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Author Topic: Ears - the most important gear  (Read 20531 times)

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Offline checht

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Ears - the most important gear
« on: August 28, 2023, 09:13:30 PM »
Just got my latest audiogram, and it hasn’t changed in 9 years now. That’s a bit odd in terms of aging and physiology, but also great news in terms of the hundreds of shows I’ve seen during that time, many with sound levels peaking at 110db. This confirmed that my use of custom ear plugs has been a win. At least for me, generics didn’t protect enough.

Our ears are the most important link in the recording chain, and worth spending some thought and cash on protecting.

From comparing mics, to finding the sweet spot in a venue, to mixing and mastering, it all depends on hearing. These days I use Etymotics customs with 15db filters, as they’re nearly flat. Show sounds the same with them in, just a bit quieter.

My audiogram is attached below. Huge dip around 4k, somewhat standard w age. The curve is roughly normal for a 70 year old, and I’m 60, so those early years without plugs took a toll. I was an ignorant 23 year old, and stood too close to side fills at Dead shows. Can’t change that, but can hold on to what I’ve still got.

Final note: for folks running Apple pods, one can input one’s audiogram into accessibility on the iPhone, and iOS will run a reverse eq curve to compensate for any loss. Pretty amazing improvement…

Thanks for reading this far; now go get your ears tested, molded, and send away for plugs. You’ll never regret it!

Edited for clarity
« Last Edit: August 28, 2023, 10:56:10 PM by checht »
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Offline robgronotte

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2023, 09:33:00 PM »
How did you get this?

Offline billydee

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2023, 10:34:21 PM »
Here's mine from earlier this year. Same 4k dip which apparently is quite common with age.   :headphones:

« Last Edit: August 28, 2023, 10:37:44 PM by billydee »

Offline checht

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2023, 10:49:39 PM »
How did you get this?
Every other year I have an appointment with an audiologist, who tests my hearing in an anechoic chamber. Also removes any ear wax buildup, a bonus.
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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2023, 05:32:32 PM »
Love the topic title. So true! Thanks for reminding us all!
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Offline RyanJ

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2023, 05:51:54 PM »
I get a yearly hearing test ever since my tinnitus started getting bad. I've worn earplugs at every show I've ever gone to. But I suffer from it whether it's the chronic ear infections as a kid that has made them more sensitive. Or that one time I got popped under the chin by an all american linebacker's helmet that produced my TMJ. My audiologist says it's more conductive than loss through the fibers.

I'll definitely try that airpod upload. Would be cool to see how that sounds. Next time I get a test!
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Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2023, 01:04:14 AM »
I think I have a copy of mine somewhere that showed a bit more than average loss for my age, and slightly asymmetric. My tinnitus comes and goes, but seems to be more situational/health related than overuse. Less sleep, congested, etc leads to much worse tinnitus for a week or two.

Offline voltronic

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2023, 06:53:06 AM »
This is an important thread, and I hope younger folks reading this take it seriously. Remember that exposure time has a big impact on damage potential.

It's also worth noting that a typical audiogram only shows a limited frequency band, mainly the range of audible speech. For those who work with music, it might be worth asking your audiologist if they can do full range tests.

I have used the cheap non-custom Ety plugs since the early 2000's, and they really are great for loud concerts. There's no perceptible HF rolloff and you forget you have them in. I'm a huge fan of the brand in general, and use my ER4XR IEMs in really loud places such as when flying. Over 30 dB isolation makes the engines very quiet. My opinion is that noise isolating is typically more effective than noise cancelling.
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Offline detroit lightning

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2023, 09:12:01 AM »
First damaged my ears at a show almost 25 years ago, have had some tinnitus ever since. Fought using earplugs for a while, but ever since getting fit for some molded musicians plugs years back I've never regretted it. Wish I'd known at 19 what I know at 42, but that can be said for a lot of things...

Good earplugs are absolutely worth it, especially if you're someone who loves music enough to be involved in a community like this.

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2023, 10:15:07 AM »
61 yo. HJAd my hearing tested 2 years ago as my wife insisted. The audiologist came back with a very normal, my rt ear has a slight dip at 4kHz, but she said it was almost "20-20" to cross disciplines.
Said to tell my wife I'm just loud, not deaf!!!

Now, to voltronics point": young people: PLEASE wear hearing protectors!!! anything helps, yes, customs are great, but ANYTHING helps. in the old days (early 1980's, we would use cotton balls if we had no plugs. My mentor in the studio had been an FOH guy for FM productions in the mid 1970's. He was so deaf and had tinnitus badly from working on some loud PA's. I once took a shot in the right ear if white noise while standing on a speaker scaffold. luckily, I had protectors on. Rock n Roll and EDM music can get LOUD. Everyone practice safe hearing strategies.

I currently work at a construction company and they wear these: https://www.amazon.com/3M-Peltor-Skull-Earplugs-120-Pair/dp/B0017X8682     
« Last Edit: August 30, 2023, 01:22:24 PM by rocksuitcase »
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Offline checht

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2023, 10:57:36 AM »
Great point, Rock, anything is better than nothing.

I've advised folks to use their earbuds when they forgot plugs...
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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2023, 11:11:47 AM »

I use these - https://eargasm.com/?gad=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0bunBhD9ARIsAAZl0E31L3CY-4MxLLLFZbTStS5BcuXZEEXWw6SHamzbsvNMd0exs8nk7hIaAmwtEALw_wcB - affordable and effective.

I've forgotten my plugs a few times lately and have to retreat to the back of the room.

I'm due for a visit to the audiologist. Been years.
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Offline aaronji

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2023, 11:36:55 AM »
I really like the Earasers EU standard version (https://www.earasers.shop). Very comfortable, effective, and low-profile. They are "ear specific" (i.e., there is a left and a right one) and curved a little so they fit really well. Leaves the music almost entirely intact.

A few years back, I went to a deafeningly loud show (Caspian); it was heavy enough that my guts were rumbling, but, with the Earasers, not bothersome to my ears. When I left the venue and popped out the plugs, I realized how loud it must have been because all of the other people were shouting at each other. I bought a backup pair a couple of days later...

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2023, 01:25:08 PM »
Great point, Rock, anything is better than nothing.   

I've advised folks to use their earbuds when they forgot plugs...
Love you my brother!
I was told by an Apple genius that the airpods without music will still reduce incoming signals by about -10/15dB. Of course that assumes well fitted earbuds.    ;)
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2023, 01:45:19 PM »
Hear, here!

I've gone through multiple pairs of non-custom plugs that are more balanced than foam plugs, but currently need another set.  Always good to have extra foam ones on hand just in case and nice to have extras for others.  Of the foam plugs, I find the classic yellow barrel-shaped ones to sound more balanced than the bullet shaped ones when used as I mention below. Its not only the shape, the foam material they are made from is different as well.

A few tips on using standard foam plugs, and a good option for when you have none available but need hearing protection-

● Standard foam plugs work much, much better in the perceptual sense if you put them in well before it gets loud.  Your brain then has time to adjust to fully adjust to the change.  Then once the music starts it will sound much more natural and considerably less muffled.  If you wait to put them in until after the music has started and you find yourself thinking "its loud, I should put ear-plugs in", its too late in terms of achieving a more balanced perception of the sound.  The opposite occurs since your hearing mechanism has already taken what precautions it has available to it when subjected to high SPLs and your brain has already accustomed itself to those high energy levels and frequency balance as being "correct" so that insertion of the ear-plugs at that point will cause everything to sound far more muffled.  But do it anyway as its never too late in terms of protecting your hearing!

● I often put them in as audience is arriving and the ambient sound level starts increasing. Once adjusted to the sound I have no problem hearing conversations before the music starts.  The most difficult part is talking to other folks at an appropriate level.  It can be difficult to judge how loud to speak, so its easy to either end up speaking too softly to be heard, or realizing that, over-compensating and talking too loudly.  If you do this and take them out to check or talk more intimately with someone, its is amazing to realize how loud the room becomes before the music even starts.

● Unless very little protection is needed, I find the foam plugs work best, both in terms of protection and in terms of achieving a more balanced frequency perception when fully inserted so that the outside edge is flush with my ear opening and the plug is axially compressed along its full length as well as radially compressed withing the ear-canal.  That maximizes low frequency attenuation with a good seal, while attenuating high frequencies somewhat less than they will be if some uncompressed plug is left hanging outside of the ear-canal.  The response is flatter that way.  Can sometimes be a challenge to dig them back out though.

● If no plugs are available, a method that is somewhat gross, yet works nearly as well is to grab a cocktail napkin or some other piece of paper or light cardboard.  Rip off a square and chew it up good into pulp, then form that into plug and use it like you would a foam one.  The chewing mashes the fibers and the saliva holds it together, creates a far better seal, aids insertion, and makes wearing them more comfortable. If this grosses you out, try it to see how well it works and you may well get over it.  Do it discretely and one else needs to know.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2023, 01:52:25 PM »
Final note: for folks running Apple pods, one can input one’s audiogram into accessibility on the iPhone, and iOS will run a reverse eq curve to compensate for any loss. Pretty amazing improvement…

Check with your audiologist about the safety of this.  Proper correction requires a map of curves that varies significantly with loudness and I believe crest factor as well.  Its more akin to a multidimensional ignition timing controller map than a single curve.  Also, a simple single loudness level curve inversion may end up causing more harm by over accentuating the bands in which you already have loss, aggravating the problem over time.  Not saying it doesn't work and/or is not a good idea, but better to be safe than sorry. 

There was an outfit offering this kind of correction for audio professionals (producers, mixing folks, etc) a decade or more back using a custom measurement map of the user's hearing and some serious outboard gear including dynamic controllers, eq's and controlling hardware, requiring a total outlay of somewhere around $10k or more if I recall correctly and a rack of gear to pull off. I posted about this at TS at one point back when, along with a link to the outfit offering it, although I think at that point the link was to a Wayback Machine stored page as their website was no longer active. The tech for achieving that kind of thing has undoubtedly progressed since and can now likely be achieved at far less cost, but the bottle neck for these king of things is likely all the stuff about getting the inputs, calibrations, and mapping right rather than the cost of the the processing power required, which I'm sure can be handled by the phone.

Its akin to hearing aids, where is the good the bad and the ugly.  Be careful with this.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline aaronji

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2023, 02:38:46 PM »
Not sure I would recommend incubating your oral bacteria in your ear canal. Trapping moisture in there, in general, isn't a great idea...

Offline checht

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2023, 04:57:45 PM »
Final note: for folks running Apple pods, one can input one’s audiogram into accessibility on the iPhone, and iOS will run a reverse eq curve to compensate for any loss. Pretty amazing improvement…

Check with your audiologist about the safety of this.  Proper correction requires a map of curves that varies significantly with loudness and I believe crest factor as well.  Its more akin to a multidimensional ignition timing controller map than a single curve.  Also, a simple single loudness level curve inversion may end up causing more harm by over accentuating the bands in which you already have loss, aggravating the problem over time.  Not saying it doesn't work and/or is not a good idea, but better to be safe than sorry. 

There was an outfit offering this kind of correction for audio professionals (producers, mixing folks, etc) a decade or more back using a custom measurement map of the user's hearing and some serious outboard gear including dynamic controllers, eq's and controlling hardware, requiring a total outlay of somewhere around $10k or more if I recall correctly and a rack of gear to pull off. I posted about this at TS at one point back when, along with a link to the outfit offering it, although I think at that point the link was to a Wayback Machine stored page as their website was no longer active. The tech for achieving that kind of thing has undoubtedly progressed since and can now likely be achieved at far less cost, but the bottle neck for these king of things is likely all the stuff about getting the inputs, calibrations, and mapping right rather than the cost of the the processing power required, which I'm sure can be handled by the phone.

Its akin to hearing aids, where is the good the bad and the ugly.  Be careful with this.

Great to be extra cautious. Don't mean to be argumentative, but do you think Apple would offer this accessibility feature if it were potentially injurious? I kinda doubt it, as they are keenly focused on risk management...
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2023, 07:05:25 PM »
Great to be extra cautious. Don't mean to be argumentative, but do you think Apple would offer this accessibility feature if it were potentially injurious? I kinda doubt it, as they are keenly focused on risk management...

Dunno. ..and I don't take your comment as argumentative at all.  Maybe they have incorporated some kind of loudness mapping which works effectively enough without causing harm.   I'm no expert on this.  Trust your professional audiologist over whatever you read on a recording forum!  Anyone have a link to any technical discussions about what's going on with that Apple app?

Or maybe they felt a need to address hearing loss in long time customers jamming Ipods at overly loud levels for the past two decades?  < Not really, humorous sarcasm intended!




More fundamentally, I'm not convinced that inverting one's measured hearing response is the right thing to do, if that's what the Apple app is doing.  Actually I'm quite sure it isn't.  We are highly attuned and accustomed to the most definitely not flat response of our own pina>ear-canal system.  What we perceive as flat is far from flat as measured at the location of the earphone.  Complicated, yes.  Instead, I think we want to impose on headphones the definitely not flat individualized response of a flat external stimulus as measured at the ears of the listener. 

Correction for hearing loss is a further complication on top that. Do any of you who have had these detailed hearing measurements made consciously notice the measured dip when listening to the world around you in every day life?  Do you consciously notice it when listening to music?  I suspect not because your ear/brain system constantly adapts over time to the new response. Pumping more energy into a region that has measured loss is most likely to be perceived as too loud in that region because it doesn't match the way you hear the natural world around you.  I think this gets back to the dynamic mapping thing.  Its likely that energy in the measured loss regions should be added only below some threshold level and do so progressively - definitely beneath where the signal is no longer perceivable, but how far above I don't really know.  And the target response should be defined by your personal head related transfer function (HTRF) rather than flat.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2023, 07:09:40 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2023, 07:14:25 PM »
..that is getting into headphone calibration specific to the user, which is a topic in which I'm very interested as a way to achieve a more accurate use of headphones in place of monitors for critical listening when mixing, in addition to enjoying our recordings. That's a two part thing.  One part is correcting the response of the headphones (which may be general correction based on headphone model, or a more specific individually measured correction of each driver of a particular pair), the other is applying transfer curves that are specific to the listener.  I still want to try David Gresinger's app which corrects for both.  The user essentially adjusts things while listening through the app until the perceived response through the headphones matches the perceived response of a loudspeaker placed directly in front of the listener, thus incorporating one's personal HTRF as well as the as-worn headphone response into the correction.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2023, 07:26:53 PM »
Not sure I would recommend incubating your oral bacteria in your ear canal. Trapping moisture in there, in general, isn't a great idea...

Yeah I get that, but its a lesser of two evils thing.  Much lesser as far as I'm concerned, as confirmed anecdotally by my own experience - I've done this a lot and have never had any bacterial ear problems from doing so. Its more damp than slobering wet, not inserted more than a half-inch or so into the outer ear canal, and only remains in place for the duration of the show.  But you raise a valid point of concern, and certainly folks with a history of being more susceptible to ear infections might weigh the comparative risks differently.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2023, 02:00:16 AM »

Back in the day Lee, we used to fold Marlboro Lights butts in half and stick 'em in our ears and go up front next to the speakers and listen to loud rock

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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2023, 08:51:13 AM »
That's what the lipstick on them is for
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline voltronic

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2023, 06:01:58 PM »
Gutbucket, I'm very surprised to hear you say that the foam plugs work more uniformly. I have never used a set of foam plugs that didn't massively roll off the treble. In contrast, the Etymotic and similar triple-flange-silicone-with-acoustic-filter type plugs always retain most of the treble detail for me.
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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2023, 07:43:20 PM »
Gutbucket, I'm very surprised to hear you say that the foam plugs work more uniformly. I have never used a set of foam plugs that didn't massively roll off the treble. In contrast, the Etymotic and similar triple-flange-silicone-with-acoustic-filter type plugs always retain most of the treble detail for me.

I thought it was interesting as well, because it confirms my experience with them. I went down the road of Audiophile ear plugs, but the last set I had when fully inserted gave me a odd ringing sound in the treble region that drove me nuts. After a couple different brands, one being eargasm I now resort to foam plugs myself, because I almost always have some near me in my taping bag or wife's purse, and because if I just lightly insert them I can borderline be satisfied with the sound throughout the frequency range. And to double check myself, I remove one sometimes and realize just how loud the show is. So, for me it's the something is better than nothing theory.

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2023, 07:50:25 PM »
Was writing this as BlueSky71 was posting.. Yeah man, that high-mid/treble resonance thing is problematic!..


Volt- Not a more uniform response than the Etys, but more uniform response when used as I mention above (fully inserted, compressed both axially and radially), than as typically used with them not fully inserted and some uncompressed foam hanging out of the ear canal.  Full insertion and compression maximizes bass attenuation while slightly decreasing mid attenuation and at least not increasing high attenuation further - so it makes the response somewhat flatter that way.  That helps deal with overly loud subwoofer content which is a bane to me.

The Ety's and similar designs are flatter and great for not so loud stuff, but I frequently need/want more attenuation than they provide, especially of low bass.  And some of them have a response that doesn't work well for me, as I get an upper midrange resonance thing with them. 

I used to dream about the ultimate ear plugs combining physical occlusion (which attenuates more than well enough at mid and high frequencies) with active noise-canceling (albeit with sufficient headroom) as it can in theory attenuate low frequencies to a greater degree than can be achieved by an ear canal occluding foam plug, and an active "bleed" past the occlusion over which one had control of the level, making them useful at a far wider range of SPL levels.
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Offline checht

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2023, 08:08:01 PM »
I have found the Ety custom musicians earplugs to work very well for me. Available with up to 25db cut, I use the 15db filters as they're a bit flatter. See curves in the attached picture.

With my particular physiology, ear topology, and hearing loss, I perceive the sound with them in to be indistinguishable from no plugs, just quieter. After a couple decades with plugs that attenuated the mid-highs, I ofter forget I have anything in. Yeah, they're super comfortable for me, for hours at a time.

They have noticeably increased my enjoyment at shows.
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Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #27 on: September 01, 2023, 10:25:29 AM »
^yep, customs are the play. I can’t stand universal earplugs, and foam are even worse. Had molded plugs for near a decade at this point and will never go back

I used to dream about the ultimate ear plugs combining physical occlusion (which attenuates more than well enough at mid and high frequencies) with active noise-canceling (albeit with sufficient headroom) as it can in theory attenuate low frequencies to a greater degree than can be achieved by an ear canal occluding foam plug, and an active "bleed" past the occlusion over which one had control of the level, making them useful at a far wider range of SPL levels.

You’re basically just describing modern ambient in ears, just backwards. Full spectrum isolation, with an ambient microphone on the outside that can be dialed in at the desired level.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2023, 10:28:45 AM by opsopcopolis »

Offline guitard

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2023, 10:50:59 AM »
I've forgotten my plugs a few times lately and have to retreat to the back of the room.

Same for me; I've forgotten them a few times.  And there have been a few times where I had them, but just forgot to put them in (at a jazz show, for example).  Unlike in the good ol' days, when I walked out of the show with my ears ringing if I didn't where ear plugs, it doesn't seem to be nearly as bad these days.  I think it's because sound systems have improved a lot over the years and can deliver nice audio without blasting the room.  That's not a factual statement though; just my impression.
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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2023, 12:33:01 PM »
Just got my latest audiogram, and it hasn’t changed in 9 years now...

Thanks for reading this far; now go get your ears tested...

Your post intrigued me, Checht, so I did what you suggested.  I got my ears tested.  I'm 62 with no noticeable hearing issues but I thought 'what the h*ll, get a test and use it as a baseline to monitor things going forward'.  Just back from the shop and OMG!  My hearing impairment is 'moderate' in my right ear and 'severe' to 'profound' in my left ear.  I had no idea.  When I asked if I was in hearing aid territory they said "most definitely".  This comes as a complete surprise.  Not what I wanted to hear but definitely what I needed to hear (no pun intended).  So I'm now on a completely unanticipated journey - which takes me into the land of hearing aids and trying to understand which is best, which works with headphones, etc. etc.

Checht - I would never have even thought about this unless I had seen your post.  So a massive thanks to you.

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2023, 05:49:04 PM »
Wow, what a crazy story. Best wishes figuring out the hearing technology world.

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Offline yltfan

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #31 on: September 07, 2023, 06:05:57 PM »
I was at a show last week that was way too loud. I found it painful to listen - even with my earplugs. I was curious, so I downloaded an app, and measured a steady 105dB, with peaks over 115dB (obviously, no idea how accurate that is). This was at the back of the room, I'm sure it was much louder in front of the speakers.

The next day, I messaged the club to ask if it was always that loud. I expected a more hostile response, but instead the reply was one of gratitude and apology. They explained that it was a fill in sound tech, and they also thought it was too loud. And then added, "But that being said even with our guy behind the board we really need to be safe for everyone long term. I am going to order a decibel meter now and talk to the team about how we can make it a solve this. Give me a week or two and then any show you would like to come to i would love to put you on the list to hopefully give us a second chance."

I'm not sure this is the kind of response that folks will always get, but it's worth a shot...
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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #32 on: September 07, 2023, 06:40:54 PM »
That's great.

I wish clubs would make earplugs available to anyone who wanted them, for sale with the beer and merch.. or simply free for the asking. 

Reminds me of the apples of yore at the Fillmore, although I don't think they do that anymore, and they wouldn't fit in folks ears anyway.
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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #33 on: September 08, 2023, 10:20:14 AM »
I wish clubs would make earplugs available to anyone who wanted them, for sale with the beer and merch... or simply free for the asking.

They were selling the orange foam ear plugs at a big corporate amphitheater I went to last week for $2.  That profit margin probably beats what they make on $5.25 bottles of water that they purchase in bulk for less than 20 cents a bottle.
 
It seems like if there is anyway possible to monetize something that's related to the concert experience, the venues will.
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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #34 on: September 08, 2023, 10:41:07 AM »
$2 is fine. Glad they had them available. The majority of the cost to a big corporate amphitheater for an item this cheap is going to be dominated by handling/labor and not the cost of the product.  I suspect that mostly covers costs more than being a profit item.

I'm somewhat surprised more places don't offer them to anyone who asks simply as a relatively inexpensive form of liability protection.  Although maybe they don't want to frame it that way.  Might doing so be interpreted as acknowledging that they is liability?  Any legal minds here with a take on this?
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Offline aaronji

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #35 on: September 08, 2023, 11:11:46 AM »
I was in a venue the other day that had earplugs in a gumball-style machine. I think they were €1.50 or €2 and you could use a debit card or coin. Actually, I think most, if not all, Dutch venues have plugs available; often, you can even order some when you are buying tickets.

I bought a 20-pack of foam plugs a few years back and have them scattered all over the place (in suitcases, toiletry bags, jacket pockets, taping bag, briefcase, etc.). Even if I forget my good ones, I almost always have a back-up...

Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #36 on: September 08, 2023, 12:16:36 PM »
I see a fair amount of venues of all size either selling or giving out plugs these days. Some just have them sitting on the bar in a plastic container to just grab from, sometimes at merch for a buck or two. Seem them in the bathroom in a condom style dispenser too

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #37 on: September 08, 2023, 03:30:44 PM »
I see a fair amount of venues of all size either selling or giving out plugs these days. Some just have them sitting on the bar in a plastic container to just grab from, sometimes at merch for a buck or two. Seem them in the bathroom in a condom style dispenser too
I'm guessing West Coast or somewhere not where I typically tape in the Northeast?
« Last Edit: September 08, 2023, 09:31:54 PM by rocksuitcase »
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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #38 on: September 08, 2023, 05:52:38 PM »
I always ask for the Etymotic plugs as a cheap Christmas gift EVERY year, and started stockpiling them everywhere (every taping bag, car glove box AND car console, and a pair near my wallet and keys) that way I never forget. I'm gonna order a bin of the foam ones as I've been using those for shitty openers then switching to Etymotic for bands I like. A bit overboard but worth it IMO. I personally haven't noticed odd frequencies with the Etymotics, my ears (actually the brain) adjust very quickly and I'm guessing compensates for what's lacking. Definite high frequency roll of with the foams.
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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #39 on: September 11, 2023, 05:17:02 PM »
What a revolution it was to walk out of a venue with earplugs after the show and be able to hear clearly. It's nice to not have my ears be ripped to shreds during a loud show. I did start wearing them late and ended up with a mild case of tinnitus (gotta sleep with a box fan on or wait for the A/C to kick on and buzz). It's now important to me to keep my hearing safe that I even stole half a box of construction earplugs from my job. They're orange foam tips and tethered with a blue cord.

I'm remembering this one show that I went to last year where I saw this kid (maybe like 14?) lose his earplugs and he was wondering the crowd with his hands over his ears. Even though I was taping both video and audio, I sacrificed the footage for a portion of a song to dig through my bag and give an extra pair of earplugs to him. Never seen such an expression of gratitude from someone.

Also, foam > silicone. Silicone tips have always hurt my ears, and the final straw was trying out the Loop earplugs. The pressure of pulling one out felt like my eardrums were being ripped apart. Thank god they came with foam tips. Felt much better, plus had a similar noise cancellation effect as Shure SE215's. I also say the same with Apple AirPods. I never liked how the noise cancellation felt on my ears (it did do a good job of repelling noise), and the $20 foam tips I got reduced that high pressure feeling + keeping the job of repelling noise.
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Offline fireonshakedwnstreet

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #40 on: September 11, 2023, 08:58:09 PM »
Very important discussion. I have a bunch of foamies in my gear bag. I always offer them to people too. Some shows are scary loud!
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Offline Axe

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #41 on: September 11, 2023, 09:00:21 PM »
Gutbucket — the Fillmore still has apples, and last time I was there I think they were Honeycrisps!!
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2023, 09:30:13 AM »
Oooh fancy apples!
Great to hear that.
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Offline unclehoolio

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #43 on: October 02, 2023, 03:23:34 PM »
It's also worth noting that a typical audiogram only shows a limited frequency band, mainly the range of audible speech. For those who work with music, it might be worth asking your audiologist if they can do full range tests.

I just had an audiologist exam at end of August, and had the extended high end assessment done in addition to the normal one.  See attached merged graphs.

I'm 52, and she said that my curves were normal for my age*, although i do have slightly better than average/normal/expected between 8k-10k.  Slight decrease in sensitivity for my left ear (X's) as compared to right (O's).  This doesn't surprise me, as I have another hobby besides concerts/live music which can also be hard on the ears: scuba diving.  And while it has (like live music) given me many amazing experiences and memories, it has also given me more than a few ear infections--more often in the left than the right (although I've never had any problems equalizing either ear, knock on wood).  I think that structurally my left ear canal/eustachian tube is narrower than right, which plays a role in causation--I have to be very diligent to flush and treat my ears after each dive, otherwise by day 3, I'll have otitis media.  Which is not good when I'm on a 9- or 12-day diving trip!  Also, I grew up in the south and hunted/fired guns quite a bit in my youth, sans hearing protection, so there's that...

(*Note that 'hearing loss' starts normally by the early 20s, which is the age that basically everyone loses the ability to hear the 18k-20k range, due simply to what happens structurally to the ear as we age.  And the drop-off continues moving into lower frequencies as age increases, which is why my audiogram looks like a LPF has been applied at 10k, and also shows <null> values above 14k.)

As for earplugs:  I currently use the Eargasms and Etymotics, but have a slight preference for the fit of the former.  I just had full silicon molds made ($50), but have not yet pulled the trigger on full customs yet--still exploring my options here (e.g. MEE vs TLS)


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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #44 on: October 02, 2023, 06:21:29 PM »

I just made my first ever appointment with an audiologist thanks to this thread. I'm very interested to see the results to compare to what I think is happening. I recently thought one of my speakers had some problems with the tweeter but I think my high frequencies are just way down on that side.

My older brother had to start wearing hearing aids around the same age that I am now. I'm doing alright but this is way overdue.
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Offline fanofjam

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #45 on: October 06, 2023, 09:56:38 PM »
Every other year I have an appointment with an audiologist, who tests my hearing in an anechoic chamber. Also removes any ear wax buildup, a bonus.

Here in California, apparently an audiologist can't clean your ears.  Guy told my Dad he has a slight buildup in one ear and he has to go to a Dr.  This state can drive you nuts about that type of thing.

Offline guitard

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #46 on: October 08, 2023, 09:06:30 AM »
Every other year I have an appointment with an audiologist, who tests my hearing in an anechoic chamber. Also removes any ear wax buildup, a bonus.

Here in California, apparently an audiologist can't clean your ears.  Guy told my Dad he has a slight buildup in one ear and he has to go to a Dr.  This state can drive you nuts about that type of thing.

A few years ago, I found myself at an urgent care clinic for a build-up in one of my ears.  I'm not sure what you would officially call him, but the first person who saw me was not a nurse; probably a medical assistant.  He got one of those spray bottle ear wax removal kits and blasted my ear several times with warm water mixed with something.  That didn't do it, so in came a PA.  She got to digging with a gizmo with a camera on the end of it (bonus: the asst held up an iPhone displaying the camera video for both of us to watch).  Had me fixed up in no time.  I don't remember a doctor being directly involved.  This was in Michigan.
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Offline aaronji

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #47 on: October 08, 2023, 09:42:07 AM »
Usually, mineral oil will do the trick to keep your ears wax free. My doctor wife first told me about it, but it is listed on many professional websites, including from HealthBC and Harvard. There are also OTC products, such as Debrox.

Offline checht

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2023, 12:57:50 PM »
Scope of medical practice is legislated state by state, oddly. So ymmv in terms of who does what.

In OR, audiologgists can perform ear wax removal and general clearning. My audiologist has the otoscope hooked to a 50" tv, quite cool to observe into the canal 😀
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Offline RyanJ

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #49 on: October 08, 2023, 01:07:00 PM »
I'd rather go to an ENT if I am going to get my ears cleaned.

Nice thing is my ENT doc also has an audiologist in their office. So everything can be done in the same office!
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Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #50 on: October 18, 2023, 02:48:52 PM »
Speaking of ear health, this is a pretty sweet new product

https://www.sensaphonics.com/collections/audio-gear/products/db-check-pro

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #51 on: October 18, 2023, 03:00:58 PM »
Nice!

I realize that's targeted at musicians monitoring through IEMs but IMO that functionality really should be a standard feature built into most phones.
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Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #52 on: October 18, 2023, 04:27:41 PM »
Agreed for sure. They've greatly expanded the range of products that it can work with, so that's a start. Tempted to buy one for the band I work with, but they're all on generic ears and I kinda doubt this will work...

Offline nassau73

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #53 on: January 30, 2024, 04:47:08 PM »

As for earplugs:  I currently use the Eargasms and Etymotics, but have a slight preference for the fit of the former.  I just had full silicon molds made ($50), but have not yet pulled the trigger on full customs yet--still exploring my options here (e.g. MEE vs TLS)

I've been using Etymotics for years after hearing about them in various posts here at TS. I assume you are using the High Fidelity version of eargasms. How do they compare with the Etys as far as cleanliness of the sound?

Also, does anyone have any experience with Alpine Party Plug? Interesting info at the Alpine website. They have models that are 21db reduction and also 19db. Etymotics currently says their reduction is approximately 20db.

Offline checht

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #54 on: January 30, 2024, 06:03:19 PM »
...Etymotics currently says their reduction is approximately 20db.

Etymotics Musicians Earplugs use 9,15, or 25db filters.
MK41s, MK22s; Vanguard V1s matched pair; Niaint x8
Schoeps kcy5, nbob actives
Naiant PFA 60v, PFA 48v, IPA
Sound Devices MP-6II; Sony PCM-A10

Recordings at LMA

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Ears - the most important gear
« Reply #55 on: January 30, 2024, 06:29:08 PM »
I forget how they measure it, it might be the maximum reduction, or at 1kHz, or perhaps some kind of weighted average.

In any case, the actual reduction is not constant across all frequencies, and will vary depending on how they are used.  That's what makes any two plugs from different manufacturers sound different, sometimes dramatically, even though they might state the same attenuation figure.
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

 

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