9 Ways to Protect Your Ears and Hearing Health

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AndrewMeronek
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9 Ways to Protect Your Ears and Hearing Health

Post by AndrewMeronek » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:07 pm

Found this article, seems like pretty good advice. IMHO this kind of stuff is required knowledge for any musician.

https://www.earq.com/blog/9-ways-to-protect-your-ears
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
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Matt K
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Re: 9 Ways to Protect Your Ears and Hearing Health

Post by Matt K » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:16 am

Yeah, I've been wearing earplugs pretty religiously the last few months. I ordered a box of 200 like 4 years ago and I still have over half of them, so obviously I hadn't been using them as much until recently. Though it's only like $.10 per pair. I don't toss them when I use them once though... I'm not sure if I should or not since that seems rather wasteful, but they are kind of porous so I'm sure they're growing who knows what inside of them. I can go a week or so on one pair.

At any rate, I typically use them when I'm on the interstate, train, planes, etc. but also in rehearsals now. At first it was weird but after a few rehearsals I'm much more used to it and actually I notice that I'm much more aware of what is going on around me and how I fit into it. Especially when drummers are involved and especially if they're heavy on the ride cymbal. But I also don't typically shove them in all the way. I'll insert them by doing that, but then I'll wait for it to expand in my ear and fully seal and then pull it out a little bit during the first tune. That gives me the ability to let a little extra feedback in but not too much. Still blocks a good portion of the sound. Probably close to 20 decibels usually if I were to guess, instead of the 32(?) rating it has.

The green ones I posted above are the most comfortable ones I've found. They're less rigid than some of the bullet shaped ones so they cause less ear strain from being in the ear. At least that's been my experience.
AndrewMeronek
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Re: 9 Ways to Protect Your Ears and Hearing Health

Post by AndrewMeronek » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:47 am

I use Surefire EP5s. I tried the custom molded musicians' earplugs several years ago and I didn't find that they were really any better than a good set of triple-flanged earplugs. It is important to get the earplugs sized to your ear canals correctly, and your ears may require two different sizes. To small, and they don't protect; too big and they distort sound and give you headaches after too long.

But, more than that, I find it just really refreshing to avoid environments that have sustained loud noise, and where I can't, wear earplugs even if the noise is not so loud as to be uncomfortable. Including highway driving if the car isn't well-soundproofed. Way too many people don't take the risk of hearing damage from long exposure to moderate noise seriously enough - I think this is where most hearing damage people cause themselves comes from. At least with loud concerts, it's obvious that the ears need a break and most of the time people are sleeping afterwards, providing that break. That's not to discount that it's still really important to wear earplugs at loud concerts, too, even though the exposure isn't as long as at (for example) an automotive factory.

I have a set of earplugs in my car, and in each trombone case, and in a tool bag.

I have some small amout of hearing loss (about 20% in each ear, not spread evenly across frequencies) but I think the vast majority of that comes from an incident many years ago when I was doing Army training, and a noise-maker grenade went off right at my feet and I lost hearing for about 5 minutes. :x
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
baileyman
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Re: 9 Ways to Protect Your Ears and Hearing Health

Post by baileyman » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:45 pm

For earbuds, test their loudness by sniffing. If you cannot hear your sniff, they're too loud.

For loud situations, put the earbuds in at no volume. Works great.
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Kingfan
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Re: 9 Ways to Protect Your Ears and Hearing Health

Post by Kingfan » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:02 pm

I use over the ear hearing protectors when mowing, using the chain saw, or working in the garage with my big air compressor on. I use a silicone type ear plug in my right ear at big band rehearsal as the next instrument over is the drum set. Using only one plug during rehearsal has another advantage beside saving my hearing: I can hear myself better with the plug in. Try this - hum a tone, then put your finger over one ear. You can hear the humming better.
I guess the vibrations from the horn act like the vibrations of humming. OK, right now I am imagining trombone players all over the world sitting at their computers humming with a finger in one ear! :D
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are still missing! :D
BflatBass
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Re: 9 Ways to Protect Your Ears and Hearing Health

Post by BflatBass » Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:23 pm

I normally wear hearing aids and since I started playing trombone again, I've been taking them out when I play. I do this because I get a weird buzz in my ear when playing (worse on the bass than the tenor). After reading this article I'm thinking about wearing the foam type (squeeze and compress) at a band rehearsal to see how it goes. The problem with not having the aids in during rehearsal is I miss some of what my conductor is saying. Wearing ear plugs might make it worse. I like what Kingfan said tho (yes, I tried it :lol: ) because in one of my bands we have over 100 members and it's often hard to hear myself so maybe I'll try just one.
We'll see...

Thanx Andrew, good info
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...and now back to your normally scheduled programming.
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