listening to the band the way I've been used to (that's why I got the earplugs, huh?).


    Basically not band-related but about MY PLAYING ->

    - After all of these years in the quest for the "perfect" tone to me it turns that I can't hear it because all I get is a muffled bass sound through the earplugs. That pissed me off.

    - Felt so insecure about my intonation on my electric upright. Also insecure when making big shifts on my Bongo without looking (an exercise that I normally do).

    I also tried just wearing one and it didn't help. I badly appreciate your input on this. I'd definitely like to wear the earplugs, but never thought it would feel like this. Is this normal? Should I take this as an exercise on self-discipline? Just a matter of time to get used to them? Or there's definitely something wrong with me and better don't wear them anymore? I feel troubled because of this. Thank you in advance!
  2. maybe the way you hear your bass with your earplugs on is the way your bass sounds to the crowd...granted the crowd isn't to picky on tone, but its food for thought...what kind of earplugs did you get?
    i have an uncle who is an audiologist (ear doctor) and he made me some custom fit earplugs that all it does is just a flat reduction in volume. basically you hear just about exactly what you hear without, only a cut in decibels...i wish i could remember all that he told me, it sure made sense when he said it...basically they are ear plugs made just for musicians, and i do recall him talking about how these combat the problems of bass tone, like you just explained...maybe you should talk to an audiologist about ear plugs? (s)he could set you up nicely!
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm against earplugs for the sole reason that you can't hear your actual sound or volume, so you don't really know whether you're sounding good at a comfy volume or if you're blasting the room with shrieking treble. However, sometimes other people cause you to have to use them, so what I will do sometimes is get my sound set at the beginning of the night, put the plugs in, and never touch my settings for the rest of the night. Fortunately it's not much of an issue for me because I'm not a big volume freak. I like to play loud but not unbearably loud.
  4. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Well, I can't tell you more details about the earplugs, superbassman. I think the doctor said that they are made of silicon. They look like two pieces of orange Play-Doh. And she's supposed to be an audiologist, also. In fact, I went to a place specialized in hearing aids, but they don't seem to know about musicians' needs. The only thing she asked me after requesting the earplugs was: "Are they intended to protect against water or against noise?" :meh:
  5. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Exactly what I did.
  6. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
  7. thanks kelly!
    those are the ones my uncle made for me!
    alvaro, check those out. they will be your best friend!
  8. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Thanks for the suggestion! Before asking to the doctor I'll send an e-mail to the company (maybe is not that easy to get them here).
  9. discoboo


    Dec 25, 2002
    charleston, sc
    it took me some time to get used to plugs but now i cannot play without them. don't be an idiot...protect your ears and don't worry so much about your intonation.
  10. Some in-ear monitors might be the thing for you. That way you could hear yourself all you like but still protect your hearing. It won't tell you what you sound like to the crowd, of course, but they'd help with the intonation.
  11. ZonPlyr


    Apr 29, 2003
    Pasadena, CA
    I have a pair of Westone musician's ear plugs. I never gig without them. They basically attenuate the sound coming in. I don't lose any of the high end and the low end is definately balanced. I tried the cheaper ones like hear-o's and the orange or yellow ones but they cut everything but the low end and the low end i did hear was really muddy.

    They aren't cheap, i think i paid about $120 for them but they were worth every penny. They took a mold of my ear and I had them about a week later.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    In ears are cool, but they aren't a protection against hearing damage. You can blast them and make them feedback in your ears just as easily as monitors.
  13. for $13 you didn't get musician's earplugs. Those are probably designed for going to the gun range or something.
  14. I meant protection from the PA (and drummer, I guess). You could destroy your hearing with in-ears, but you could also choose not to. I'm talking about monitors that also block outside sound, of course.