Ear protection- what do you use?

Cauldronics

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though in recent years, i've been using some of the many pairs of my vic firth SIH1 headphones that broke - i just snip off the cable. gives you a lot more low end
I can’t help but correct and explain the physics (specifically, psychoacoustics) at work here. The audio engineer side of me won’t let it go.

Gun muffs and drummer headphones (like Ultraphones, which are actually gun muffs) block out a great amount of the high frequencies you’d hear without them. What’s perceived as more bass or low end is actually the same amount of low end that was there before putting on the muffs. It’s just that you’re hearing the sound with a large amount of higher frequencies blocked by the muffs. There is no actual increase in the low end.
 

Cauldronics

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I have used a bunch of hearing protection devices.

Foam plugs do the job but I don’t hear everything I’d like to hear. They’re too muffled.

Custom molded were ok but they’d slip out when I’d sweat a lot or make drummer faces too often. They lost their fit after several years, too, when my ears got just a tad longer with age.

Filter capped titanium plugs with rubber earpiece ends were just a gimmick. They were marketed on the concept that mass blocks sound more effectively than anything else, which is true except that they cannot be big and heavy enough when they’re only the size of an earplug.

While drumming I use Ultraphones which are quite effective and block out 29 dB of sound. They can also be fed a mix since they’re wired headphones, which means even a simple mic setup can give enough sound reinforcement to allow hearing the drums well enough for most purposes. In a recording situation, they can be your best friend. Their only real drawback is bulkiness, making them impractical and awkward looking for playing during live performances.

If I’m not using headphones, I generally use foam or silicone plugs, or whatever’s available since I haven’t gotten enough advantage from any one ear protection device to use it exclusively. Each have their strength and weakness.
 

k_50

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I'm quite fond of Crescendo plugs. They have an almost even damping effect across the frequency spectrum. And I like that each set comes in two sizes, as I have narrow ear canals and regular christmas tree plugs like Etymotic have always been too tight a fit. Also, the key-ring case is a nice feature.
At work I wear Flare Audio Calmer, which doesn't attenuate sound but decreases resonance in the ear canal of the mid-high frequencies, which trigger the brain's fight/flight/stress response. As a kindergarten pedagogue, I have a very noisy work environment where traditional earplugs aren't really an option. And the Calmers have made a big difference insofar as my tinnitus isn't as present as before, and that I'm much less tired at the end of the day.
 

phdamage

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I can’t help but correct and explain the physics (specifically, psychoacoustics) at work here. The audio engineer side of me won’t let it go.

Gun muffs and drummer headphones (like Ultraphones, which are actually gun muffs) block out a great amount of the high frequencies you’d hear without them. What’s perceived as more bass or low end is actually the same amount of low end that was there before putting on the muffs. It’s just that you’re hearing the sound with a large amount of higher frequencies blocked by the muffs. There is no actual increase in the low end.
i totally understand that (audio engineer, myself). i don't think anyone here expects hearing protection to amplify anything - they "give you more low end" by allowing more through. i consider that a feature of this type of hearing protection.
 

Polska

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I've used a bunch of different ones and lately find Vibes the most comfortable. I have considered custom molds though. For those that have done that, what did you do? Have your doctor recommend an audiologist? Do they do the molds too?
 

Loud

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55yo, tinnitus in my right ear; and currently in a struggle to clear wax buildup
out of my left ear. The Struggle Is Real, yo. And downright aggravating.
I have some hearing loss from years of loud music, headphones, and concerts.

Sometimes when I rehearse with my band I just ball up some tissue paper
and stuff them in my ears.

I can deal with my tinnitus any time. But the wax clog has Gotta GO.
Peroxide on Q-tips doesn't help much. I want the wax gone! :sad:
I use this almost every day to clean out wax. . I really like these because they have the collar to keep me from hurting myself. It takes practice to get all around the ear but it really is better than peroxide. The Walgreens website has another brand that is similar. I haven’t tried that one though.
1613777142815.jpeg
 

MusicianMagic

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I've used a bunch of different ones and lately find Vibes the most comfortable. I have considered custom molds though. For those that have done that, what did you do? Have your doctor recommend an audiologist? Do they do the molds too?
You need to use one recommended by the IEM/Earplugs company. Most have a listing on their website. Not all audiologists, hearing aid dealers or NET doctors do it or know what they are doing. And call and get a price before making the appointment. I've heard of prices from $75 to several hundred $$$.
 

CAMDRUMS

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Custom plugs all the way. They offer the most protection and even attenuation across all frequencies. I wore foam plugs for years and still got tinnitus and hearing loss. You only have one set of ears.
 

Whitten

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In the UK there are a couple of well known IEM companies that also offer moulded ear protection. They can come to your house.
That's how I got mine.
 

JimmySticks

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55yo, tinnitus in my right ear; and currently in a struggle to clear wax buildup
out of my left ear. The Struggle Is Real, yo. And downright aggravating.
I have some hearing loss from years of loud music, headphones, and concerts.

Sometimes when I rehearse with my band I just ball up some tissue paper
and stuff them in my ears.

I can deal with my tinnitus any time. But the wax clog has Gotta GO.
Peroxide on Q-tips doesn't help much. I want the wax gone! :sad:
Forget the Q Tips and just pour the peroxide in your ear.

I lay my head to the side and just fill up my ear canal with it and either lay there for 10 or 15 minutes or stuff tissue paper in and go about my business for a half hour. Just let the peroxide do its thing, and then let it out. Do that a few days in a row and you should be good to go with wax.
 

drumreverie

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I use those custom moulded plugs with interchangeable ER filter.
Best investment i ever made.
They are super comfortable, also in daily use.
I used them for 9 hours straight on a trans-Atlantic flight once, worked very well.
Who makes them?
 

TonyVazquez

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@JimmySticks and @Loud ...thanks guys. I'll try the Peroxide pour.
And that digging tool would also help.

I was listening to music these past couple days, and I'm starting to clear my left ear.
The volume isn't loud, but just a good level so that I can hear the headroom above
the mp3 music in my PC.
I guess the sound waves from my headphones are vibrating the wax loose from
inside my ear canal, because my left ear doesn't feel clogged and I can hear in stereo again!
And just in time, too... because I have to play an incidental show tonight
somewhere in town at an undisclosed location.
 

pjmariner

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When playing out or with others I use the foam plugs.

I original got these for working from home while kids are home, but I love them for drumming too. these are supposed to be 32db cancellation, and work quit well for just noise cancellation, or playing with tunes. The nice thing when playing to music, I don’t have to have level very high in headphones when noise cancellation is on.

There $10 cheaper now too. Good deal, not as good as Bose, but close enough to not want to spend an extra $200+
 

ToBBa

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Who makes them?
I went to a local (i live in Norway) audiograph/ear specialist who made the silicon moulds.
They then sent it away to a Company who made the plugs who again shipped them to me.
Just do a Google search on moulded ear protection to se what is available in your area.
 

Matched Gripper

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My ones are quoted as -21db filters, and as soon as the lockdown is eased and we're allowed back to the rehearsal space, I'll give them a proper road test.
I’ve come to discover that db attenuation ratings on off the shelf products are pretty much not true. Custom molded ear plugs with db rated filters are much more reliable.

Having said that, if you need music in your isolation headphones while playing, I highly recommend GK Ultraphones.
 
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I was born with tinnitus so I've been rocking old school metrophones for practice for 25 years. Luckily the gel filled cups are replaceable because metrophones have tripled in price. They make everything sound awesome unlike the muffled crappy tone of shooting muffs.

metrophones.jpg
 


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