Hearing Protection

Not at all. It’s not a tight enough seal.

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Yes but more like the ones Josh linked to - with the push/pull thing in the middle.
I got a big bag of them off ebay.

I bought them originally for motorcycling, as wind noise fatigue can be an issue, but then when I started with the bass I always have a couple of pairs in my accessories bag when I go to play with people.

I’ve never had any problems getting them back out again.

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I had a problem with them being TOO effective, where everything was muddled and I couldn’t talk to my bandmates without taking them out.

Then I found these ones and they’ve been awesome. They are made for musicians and I can tell. And they aren’t expensive like custom ones.

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Just wanted to reply from the standpoint of a musician who has suffered a good amount of hearing loss over the years (about 45 real years, being subjected to mostly acoustic - as opposed to electronic - high volume levels) to use me as an example of what NOT to do – be cavalier about your hearing.

I struggle, and often give up, on regular conversation. Multiple conversations going on at once cause me to flee the room. Just can’t tolerate it. Watching television, I’m relegated to hearing the audio only with headphones. Regular speakers are hopeless. It’s affected my job to the point that I had to retire because I couldn’t hear what was going on in meetings, on teleconferences, etc.

Yes, I have hearing aids but I hate this particular pair I have. Way too much feedback and they feel like I have a 3 oz. chunk of ear wax dangling out of my ear (sorry for the graphic description, but it’s the truth).

Strong recommendation – whatever gear you use, USE SOMETHING to safeguard your hearing. Don’t do what I did – subject myself to trumpets and snare drums at high volume levels, only to get on a bus with a godawfully loud Cummins diesel in the back and ride for another two hours back to the yard.

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Thanks for reinforcing that.
I’ll go to a band practice soon. I don’t know how loud it’ll be and I have enough time to get me some earplugs. This thread has already been very helpful.

This comment irritated/confused me after looking for earplugs. They start at -16db in my region as far as I can tell. Is this maybe some EU norm that it has to be at least -16db or something or is it just a different notation of filter levels?

Currently I would go for this set from alpine.
Comes with 3 different filters, looks really nice, has a necklace-thingy and a transport/storage box.

Then there’s this German company creating “custom” plugs for acceptable prices (36€, 49€, 59€ for 1,2,3 pairs respectively) though I don’t know yet what the SNR 26db rating means. Maybe I’ll look it up and summarize for my European peers.
Custom in this case means that you send them a photo so they fit it to your ear. I have doubts how good they can customize/adjust the earplug for you just by a photo. Could be that there are also options to get fitted by an audiologist and order!? I don’t know.

On the one hand it would be easier if I would know how loud it is in the practice room of the band and on the other hand I don’t want to destroy my ears just because I didn’t know the exact value beforehand so currently I am tending towards the alpine model as it has exchangable filters in 3 levels.

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I think that’s a good way to go.
I have lost two sets of custom fit plugs (where an audiologist fits you with an injection mold).

That sucks.

Now I go with the ones I can afford to lose.

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@eric.kiser

Thanks for starting this thread Eric! I’ve been thinking about ear protection for awhile and all this info was a great reminder. I just play live once a month (rehearsal room practice) with other people- and no problems so far, but I have read many many horror stories over at the Talk Bass Forum. We are loud, but not performance level loud. However, the room is not huge, and I do normally stand fairly close to the drums.

There is a radio host (about my age) here locally for a sports radio station I’ve been listening to for years. About 10 years ago he spent about an hour in the pit area at our local NASCAR track. He was not wearing any ear protection- and that one hour has basically ruined his hearing for life. He said once he got back into his car and closed the door to quietness, he instantly knew something was wrong… ears were ringing and he felt nauseous. After 10 years, and many visits to experts, doctors, audiologists, etc. he still has problems. He has to sleep with “white noise” machine just to escape the hum/ringing, and at times it has literally almost drove him crazy. I know that is an extreme case, but over at the TB forum there are tons of testimonials from bass players with life long problems. I think once your cilia are damaged, there is not much that can be done.

I just ordered some Earasers from musiciansfriend. They were about $40 and I did not get the maximum protection version- I want to still be able to hear more clarity, but still minimize some of what is getting through. (so I am hoping these will be the ticket for practice)

Thanks again for starting the thread, and thanks everyone who has contributed info. I love plugging my bass into that big amp in the rehearsal space and rattling the walls a bit, but not worth worrying about ear damage!

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My hearing protection arrived and overall I’m happy. They feel okay in my ear and I can still hear everything as far as I can tell. I was even a little bit like: “Does it even lower the volume?” but I tested it with headphones and yes. Yes it does.


I like the little bag with zipper. I can store it in my gigbag and always have hearing protection ready. Also the different filters fit really good in there so you don’t have to worry about losing them.

My two critique points: If you put in an extra plug because the plugs aren’t expensive to make why not put in TWO extra plugs so I don’t have to change filters? I guess it has to be so it can be effective but it’s a hassle exchanging the filters on those things and just a second pair of earplugs would mean I could more easily change. If I continue using them and find the need to change between filters I will probably buy another (cheaper) set from the same manufacturer. Maybe that’s why only 1 reserve…

Second one is a bit of whining on a high level: I don’t like the cord. It feels cheap and as if it would tear at a moments notice. Then again the use of it should be that you don’t lose the protection if it falls out and that works I guess.

If anyone is interested in the measured protection values of the Alpine MusicSafePro:

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I received my earasers - but just have not had a proper chance to test them out yet. My band has not practiced since June. (Vocalist’s husband had a rough go with Covid, but has since recovered.) We are scheduled to meet up again on the 25th of August. So if that holds up, I will report back with a review!

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I find this article also very much useful as they discuss about Things which we need to Consider Before Buying a Hearing Protector.


Its important to know for any newbie to know these things. Factors like
Reduction in Noise Level
Fit and Comfort
Durability
Weight and Portability
Type of Hearing Protection You Require
I also recommend to read about What is the OSHA standard for hearing protection? mentioned in FAQs section as its pretty well explained.
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This is what I use. You can see their attenuation chart at the link. Flat attenuation across all frequency range, with low standard deviation. This is the effect you want. And these are custom fit, molded to your ears via hot water.

edit/ There’s a lot of fantastic info in this thread. Thank you so much for compiling it and sharing it.

While this particular brand works for me, I’m sure everyone has their own features and qualities they look for.

Sorry for the high-handed initial response.
/edit

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@JoshFossgreen

When I looked at the Hearos specs they talk about two dB reduction ratings on the same filter. Can anybody explain why?

Here is what the Hearos Amazon ad says:

  • RELISH THE NUANCES of music without hearing loss. Our noise cancelling ear plugs deliver flat attenuation so you hear music as it is intended, but with elimination of up to 12 dB of potentially damaging sound.
  • SEALS OUT damaging noises with 3 form-fitting flanges. HEAROS High Fidelity Ear Plugs reduce noise by 20 decibels, protecting your hearing from city traffic, band practice and construction equipment.
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This was the only UNOFFICIAL answer on Amazon that really came close to answering the question, but still not really a perfect answer.

The official noise reduction rating (NRR) is 12 dB which is created by a lab. That’s in a perfect scenario, so users would get approx half of that, so without a personal fit test the average person would get more like 6 decibels of reduction.

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6dB is still four times less sound energy so that’s significant.

20dB would be hard to believe - that’s over 100x less.

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yeah, 6db for something that is clear and looks comfortable, and only $9 or something like that. Sounds like a good choice.
Plus Josh put a stamp of approval on them, and that counts for alot.

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@T_dub

At Amazon Canada these are just over $30.

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Those Hearos ones are a spitting image of the 3M ones I have (don’t go by the preview pic, its wrong). Basically the same specs. And the 3M ones are no longer on their website. I wonder if they did an exclusive deal with them or something.

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I have always had an issue with keeping earbuds in my ears.
Alpine MusicSafe Pro Hi-Fi plugs are the ones I was going to purchase but they are around $40 and I did not want the hassle of ordering the wrong size
SO
After a lot of searching I decided my best bet was the following ear plugs.
The main reasoning here was because they were 1/2 the price of anything similar and they supply all the sizes in one order (which is my main reason) AND you can purchase 10 replacement tips for under $20.
I have not seen any bad reviews but we’ll see how they are.

Etymotic 1

Etymotic High-Fidelity Earplugs, ER20XS Universal Fit

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