best hearing protection

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by music321, Apr 25, 2015.

  1. music321

    music321 Member

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    I was working a show recently that left my ears ringing (again) after wearing foam earplugs. Why in the hell a show needs to be so loud that someone at the back of the venue with earplugs leaves with ringing ears is beyond by understanding.

    Anyway, I need some good hearing protection. The earplugs do a fine job cutting the high frequencies, but don't do a very good job at all cutting the low frequencies. I was looking at earmuffs designed for shooting, such as the peltor tactical sport and the howard Light Impact Sport. First, I don't know if something like this would offer any advantage over the foam plugs. When my entire body shakes from bass lines, I wonder if there is any solution other than a capsule that encloses my entire head. Second, the earmuffs that I mentioned, and other similar models, have amplifiers built in to amplify sounds under 85 dB, but cut sounds above 85dB. In a shooting environment, where there are quiet sounds (talking, etc.) punctuated by intermittent loud sounds of shooting, this works. I don't know if this would work in an environment, like a concert, with constant sound that is too loud. Does anyone have any experience?

    Really, amplifying quiet sounds isn't that big a deal. I'm mainly looking for something that will work better at quieting things down than the earplugs.

    Any ideas? Thanks.
     
  2. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    I've used "Silencio" brand shooters plugs for years.

    26dB of attenuation, ringing ears are never a problem.
     
  3. tonyhay

    tonyhay Silver Supporting Member

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    This might be the type of thing you're talking about. I find them pretty easy to use...they slighly amplify soft sounds (like between songs), and attenuate by either 9 or 15 db once sounds exceed 70db.
    http://ri.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0L...915.html/RK=0/RS=h.iIcg95qZ.jdA2noy2e9nuemWw-

    I also had some custom sleeves made by Sensaphonics, which makes them comfortable for long periods, and ensures proper isolation.
     
  4. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    Go to an audiologist and get custom fit hearing protection.

    I got DefendEar from Westone. The use Etymotic Research attenuators.
     
  5. Tweeker

    Tweeker Supporting Member

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    Sensaphonics "Musician plugs" from my audiologist have served me well. Not too pricey. Well worth it.
    http://www.sensaphonics.com/er-series-musician-earplugs-custom
    Interchangeable filters for varying attenuations. Really makes sense.

    Same thing here:
    http://www.etymotic.com/consumer/hearing-protection/erme.html


    The situation you describe needed 25dB attenuation for sure!!
     
  6. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    +1 on custom molds.
     
  7. amphog

    amphog Member

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    I had ringing ears from a AC/DC show, even with 30db cans and foam inserts. They miced the pyro with pzm's!
     
  8. BlackOne

    BlackOne Member

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  9. Geetarpicker

    Geetarpicker Member

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    I have had tinnitus since the mids 80s and have worn ear plug religiously since then. My ears don't handle much over about 80-90db of level without elevating my normal constant ring levels so I have experimented quite a bit with ear protection. In my case none of the "musicians plugs" have worked out as they simply don't attenuate things enough. That said I have tried custom ear mold plugs, "musicians plugs" as in plugs that claim somewhat less attenuation but a more flat EQ, all sorts of different foam plugs, and even plugs under active noise cancelling headsets even high end pro pilot versions. As far as plugs alone I get the best results (even at bass frequencies) with the Hearos blue 33db cut foam plugs. The important trick though is to lube the plug (I know it sounds gross!) and I typically roll them up, lick them, then put them in just about as deep as possible. As the plugs expand they will start to stick back out of the ears a bit more, but I then typically push them back in some only leaving just enough plug to be able to remove them later. At that point the attenuation is MUCH improved over simply pushing in dry plugs. Sometimes I have to be a little extra careful pulling them out as it can tug on the ear drum and be quite painful if the air tight seal is not broken first. That said, I find pulling the ear lobe down while working the plug a bit can break the seal more gently you just have to be patient and careful. I also tried some official ear plug lube such as Otoease (by Westone) but I found it was quite easy to get such a seal that was hard to remove the plugs painlessly. I found with care I could get just about as good a seal with saliva, but the natural drying made the plugs easier to remove later at the end of the gig. My gut feeling is Otoease is designed more for hard silicone or vinyl ear molded IEMs (where you can break the seal more easily by wiggling the IEM to the side) and is not really for expanding foam type plugs. I guess the best attenuation I have ever gotten was with Hearos blues inserted deep, with my $1000 Bose aviation noise cancelling phones over that. Eventually bone conduction will be your limiting factor with most any plug or even gun muff, and at that point there isn't much more you can do but limit exposure. Hope that helps!
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I use the Westone Custom Molds as well.
     
  11. music321

    music321 Member

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    Great advice. Thanks. I get what you're saying about bone conduction. At some point, it doesn't matter how much noise is blocked from entering the ear from the outside of the head, if your entire skull is vibrating.

    How does all this work with rumbling bass? I tried a pair of plugs rated for 33 dB, that didn't work any better than the cheapo plugs. I'll try the blue plugs you mentioned. I'm thinking I might wear these with shooting muffs.

    Until a Manowar concert, The Who held the title for loudest concert, at 126dB, for years. And this is the result:

     

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