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Using Earplugs and Monitors For a Musician’s Unique Hearing Needs

You have heard the adage about wearing earplugs at concerts, haven’t you? They will protect your eardrums from dangerous decibel levels, and allow you to hear the music more clearly. But when you are a musician, this could present a problem. Regular earplugs won’t let the player hear themselves with the detail they need, but not using them can damage their hearing permanently.

Musicians require something special. They need light to medium protection any time they are not on stage, such as during rehearsals. Too much and the lyrics or some sounds, especially those on the lower or higher ends of the spectrum, will be too muffled to make out. Somewhere in the middle is better, and that means staying away from the more common earplugs on the market.

Luckily, specialty earplugs exist that have been specifically designed for the ears of musicians.

using_earplugs_and_monitors_for_a_musicians_unique_hearing_needsEarplugs That Don’t Stifle The Musician

There are several ways in which musician’s earplugs are different from the common variety. For one thing, they mold themselves deep inside of the ear canal. When placed inside they will form a seal that protects the eardrum by lessening surrounding sound by 20 decibels, which is about ⅓ the average blockage.

By allowing sound to continue to enter the ear, it blocks just enough to prevent damage while still allowing the musician to clearly hear themselves. The depth of the plug also lets them hear their own voice, and get a clearer tone with all entering sounds. Occlusion (a strange, booming sound often heard with commercial earplugs) is eliminated in the process.

While these earplugs are aimed at those who sing or play musical instruments, they are used by many others for the same reasons, including:

  • DJ’s and live entertainers
  • Flight attendants and pilots
  • Military personnel
  • Factory and industrial workers
  • Construction workers
  • Carpenters
  • Athletes
  • Referees
  • Coaches
  • Truck Drivers
  • Racers
  • Teachers
  • Record producers and engineers
  • Concert attendees
  • Sports events attendees
  • Sound and set crews

Monitors For Better Sound Quality

Musicians who want an even better sound quality can turn to custom made – or premade, if they choose – monitors (IEMs). These are the latest pieces of equipment for those who perform live. They fit into the ears and feedback sound as the audience is hearing it, rather than how it sounds on the backend of the projection. So they know exactly what they sound like to those listening, and can adjust for the greatest experience for the audience. All while protecting their ears.

Though the pre-made monitors may be cheaper, a custom made IEM is preferable. If the musician can’t afford a custom fit, they can buy different sized foam inserts that fit into different sized canals.

The Benefit Of Custom Molds By Real Professionals

In the case of either an IEM or earplugs, musicians can’t go wrong with custom orders. A specialist will take a mold of your inner ear, and use it as a design blueprint for your very own equipment that was made for your specific dimensions.

Some people will claim that they are able to do this cheaply, because they don’t have any credentials. But the mold itself is delicate, and has to be made correctly to allow the earplugs or monitor to correctly seal itself within the ear. Only a hearing specialist or audiologist can do this correctly.

Every musician should have a hearing specialist on hand to monitor any potential damage to their hearing over time. Ask your own if they offer custom molds, or to refer you to someone who can.