Ear plugs

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by calebaaron666, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Any gigging Rock n’ Rollers here have any recommendations for some quality ear plugs that maybe allow me to have some idea of how the music sounds as opposed to just the sound of me breathing and swallowing?
    I’ve always hated singing with plugs, BUT I gotta do something. My ears are already in rough shape from years of abuse, and they’re not gonna get any better.

    After band practice yesterday my ears were ringing so much I started sounding like my grandfather..
    “WHAT?”
    “Huh?”
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
    DHart and Lockupyourfatdog like this.
  2. 5120mantis

    5120mantis Country Gent

    Age:
    45
    Mar 6, 2011
    nj
    I NEVER wore them, until now, i had some health issues that caused ringing in my ears and equilibrium issues, and while the ringing has decreased significantly the last to shows i went to used Hearos earplugs, they don't compress the sound as much as garden variety plugs.
     
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  3. Trash Kidd

    Trash Kidd Country Gent

    Age:
    53
    Dec 14, 2015
    London U.K.
    I’ll be watching this thread with interest..
    Been thinking the same lately.
    Nearly 40 years of playing very loud Rock’n’Roll has not left my ears in great shape..
     
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  4. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Yeah man. I never liked using them while playing. I’ve used them as an audience member (they came in really handy when i saw Mudhoney a few years back).
    I already have ringing in my right ear from my old band mate’s Twin. I’m thinking it’s only going to get worse.
    I’ll look into Hearos.
    THANX!
     
    5120mantis likes this.
  5. Cassotto

    Cassotto Gretschie

    Age:
    45
    149
    Jun 16, 2019
    Spain
    I do use earplugs, since I have very sensitive ears. The best I've found are these:

    https://www.etymotic.com/er20.html

    I've just seen on their page that they have newer models that will probably be better.

    I'm happy with these; it's still true that you can hear your own breathing a bit too loudly, but nothing compared to other earplugs I've tried.

    In the place where I buy these earplugs -which come in two different sizes- they have the option to customise them by taking a cast of your ear and putting inside the same type of filters. The last time I checked they cost around $200, but they told me that when, in a few years, the shape of my ear changes, they will reuse the filters in a new cast, so they'll cost only half that price.
     
    GlenP, Merc, 5120mantis and 1 other person like this.
  6. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    These look real good!
    $9.99 on Amazon. Not bad.
     
  7. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    60
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    My father has tinnitus ( the constant ringing in the ear ) ...I'm on my way , believe me . Probably started with growing up in the 70's during high school , who didn't have those big KOSS headphones for your stereo ? I'm so much more conscious these days with ear protection .
     
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  8. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    Florida
    Those look similar to ones we could get back in the military. They came different sizes and medical would help us measure which ones to get. Also came in a different style where the flanges were straight. Both included a carrying case to put on a side belt loop. The middle two in pic after googling military earplugs. Maybe try searching for some designed for shooting ranges.

    16C5B79B-F761-4249-8BB1-1EA22F284907.png

    Best of luck finding a set that works for you. I’m a firm believer in protecting your ears.
     
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  9. DougWheeler74

    DougWheeler74 Electromatic

    17
    Jul 10, 2019
    Appleton, Wisconsin
    If you hear ringing you have already caused damage to your hearing. You can prevent / reduce further damage with earplugs. These cut volume without affecting frequency. Great for listening and playing. https://www.westone.com/store/music/hearing-protection/
     
    calebaaron666 and Merc like this.
  10. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    My wife`s recent slaps on my ears did more harm to my hearing than 40 years of Marshall-torture...
     
    new6659 likes this.
  11. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    Florida
    Only positive thing about that is... you’ve got a life long free pass if she says I told you already, you’re not listening to me, etc.

    I’m sorry honey, you know I don’t hear so well ever since you caused permanent ear damage slapping my ears.
     
    loudnlousy likes this.
  12. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    +1 on the Etymotic earplugs. I wear them to every band rehearsal and gig. And I wear them every time I see another band play live.

    Etymotic also makes custom-molded earplugs that fit the shape of your ears perfectly. I had a pair made 17 years ago, when I found my ears ringing after every rehearsal and decided that I wanted to keep my hearing past age 25. They cost about $250, but the investment was well worth it. The custom earplugs sound a little clearer than the off-the-rack Etymotic ER20s, so they're worth it to me. But the off-the-rack ER20s are still very good, and they're WAY better than the foam earplugs from the drug store.
     
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  13. Cassotto

    Cassotto Gretschie

    Age:
    45
    149
    Jun 16, 2019
    Spain
    I don't know about the military earplugs, but the Etymotic ones are supposed to be for musicians. The problem with standard plugs is that they dampen everything but the bass sounds, so you get a mix of bass, bass drum and scary breathing sounds if you sing. With the musician earplugs, all frequencies are supposed to be muffled to the same extent (though that's not 100% true), so the result is similar to turning the volume of the music down. For the price of the standard ones, I'd try those first, and if you like them, you might have ones custom-made (those described by section2 are the same I talked about). Those in the link provided by DougWheeler74 are also made for musicians.

    The only problem, as I said, is that they come in two sizes, and you have to figure out which one is the best for you. I went to a hearing centre where I knew they sold them so I could have my ear canals measured. They told me that, in general, women and men of slight build need the 'normal' size, big men need the 'big' size, and men in between need either of the two. And anyway, there's no clear relationship between body size and ear canal size. If you have them measured once, then you can buy more earplugs from Amazon or wherever, already knowing your size.

    Mine usually last for two or three years before the rubber gets torn. But my ear canals produce lots of wax, so with all the rubbing and wetting and trying to clean them, my usage of the earplugs is sort of rough.

    I haven't tried the custom-made ones yet, though. section2, have yours lasted for 17 years without the amount of dampening being affected? I was told the shape of the ear canals changes slightly with time, so the sealing becomes imperfect. And are thet easy to put on? With the standard ones, you can insert them any way and they'll fit, but the custom-made ones have only one right position, haven't they?
     
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  14. Cassotto

    Cassotto Gretschie

    Age:
    45
    149
    Jun 16, 2019
    Spain
    I grew up a little later than that, but you needn't be that old to have listened to music too loudly. I get mad when I see all those teenagers listening to music on the street, or in the underground or the bus, in a way that makes their music audible from three metres away. There's a school (for ages 6-11) at a two-minute walk from my home, with a big block of buildings in between. Last June I had a day off from work that happened to be the same day they had their end-of-year party. I get up very early (at 4:50 am) to go to work, so I wanted to sleep in that day (for me, that's getting up at around 10 am), and I was awakened at around 9:15 by loud music. On going out on some errands, I found out it was the music from the school party. Some teachers were outside in the sun, talking with one another, and they had to shout in the same way you shout when trying to say something in a discotheque. I asked to speak with the headmaster, and when he came out I told him that I though he had some responsibility about his pupils' health, that there was no need to play the music that loud because it can be enjoyed at a normal volume, and that those children wouldn't be enjoying any music or anything else that needs to be heard by the time they are forty. The worst part is that he looked at me as if I were a hysterical loony.

    (Un)Luckily for me, I've always been very sensitive to loud music or noise. I always listen to music at a very moderate volume, wear earplugs when I play with the bands or when I go to a concert, and other people in the same room are always telling me to turn the volume of the telly up. The bad part is that, even if I don't harm my hearing by my own deeds, something else will harm it. My ears hurt because of things that don't bother anyone else.
     
    thunder58 likes this.
  15. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Synchromatic

    608
    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    I bought some wax plugs a few years ago in France, and they worked great. I could mold them to fit my ears. Then I lost them. I don’t think they’re available in the US. But a couple years ago I found some moldable silicone or plastic material plugs that also worked very well, and didn’t risk getting part of them stuck in the ear. They didn’t crumble or separate. I found them at Walgreen’s, but I also have seen them at Kroger. They might be available at any chain pharmacy. Less than $5. Really saved my hearing in practice ‘cuz we had a very small practice space.
     
  16. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    62
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    I have to say that since I got some custom in-ear monitors, they are so good at filtering out ambient noise and you can hear the band mix at a nice level, it seems to be the perfect solution.
     
  17. larryb

    larryb Gretschified

    Age:
    50
    Oct 29, 2012
    Greenville, SC
  18. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    The custom ones have only one correct position, but they slide in easily and they're very comfortable. The only trick is figuring out which one goes in which ear when you're inserting them. You can buy the filters in different colours, so I ended up buying a brown filter for the left ear and a white filter for the right ear. Problem solved.

    My custom earplugs still fit, but now that you mention it, I have noticed that they feel looser and the seal isn't as good as it used to be. I'm sure they're no longer protecting me as well as they should. I should really make the time to have new molds taken.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
    Cassotto likes this.
  19. drrohle

    drrohle Synchromatic

    760
    Jan 3, 2014
    Hays, KS
    I am the victim of sudden hearing loss syndrome (left ear). Doctor told me never to shoot guns or go to rock concerts again since I only have one ear left before total hearing loss. Well I couldn't give up playing with my Worship band so I just plug my semi-good ear with a small piece of tissue paper. Believe it or not it works better than several ear plugs I've tried because you can "adjust" the amount of attenuation by just packing it in a little tighter with your finger on the fly. Also, and here is the best part... It attenuates the whole audio spectrum equally, unlike most ear plugs. That, and it's very cheap, if you loose them, just twist up another piece of tissue about the size of a regular ear plug and you're good. If you get too much attenuation just pull it out slightly.
     
    new6659 likes this.
  20. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Ears CANNOT be fixed.

    Any earplug is better than none. Hearos work fairly well, and don't muffle everything, but, they don't cut down the SPL all that much. Avoid military earplugs, at least the black/yellow ones that don't work and are the subject of a lawsuit. I've worn earplugs since the early '60s, and I can still hear reasonably well out of both ears---but not perfect. Having had to use ICOM headsets for decades, they've hurt my hearing, especially in the 300Hz to 3KHz range. Nature of the beast.

    Hands down, avoid earbuds and earphones as much as humanly possible. Fastest way I know of to go deaf. Artillery, jet engines and rifle fire are up there, too. Crash cymbals and piccolo snares are also dangerous. High powered sound gear is bad for your hearing. You really don't need 100 watt amp stacks these days on stage. Sitting in front of the PA stacks at concerts isn't too good either.

    I still have my first pair of plugs---genuine Studebaker employee ones and their case that my Dad gave me. I complained about my ears ringing after one of my first gigs. They worked. I now have a pair of custom molded nits from an audiologist on campus as we worked with tons of power tools and powerful PA gear. We kept cases of the disposable foam types for our part time workers. Even the filter from a cigarette will work in emergencies.

    Avoid earbuds and earphones like the plague. They don't allow the SPL at your eardrum to change enough. In-ear monitors are "the latest thing", and are far worse than a monitor at your feet.

    True, earplugs muffle the sound, they're uncomfortable, and you don't hear it all accurately. It's either that, or not hearing at all. Your choice.
     
    Merc and Cassotto like this.
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