Hearing Problems



I am wondering what is better: isolated EX29 headphones or custom earplugs with a non-isolated headphone. I often play along music.

You can get custom earplugs with little speakers in them, if you have the $$. If that's out of your budget I think isolated headphones are easiest.

I have a hearing problem on the right side, but this is not drumming related. My left ear has a very low hearing threshold, like an ideal ear would have. My right ear's hearing threshold is about 28-30dB higher over most frequencies. This is due to a Cholesteatoma that formed when I was 7 or 8. Long story short, I have a donor eardrum and a long straight connection where the three ossicles once were.


Junior Member
Great Thread,
I'm a new guy here.
Played with no protection on many levels for many years (seems like there should be a rim shot there, cheap shot I know)
Now, when I talk on the phone I have to hold the phone to my right ear and I get a mirrored response of what the person is saying in my left inner ear. Eg; person says "Hey you"
I get a "zzzt zzzt" inner ear opposite side.
So, the moral of the story is of course wear plugs or muffs or something, but do it.
I had the same justification that "it takes away the feel" or "I overcompensate when I wear them' Totally I had the same thoughts.
One thing I've noticed since I wear them regularly is I am more willing to practice, because It doesnt hurt, (duh) and I practice for longer.
The point here is that I used to think that it was the plugs that made me overcompensate, but actually it was the lack of practice.
Now I wear plugs and practice more, my chops are in better shape than ever and when I tour I feel more in control of my volume and everything else too.
So, my big soap box is that the advantage of wearing plugs is that it allows you to practice more. Which means more control over volume. And your meter will be better and fills cleaner, and all the other advantages that regular practice gives. It pays off in more than just saved hearing.
Also I find that it gives me a bit of "mental buffer" when I play live. Which helps me pay more attention to the other musicians better.
I guess I had a lot to say...Sorry for the rant
Peace and holiday cheer to all


Senior Member
just to weigh in here - I'm 49 and have played since childhood. I have made it, fortunately, without some of the more debilitating problems people have mentioned in some of the earlier posts, but I have DEFINITELY noticed a loss of sensitivity in my hearing.

Earplugs are mandatory for me at this point and I should have started wearing them long before I did. Even gradual degradation of your hearing will catch up to you over time, so better to protect yourself before you begin to notice a problem.


Senior Member
Get a pair of Hearo's.

Somehow I didn't completely wreck my hearing from years and years of loud playing... though I do have trouble hear conversations whenever there's much background noise.

Still, having your ears all screwed up for the rest of the day/night after playing isn't much fun either. I use the Hearo's every time I play with the band, now. I feel nicer afterwords, and hopefully have stopped my hearing from getting worse.



Gold Member
...though I do have trouble hear conversations whenever there's much background noise.
i seem to have the exact same problem! good to know I'm not the only one :)

yes as I have already mentioned (its worth mentioning twice) WEAR HEARING PROTECTION!!!!

I know plenty of drummer with bad hearing beacuse back when they were young they thought they were too cool. also I know I'll probably get teased for this but I would recomend wearing ear plugs at concerts too. when I saw Black Sabbath a few years back, I was smart enough to bring them and to my suprise I could hear the mix waaaaay better (I was standing at the front). seriously try it! and if you have long hair that covers your ears, no body will even know ;)


p.s. How many 17 year olds are there here on DW? yikes!!!


Senior Member
I started wearing custom made in ear protection 8 years ago. They were expensive (150 pounds) but they are still going strong and I would not play without them. they have filters in so that you can hear normal conversation and are very comfortable to wear.

My audiologist says that some poeple are more prone to noise related hearing loss than others, its genetic and as I am one of the unfortunate ones i decided to protect my ears.

Been using a metronome alot recently and have decided to for a pair with speakers built in, quite expensive, but worth it to preserve my hearing. You can get a hearing aid for age related deafness, but nothing will help noise related deafness.

The most valuable drums you have are those in your ears--protect them.


Silver Member
what exactly are ears muffs?
Hearing protection that goes around the outside of the ear.

Often sports rifle shooters and lumberjacks will wear them.

I wear them becasue they block out sound better, make the sound form the drums sound less annoying and I can fit i-pod headphones underthem so I can listen to a metronome.

Properly inserted foam-type ear plugs offer more protection than ear muffs. They also attenuate the sound more evenly across the frequencies.
When I put ear muffs on the sound is much quiter than foam ear plugs. These are the kind one would wear when operating a lawn-mower or chainsaw.


Silver Member
ha! thats funny. i use a pair of jet mechanic ear muffs, put them on and you can't hear a guy a foot away from you screaming in your ear. then i run a set of ipod ear buds off the mixing board, couple of drum mics strategically placed and i can hear what the other guys hear better then what i could sitting behind the kit.


Gold Member
I've almost retired completely from drumming due to tinnitus, so yes, protect your ears!

The molded plugs with the filters are outstanding, the best brand is sensaphonics.com. They're worth every penny, once you try them you'll wish you got them a decade earlier. You can actually hear well because of the filters, they're totally unlike foamies in that regard.

Isolation headphones are also great. The best kind (& I've tried them all) are GK music. They're the only ones that truly seal to protect your ears and they have top of the line sony drivers. A lot of pro studio drummers are using these.

Concrete Pete

Senior Member
Hey Crew,

I had tinnitis many years ago that my ear doc said was "permanent". A few years later, it went away. I figure the years of shooting guns without ear plugs, running drag pipes (no mufflers) on my Harleys, and going to too many concerts did the damage.

Nowadays, I've been getting minor tinnitis back, and have begun wearing hearing protection again, usually in the form of foam earplugs (when playing) of full-on headphones when practicing at home.
You can't be too careful, and I'm in my early 50's--my Mom is deaf in one ear, hearing aid in the other. My Dad, (92 years old, and STILL plying drums in bands!) wears a hearing aid in one ear, has normal hearing in the other.

I don't care how stupid it looks wearing ear plugs when gigging, I do NOT want to suffer any permanent hearing loss.

C. P.