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Protecting your ears

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Muss, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. Muss


    Nov 20, 2007
    here's the story:
    I started hearing a high-pitched sound "in my head" in my left ear 3 weeks ago, I thought it might disappear but it didn't.
    so I just got back from the doctor, of course I told her I play in a band and I know that sometimes after being exposed to a very loud environment you can get that noise "in your head", but it usually fades away within few hours, and I play with ear plugs so the whole ringing tone was weird for me.
    anyway, as I was telling her about it, I realized I use the cheap-lame ear plugs, and I only understood it while telling her about my drummers headphones (this kind, I think:

    so I seriously thinking about getting some serious earplugs/ headphones that can really protect.
    I used some cheap drummers headphones, and they really cut everything but the lower frequencies, and I'm looking for something that's ideal for musicians, the headphones might be nice for rehearsals but would be lame on stage, anyhow, I'm a little lost...

    I need help from the pros, what are you using to protect your ears ?

  2. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    I have custom fitted ear plugs that were molded to exactly match my ear canal. They have 5/10/20db filters that I can switch out depending on what I need. I got them for free because the army band takes care of me, but I think the whole treatment costs somewhere in the ballpark of 75-150 bucks. You should look into it. Most of the drummers I know use dual protection when in small practice rooms, so they rock foamy ear plugs under the noise suppression headphones. But I've never really known non-drummers that did this.

    If you want a quality pair of cheapies, I like the Hearos, the quad flange makes them really comfortable.

  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    I use something similar. With these you dont hear a muffled sound, every individual instrument can be heard, just at a lower volume. They are a little expensive, but at what price do you put your hearing ? ;) Definitely a good investment IMO.
  4. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    Very True. Honestly, I'm pretty proud of myself for having kept them for 2 years without losing them or swallowing them. :bassist:

  5. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    I use those cheap foam ones (29-35 db NR) .. I don't mind the greater attenuation of higher frequencies because I can hear my bass better

    I would never play or go to a gig without earplugs... earplugs are not very rock n roll, but being deaf is even less rock n roll
  6. B4snrise


    Nov 26, 2007
    One thing to concern yourself with is what you can or can't hear with hearing protection when you play. I have a few different types of in ear hearing protection depending on the gig and how insane my two guitarists feel like being that night. Their hearing is almost shot and the drummer is next in line. If you can't hear the beat and tell what the other instruments are doing you can't play well. I can still hear all frequencies well but I have been protected for years. I don't know what I would do without my hearing.
  7. thesteve


    May 28, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    I've been using the Hearos Hi-fidelity plugs for awhile. I really like them. They are $15 or so at GC, and from what I've heard, pretty much the best you can do until you get up to medical ear plugs (the $75-$150 fitted ones)
  8. I've used those, as well as Hearos which are ER-20s with another brand name. Hearos could be found at most decent drugstores.

    I've also had musician's custom earplugs, nice, but, I tend to lose things and replacing those -- $180 or so -- is not fun. The custom earplugs are more comfortable and has a little bit better audio quality, but in general the ER-20 and Hearos work really well.

    Another thing good to know is that even if you clean these ear plugs - lukewarm water -- the internal filters tend to become dirty and block more sounds. The workaround is with custom ear plugs to buy new filters every one or two years, with ER-20 or Hearos just get a new set every year or so.

    Any musician should use something like this -- it's plain crazy to destroy your main tool for making music. --Kent
  9. lmfreeman9


    Sep 1, 2007
    +1 on the custom earplugs. Mine were about $175 from Westone and any audiologist can fit them. They cut noise equally across the board so you don't get that muffled effect.
    I don't have the changeable filters but wish I did.
    Check out this thread for more medical type info:


    Dec 27, 2007
    I use some cheapies too, but i think they do the job just fine. At the end of rehearsal my ears don´t ring or hurt, and i can hear subtle sounds just fine, but i lose a lot of high frequencies when they are on, i don´t mind though, i always stand close to the drummer and keep relentlessly on the beat of the kick drum, comfortably without being annoyed by the twang of the gui****.

    My other bandmates do NOT use them, i am tired of telling them that their hearing is too valuable, i have even brought plugs for them, but i have failed in my attempts of protecting them.

    There´s only so much you can do for others.
  11. B4snrise


    Nov 26, 2007
    For the nonbelievers that don't think hearing protection is important... This is taken directly from the ETYMOTIC Research web site. I never thought a marching band would be louder than a bar band. :meh:

  12. I have a pair of the Etymotic ER-20 plugs. They're a little uncomfortable at first, but once you get used to them they're not bad. The reason I got them was I'm in a handbell choir and used to ring bells from the top octave (B6&7, C7&8). Those things aren't loud, but the sound is quite piercing and harsh at times. Also, the drummer we used to have in my band was unbelievably loud, and I didn't hear very well after the first rehearsal.

    EDIT: As a note, I went to Berklee's high school jazz festival a week or two back, and we got a chance to see the Berklee Jazz Orchestra. Everybody was wearing earplugs except for like two people.
  13. thesteve


    May 28, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    I'm actually not surprised a marching band (at close proximity) would be louder than a bar band. I went to a little jazz concert last week and while the drummer, guitarist and bass player were all pretty subdued, that trumpet was pretty loud. I couldn't imagine if there were several of them all at the same time...plus multiple snare drums, other horns, cymbals, etc. in a marching band.
  14. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I used dual ear protection only in the military. The bazooka we used to shoot with was on the level 210dB.. :eek::eek::eek:

    I paid over 200€ for a pair of elacins. You seem to get custom moulded earplugs rather cheap over there...
  15. I've had the custom molded for approx 8 years! I've lost them several times over that span but have been lucky to always find them (e.g. in jeans pocket in the wash, floor of my car, bottom of gig bag, change tray in car, etc.)

    IMHO getting a pair is no brainer! I've considered getting another pair for backup 'cos these have been through the ringer but still work and fit great!

    Besides using them for band, I've used them at concerts, sporting events, etc. They're AWESOME b\c they allow all frequencies in, just at a lower dB (depending on which filter you use).

    Spending $100-200 in custom hearing protection is a drop in the bucket compared to what we all spend on gear that can potentially damage our hearing!!!

    If you can afford a freakin' $100-200 TUNER or other gadget, surely you can dish out that much for custom hearing protection!
  16. Ten Four One

    Ten Four One

    Dec 5, 2006
    Loudest band I ever saw was a Brass Band in N'Awlins. It was impossible to shout over them from anywhere in the club. No amplification needed.

    I have a pair of bright orange rubber Hear-O's that come in a nifty little holder.

    Another tip - I ride the NYC Subway all the time and you rarely see anyone on there with earplugs, but you see lots of people with earphones. If you're in that situation - flying, trains, etc. get some noise reduction earphones. You can go high end for active noise reduction if you fly a lot, but at the ultra low end the Koss Spark Plugs ($12) are basically a foam ear plug with a coffee stirrer sized tube down the middle connected to a cheap headphone.

    I consider it a dual benefit - I don't go deaf from the train, I hear my music better, and I don't go deaf from the music. Not the best headphones in the world, you have to EQ your MP3 player a bit, but they work.
  17. SmittyG


    Dec 24, 2003
    Texarkana, Texas
    While I've played music for over 30 years, I didn't start gigging until about 5 years ago. All this time, I would put up with the volume and the ringing and the headaches and think, "That's just part of the job." Well, on a gig two weeks ago, my ears shut down. By the last set, all I could hear was this roar that sounded like waves crashing on a beach. And, even with no music playing, anyone talking to me, while sitting right next to me, sounded like they were on the other side of the room. Scared the hell out of me. That was it for me. I've now played two shows with earplugs and will never again enter a club with a band playing, to play or just to listen, without them. Lesson learned the very hard way. BTW, I also use the Hearos.
  18. Muss


    Nov 20, 2007
    Hey guys thanks so much for the replies!
    wel.. I going to have my ears checked next month, and we will see from there...
    I'll probably get the "costum" ear plugs...
  19. I agree. I use earplugs 99% of the time but still have that hissing sound in my head all the time...really annoying.

    Remember kids, once you damage your ears, it's easier to damage them again!

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