Sound Pressure Level and hearing problems

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Space Pickle, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. I'm in my late 20's. As a teenager I came up playing jazz and did so for almost a decade. I've only been playing rock for about a year but already I'm having problems with tinnitus.

    I play in an originals band...the drummerthinks it's great to hit the kit as loud as possible, and everyone seems to think this is fine. The guitarist and singer all play without any hearing protection whatsoever. This band peaks at 120db, and averages 115.

    My ears ring all the time...I'm wearing -25 db custom earplugs and construction-worker style earmuffs on top of that (rated at an additional -25 db, although I doubt they attenuate like the plugs).

    I never had problems as a jazzer, I just put in my -15 custom earplugs and everything was fine, but now my ears are hurting/ringing/have that plugged feeling after each gig. I had a gig a couple weeks ago when I stupidly forgot my earmuffs, and my ears were ringing afterwards. I think my ears are more prone to damage now, because I was still wearing the -25 plugs when that happened.

    I also used to play in a top 40 band, which is what triggered these issues in the first place. It was a trio that didn't play as loud, but the band leader decided that everything had to be miked up. EVERYTHING. Guitar amp (60-watt 2x12 vox tube thing), bass and snare drum, my bass had to go through the pa.

    I eventually quit that band due to the issues it was causing me, although I probably turned in my resignation a couple months too late. What makes the tinnitus so frustrating is that nobody will listen to me and just turn down (volume was *never* an issue when I played jazz)...I think a lot of musicians don't understand tinnitus until they have it.

    Anyway if you took the time to read this, thanks. It's 3:30 am and I have a band practice tomorrow which I am dreading because just going to be more punishment for my ears. I'm not looking for advice really (been to the doctor and audiologist, and I routinely have my hearing checked) and I know deep down that I'm going to have to quit this band as well. Just needed to vent I guess. Not really sure why I have tinnitus when other people who play more gigs and louder gigs than me, but I guess everyone has a different tolerance level and I was just unlucky in that regard.
  2. Demon_Hunter

    Demon_Hunter Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
  3. dazmond


    Dec 3, 2012
    Sorry to hear bro. I've got tinnitus too. Too many loud concerts without plugs. Now I'm the only one in my band that wears plugs. We practice loud, but it doesn't seem to bother any of the other guys. I'm using the etymotic custom 15's but thinking of trying the 30's for practices.
  4. Captain Sunshin

    Captain Sunshin

    Aug 30, 2012
    You could try some -33dB attenuating plugs from ProGuard. i use them as I had a similar issue to you. I have tinnitus which is aggravated by sustained noise, even at a level considered safe. Some -33dB custom plugs, and over ear protection (-35dB, I believe) when I don't have to sing, and I have no problem.

    I also spoke to my band about it, and explained the discomfort it caused me, and how in fact it sounds better at reasonable levels too. They are quite a reasonable bunch, and now we practise at as sensible levels as acoustic drums permits. They've also started using plugs too, now they realise how good they are.

    I would say you need to talk to your band, and really make it clear that hearing damage is no joke. I wouldn't rehearse in a situation where I thought it might cause me lasting damage. Also, if you can persuade them to use plugs too, you might find it easier to bring them into the light.

    Good luck!