hearing issues...?

ccsimms

Senior Member
I've been wearing the vic-firth isolation headphones since i've been playing but recently i've been letting my left ear outside of the headphones. I do this because i like to partially hear the tone of the drums especially when i'm playing jazz or fusion. i haven't noticed any resultant effects, but can this become an issue?
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Yes. One single exposure to high-frequency noise can damage the ear.

If you are not hearing what you need to hear with those headphones on, get some less isolating earplugs, like the foam or flange variety.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
For many or most of us, it is our secret guilty pleasure to play without ear protection.

I always play better when I don't have ear protection. This is not good though but I'm just being honest.

I duck an ear out of my headphones (when practicing) or play jams and gigs without occasionally because otherwise I can't hear well enough to play solid in the mix.

Believe it or not, I've found that the Vic Firth baffled plugs are the best because they are small and I can adjust them tight or loose depending on how much I'm struggling with the "balance of the mix"

This should be your minimum hearing protection.

If you play all the time without it, it's just a matter of time until the onset of ringing in your ears on your"off time" is bugging you.

It's unrealistic to assume you will always play in monitor mix scenarios and circumstances where if you played with headphones or plugs that you'll hear your sounds like you need to to perform well.

The baffled plugs are the easiest way to have an easily adjustable muffle to the high decibel impact that regular playing has on your ears.

We all do it, although many won't admit it. I play outside my ear protection a lot. It's not good, it's just a reality.
 

crash

Member
I've been using the foam plugs. I just buy them at the hardware store. One problem with them is that they kill the high tones. Once in a while I'll back one partially out, and what a difference it makes. The cymbals sound so much better! I'd be concerned about damaging my hearing if I didn't use ear protection.
I'd like to switch to something that doesn't block the high tones, but just lessens the volume across the sound spectrum. In my situation (playing in a cover band) I'm happy with a 20db sound reduction.
 

Travis22

Senior Member
Wow, I'm suprised at how many of you use ear protection. That's probably one of the greatest things a drummer or musician in general could do. After all, besides your limbs, your ears are about as important to a drummer as anything. I just wish I could join the club, but I just don't like having things muffled when I'm playing. I've tried plugs, headphones, and even cotton, but nothing allows me to hear what I want to be able to hear. Maybe some in-ear monitors...I've heard some good things about those, but then again they probably wouldn't work all that well for practice considering the close quarters we practice in. Oh well...till some great invention comes along that allows me to hear everything I can without protection, guess I'll just take my chances.
 

theindian

Senior Member
The Hearos with the hole in the middle cut out the noise but still let some through. Its a good halfway for being able to hear yourself without going deaf.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
Yes, the Hearos are good and so are many others. For most stuff I just put in a couple of plugs and pull them in and out based on how I need to hear everything.

Nothing worse than not being able to hear yourself when playing with others.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
As someone who played full time in their youth but didn't get tinitus until much later I can say don't risk your ears. While you might not have any effects now except for short term tinitus, hearing damage is cumlative as well as having catastrophic causes.

Temporary tinitus is that ringing in your ears after a show that goes away in a few hours. It's caused by the nerves in your inner ear getting tweaked and they continue to output that frequency even though no sound is coming though from outside. If the irritation is subtle enough, the ringing will go away, but some damage to the nerve remains. Over time, the nerve becomes irreparably damaged and the ringing persists. Or if you're really lucky, it just stops functioning and you can no longer detect that frequency.

Just about anything you put in your ears to protect them from excessive levels is going to change the sound somewhat. The biggest problem for me is the sound of the snare. It's one thing if the cymbals sound a little dull, or scooped out, but when the body of the snare sound is affected, I find myself concentrating on how I'm hitting it trying to make it sound right.

Some things like the Hearoo plugs suck a fair amount of midrange out and drive me crazy. If the gig isn't too loud, a bit of cotton just sounds a little dull, but I can deal with it. I had some Westone molded plugs made with ER 15 inserts and they also sounded scooped and made it difficult to play.

Then I went to Sensaphonics and had another set of molds made along with both ER9 and ER25 inserts. That made all the difference in the world. Way more comfortable than the Westones, and on a whole different planet in terms of comfort compared to universal things like the Hearoos. I try to play with the ER9 inserts as they sound the most natural to me. The 15s are a bit scooped still but workable and I should use them more often. The 25 inserts are the ticket for concerts and such where you're exposed to insane levels by deaf soundpeople and promoters. But when you're on stage with them, it sounds like the rest of the band is in another room along with your kit. Really disconnecting feeling. Again, I should force myself to get used to this as the 25s sound better to me than the 15s and protect my aging hearing better.

These differences in sound between the various ER inserts are roughly like moving a couple of sliders on an EQ one notch up or down. Not dramatic, but noticable. All are far better than any universal plugs and way, way more comfortable to have in your ears for 3-4 hours a night.

For the $150 or so, less than another used crash cymbal, you can keep your ears around to enjoy all that great gear and technique you develop on it.

Why would you not see an audiologist?
 

Migaluch

Senior Member
Wait, your supposed to protect your ears? No, seriously, like i have been playing for a year now and i rarely (muffle?) my ears. I do have a bag of earplugs in my room, so should i use them every time to protect my ears???

Help me. I don't wanna go deaf!
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
As Beethoven said, deafness was a relief from the infernal racket in his ears.

My tinitus is fairly mild. It needs to be a really quiet room for me to hear it unless something has aggravated it. There are folks for whom it sounds like standing next to a jet, 24/7. Some of these folks end up having the auditory nerve bundle cut just so they can get a nights sleep.

Hearing damage is nothing to be joked around about.

I guess being a hearing damage sufferer, is kind of like being a reformed smoker. It drives you crazy when folks don't pay attention to what they're doing to themselves.
 

theindian

Senior Member
I don't really have problem while playing drums with hearing protection. I actually really like the way the drums sound with Iso muffs. My main issue was vocals. I could be really flat & not know it when I was using the foam one or muffs. Thats why I started using the hearos, so I could make sure my pitch was correct.

Any other singing drummers here, what do you use to help you hear your voice while still protecting your ears. I would really like to get some in-ear monitors but that is currently not in the budget atm.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Hmm, most things I put in my ears tend to make my voice resonate in my head. When I used IEM's I needed almost none of my own voice in my mix.

I could see where over the ear cans wouldn't have the same effect as in-ear plugs. Try some molded ear plugs and you'll never look back.
 

Migaluch

Senior Member
I just went on the Hearos site and thought i could use a pair.

Are the High Fidelity Earplugs the ones you guys use? Because there is a "Rock N' Roll" model so which is the one to get???

Are traditional earplugs acceptable?
 
Top