Ear Care

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VineTree
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Ear Care

Post by VineTree » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:11 am

Hey all! New to posting here, been stalking the forum for a bit of time now.

Hopefully I'm not posting this in the wrong forum, but couldn't think of any decent place post and I couldn't find anything posted about it. Which surprised me seeing as how no matter what studio you work in, how much you make, what kind of gear you may have made or bought, your ears are the most important part of mixing and recording sound.

So as the title says, Ear Care. I'm looking for advice on taking care of your ears, learning more about tinnitus (if it is a common problem for audio engineers), and what you do on a daily basis to keep your ears healthy.
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dfuruta
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Post by dfuruta » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:32 am

I wear earplugs whenever I'm around loud music.

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:08 pm

A rule that I unfortunately ignore is "plugs on gigs," if you play live. I do try to wear hearing protection at loud concerts if I'm near the stage area or the SPL is excessive. Studio monitoring at the standard 85-90 dB. Get hearing checked regularly when having check-ups. Wear hearing protection (or headphones with reasonable volume music) when doing non-music/audio related activities (mowing the lawn, working with power tools, etc., etc.).
rehearsals at reasonable volumes; hopefully using in-ears and avoiding blasting monitor wedges and the resulting volume wars. Headphones (with or without incoming signal) when practicing/playing backbeat-style drumset...

GJ

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:10 pm

PS-- I had tinnitus years ago; it's mostly gone and my hearing has really maintained quite well for my age and what I've put my ears through. But I do "feel the pain" of those with permanent damage; try to avoid this at all costs.

GJ

wren
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Post by wren » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:00 pm

I keep a pair of these on my keychain at all times, and they come in handy multiple times a week. When you're mic'ing up a guitar amp or a drumkit, pop 'em in and you don't have to worry about the musician playing while your head is right there. Or if you're assisting someone who's proved to be the kind of person who turns the test pink noise all the way up, finds the speaker isn't working, so goes and plugs the power amp in without turning the noise down (a pet peeve of mine!), you keep them in until everything's set up and working in a predictable way.

And many other uses besides.
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Snarl 12/8
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:42 pm

Has anyone here gone all the way and gotten the custom fit Etymotics? Those $13 ones are the best plugs I've ever tried, but they make me wonder about the custom fit ones.
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Z-Plane
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Post by Z-Plane » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:01 pm

Simple - MAX earplugs offer -37dB and are very cheap in bulk. I leave multiple packs in every bag, box, pocket and vehicle so they are always at hand. I do plenty of work that can hit way above 120dB and I have tried many more expensive plugs yet always come back to these babies. Sonically, the top end takes a huge dip but its amazing how much your brain can compensate for that given ten minutes. Fitting them correctly is more of a trick than you might expect, and more important is to remove with a gentle twist because a vacuum can easily form in your ear canal.

Once fitted I can happily walk in front of a PA while other bands soundcheck, mic up a kit with drummer playing, have all and sundry shout in my ears and its no problem. If you are on the road, the universe becomes a much gentler place at -37dB and you might even get some sleep;)

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roscoenyc
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Post by roscoenyc » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:05 pm

I've had custom molded plugs for years. I just got a new set from Sensaphonics with -9 filters and -15 filters.

The way I look at it you can't afford not to have a good set of ear plugs.

http://www.sensaphonics.com/?p=331

Bro Shark
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Post by Bro Shark » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:33 pm

I have custom plugs. Westone, I think. Love em.

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Scodiddly
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Post by Scodiddly » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:04 pm

Ditto on the Sensaphonics.

I also keep foamies around, in the car glove box, etc.

And if you really get stuck at a loud place with no protection, don't just wad up paper napkins... get the paper wet. The mass of the water absorbs a lot more sound than dry.

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suppositron
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Post by suppositron » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:10 am

Scodiddly wrote:
And if you really get stuck at a loud place with no protection, don't just wad up paper napkins... get the paper wet. The mass of the water absorbs a lot more sound than dry.
Wow. Wish I had thought of that. I did try wad paper in my ears at a show about a month ago. Did not work well.
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RickvH
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Post by RickvH » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:24 am

I've got the custom molded ones, with three different attenuators (-9, -15 & -25). Highly recommended. I'm much more likely to use them than the foam ones, since they have a fairly flat response.

Unfortunately, I got them after the "horse had left the barn". It took me about a year to stop hearing my tinnitus and to stop agonizing over the constant low-level ringing.

I try to keep them on-hand at all times and have some foamies as backups, as I feel really paranoid about sustaining any more damage to my hearing.
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vxboogie
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Post by vxboogie » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:45 am

RickvH wrote:I've got the custom molded ones, with three different attenuators (-9, -15 & -25). Highly recommended. I'm much more likely to use them than the foam ones, since they have a fairly flat response.
I have a pair of the ETYs but have thought about getting custom molds since the -15 filters seem to have a flatter response. The ETYs are so much better than foam plugs, but they still roll off the highs a bit more than I'd like.

RickvH & Roscoenyc - Have you found the -15 filters in yours to be the flattest?
Mark - Listen, turn knob, repeat as necessary...

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Post by goose42 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:04 am

Since I was old enough to go to shows, I've been wearing the same gun muffs I use to mow the lawn. They definitely cut the level enough to be safe, but they block way more highs than lows, so everything sounds muddy - definitely not for pro work. They don't hold a candle to the custom fit guys.

Plus, they can get hot, and you do kind of stand out.
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vxboogie
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Post by vxboogie » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:20 am

goose42 wrote:Since I was old enough to go to shows, I've been wearing the same gun muffs I use to mow the lawn. They definitely cut the level enough to be safe, but they block way more highs than lows, so everything sounds muddy - definitely not for pro work. They don't hold a candle to the custom fit guys.
Funny - When recording drums at home and since I don't have a seperate control room, I use my Futuresonic Atrio in-ear buds with gun muffs overtop to block out enough sound so that I can hear to position the drum mics.

I also use the Atrios when I mow the lawn and since they seal real well, they cut the mower volume tremendously and I can have music on my iPod at a low level and not fatigue my ears.
Mark - Listen, turn knob, repeat as necessary...

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