Protect your ears!

Hey guys - this popped up in my FB feed recently and I thought I’d share it. Paul Gray, the bassist from “The Damned”, is having hearing problems from what looks like excessive stage volume. Stay safe out there!


My dad was a doctor and he always reminded us to protect our hearing. One thing I really love about my ANC earbuds is I always have “earplugs” with me so I often wear them when I’m not even listening to music… shop at work, noisy office, loud coffee shop; it’s really nice to be able to reduce a lot of that noise. When I play, it’s through headphones or IEMs, when I go on long motorcycle rides I always wear earplugs.

The safe limits for noise/sound are: 85 dB for 8 hrs, 88 dB for 4 hrs, 91 dB for 2 hrs…

And if you have hearing issues, always talk with a medical professional; there are a lot of issues besides excessive noise that can cause hearing loss. My mother suffered from tinnitus for several years before they finally figured out that she had Parkinson’s disease.


Brian Johnson’s book is out, and in it he talks about his hearing loss and how he had to leave the tour.

I recently went to a rock concert and stupidly didn’t take ear plugs. Never again! I have some hearing issues and should have been more careful as one of my ears was quite bad that night.


Hearing loss is permanent but ear protection is an often overlooked necessity.

I always tell my students to get a set of earplugs designed for loud noises and I am not talking about the foam ear plugs. You can get good proper ear protection for less than $100.

I have several friends with tinnitus and can not imagine what it is like to hear constant ringing in your ears. One jam I attend has typically 30-40 musicians (no drums) and at that session I always wear ear plugs. On several occasions I have had people try to tell me that they are not necessary but there is always someone that steps up in my defense and tells them that they are wrong and describes their hearing loss caused by not wearing ear protection.


Any examples ? Might be worth investigating…


I suggest doing a search on Amazon. Like selecting a Bass personal preference is a consideration. I have used many types as they do wear out over time.

Here is a link to the ones I am currently using.


Looks good if I were regularly practising at “live” volumes with a drummer I would probably get something like that…

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Hey everybody, let me share my experience and a recommendation:

Earlier this year, I got picked up by a cover band consisting of two guitarist, a drummer, and me. I think I played the first gig or two without any hearing protection but knew that I definitely wanted something. (We don’t use IEMs or anything.) I tried both foam and Eargasm, but neither worked well for me. The foam is of course, very dull-sounding; the Eargasm gives better audio quality, but, because the fit is not precise, I felt like there was a lot of what I can only describe as rattling or buzzing in my ears. (Weird but true.) So, in early August I finally found a company here in the United States, MEE Professional Audio, offering custom-molded earplugs for around $140 and decided to try them out.

In short, I’ve been very satisfied. Not only do the earplugs reduce stage volume, but they fit perfectly, so there’s no weird buzzing or anything, and strangely enough (although, I shouldn’t be surprised because everyone seems to say this) it actually makes everything a lot clearer! I can hear the vocals, the drumming, myself, everything a lot clearer because I’m not getting all of that ambient noise and those useless high-pitched overtones.

I will confess, it has taken a little bit of getting used to — the first or second gig was a little awkward, having the volume “turned down” all of a sudden — but now, four or five gigs in, I can’t stand to play without them. In fact, last night, we were playing a small outdoor venue with stage volume at a minimum (I mean, low volume for a rock band), so I thought I would go ahead and leave the earplugs out. I made it through one song before deciding I wanted the earplugs in, simply for the added clarity if nothing else. It made an immediate difference, and I felt a lot more comfortable the rest of the night.

Again, before I share the ordering process with those of you who are interested, let me confess also that the amount of volume reduction (I’m using the -15dB flat response filters) did make it a little hard for me to hear some of the notes I was playing on the second string at around the seventh through ninth fret. Those notes don’t punch the way 80% of our bass notes do, and just as you can find yourself getting lost in the mix anyway, I felt like I was playing some of those notes a bit blindly. That’s not usually an issue, and it was really only a problem last night because we were guest backing a couple of ladies we don’t usually play with and were doing several tunes we had really never rehearsed. In other words, when I know the song pretty well, the earplugs do not get in the way at all, but if I’m playing something unfamiliar and in a higher register, the attenuation can be maybe be a bit much — which is why I am about to place an order for some -10dB filters ($30) or possibly a whole other set ($90 since they’ve already got my mold on file) so that I’ve got an option for these quieter gigs. When we are at full rock ‘n’ roll, volume, the -15dB is excellent because it makes everything much more tolerable, and yet it still “feels loud.” I just want to try out the -10dB and have that option.

Anyway, I need to go ahead and practice bass, but here’s a quick bit about the process:

I called a few different audiologists and found one that would do the molds for about $30, I think it was. They got me in and out very quickly, then what you do for MEE is send photographs of the molds so they can check to see if it’s a proper mold. Once they OK it, you ship it to them (another $10 or so at FedEx). When the molds arrive at their office, it takes maybe a couple of weeks for processing and production. Looking back, I received them on September 11, having officially placed the order on August 2, so a little more than one month start-to-finish*. And less than $200 all-in, which is the starting cost for the product itself with most other companies. [*That actually includes a slight delay on my end because I forgot to print out the instructions for the audiologist, so the molds were not exactly what the company was hoping for, but they said it would still work. I dillydallied for a couple of days, trying to figure out if I should get them re-done and then finally sent them on as was. Turns out the plugs fit perfectly. They just say that I’d need new molds before ordering custom IEMs if I ever wanted them.]

Bottom line if you’re still with me: Go ahead and invest in custom-molded earplugs. I read a lot of threads with guys like me saying to do so, but I never believed it would be worth the money – until I tried them. They are worth every penny, and they pay for themselves in a single gig (or two at most). MEE is a company I would highly recommend, too. They’ve got a great chat feature where a real human at the company will sit there and answer every question you could possibly ask, and they get the product to you reasonably quickly and at a great price. (Oh, be sure to sign up for the $15 discount; I essentially used mine to more than cover the up-charge for a custom color.)

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