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Author Topic: Study: earplugs for everyone  (Read 2162 times)
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Torobone

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« Reply #40 on: Nov 26, 2017, 04:47AM »

A long time ago I got into a habit that I think has saved my hearing.  I wear earplugs AFTER the gig, driving home.  That allows recovery time, which is effective.

I found early in my career with a rock band that I would listen to music on the way to rehearsal but I would turn it off on the way home.

I believe a study I heard many years ago that it takes 8 times longer for the ear to recover from the duration of a loud noise.

Also, symphony musicians seem to suffer greater hearing loss from high frequency instruments like piccolos and violins than from loud instruments like tympani and trombones. It might be safer to be a rock musician provided the duration can be controlled.

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« Reply #41 on: Nov 26, 2017, 07:05AM »

A long time ago I got into a habit that I think has saved my hearing.  I wear earplugs AFTER the gig, driving home.  That allows recovery time, which is effective.

Wow, why haven't I tried this? This sounds like a great idea!  Good!
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« Reply #42 on: Nov 26, 2017, 10:42AM »

First off, I think some of us are overestimating the volume of a symphony orchestra.


You are correct when speak about duration being a bigger factor than volume. The district I work in has a full time audiologist. We are are requiry to have our hearing checked every year. I have also had state L&I officials follow me for a day.  The levels I experience are much higher than what is recommended, but because of the large amounts of time between classes (Itinerate elementary band) it is evened out. BTW, the person from the state recommend that I do exactly what Doug does; keep things quiet in the other areas of your life.
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« Reply #43 on: Nov 26, 2017, 01:29PM »

I have a set of decent earplugs that I wear when in situations that require it, mostly big band rehearsals/gigs. They change my sound perception enough that I don't wear it unless its absolutely necessary, so I only put them on when the charts call for the ridiculous lead trumpet fireworks, or if the trumpet player somehow ends up with his bell 3/4 in away from my ear.

I only started wearing them after an incident where our university big band had to play in a bar setting crammed into a corner... A loud lead trumpet soli came and I felt a short sharp stinging pain in my ear for half a second and then my ears were ringing after the gig. I did what Doug did and as soon as I got off the gig, I went home and went straight to sleep in complete silence. That seemed to have helped. My hearing tests are still as good as they were before the incident, so I think maybe that had something to do with it (although I didn't realize it at the time).

I would like to try the "hearing aids with a limiter" at some point to see how effective those are for myself.
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« Reply #44 on: Nov 27, 2017, 01:37AM »

A long time ago I got into a habit that I think has saved my hearing.  I wear earplugs AFTER the gig, driving home.  That allows recovery time, which is effective.

I almost never wear earplugs on a gig, but I've been experimenting with some options.  Etymotic makes some electronic "earplugs" that I like.  They're more like hearing aids with a limiter.  Everything sounds almost normal at lower volume or even for conversation, but at increased volume it still sounds the same, not louder.  The perception of your own sound is closer to normal than it is with regular earplugs.

https://www.etymotic.com/consumer/hearing-protection/mp915.html

They're not cheap but it's better than losing your hearing, and I like them a lot better than earplugs.

Thanks for sharing, Doug. These plugs are fascinating! For bands that cover a wide dynamic range (i.e. not simply a loud rock band) these sounds like a good concept. Given the expense, I'll do a little more homework, but I'm tempted.

Andrew
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #45 on: Nov 27, 2017, 01:43AM »

They do use hearing aid batteries, and there's no real convenient way to save the batteries when you're not using them except to to open the battery compartments between uses.  I find it nearly impossible to handle those tiny batteries.
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« Reply #46 on: Dec 03, 2017, 03:58AM »

Talking about hearing, I'm reading a book at the moment by Len Beadell.  Len was a Government surveyor who in the late 1940s and 1950s, surveyed and supervised the construction of the first roads through the desert country in the centre of Australia to Western Australia.  The requirement for this road construction was partly driven by the British and Australian Government's plan to construct a rocket range at Woomera in South Australia.

Once the location for the rocket range had been decided, an airstrip was constructed and supplies for the road and construction crews were flown in by DC3.

In the course of construction of the roads, Len met a few groups of Aboriginal people who had not had previous contact with Europeans and others who had recently come into contact with cattle men.

He mentions a few times how the Aboriginals knew a plane was approaching at least 10 minutes before anyone else was aware of it.

The author doesn't say so but I think this is because the Aboriginal's hearing at that time would have been unspoilt by contact with noisy machinery or for that matter, entertainment equipment.

Perhaps we don't realise how much of our aural sensitivity has been lost simply due to the western lifestyle.

Just a thought.

 
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #47 on: Dec 03, 2017, 06:56AM »

Well, yeah...

Hey, if a didgeridoo isn't "entertainment equipment," what is it?
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« Reply #48 on: Dec 03, 2017, 11:38AM »

Well, yeah...

Hey, if a didgeridoo isn't "entertainment equipment," what is it?


Ha!  So true.

Played rock gig last night that was so loud I had to put in earplugs just to hear myself.  With a monitor!
It was top 5 on my loudest gigs list😂. 

The plugs saved my hearing......

DD
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« Reply #49 on: Dec 04, 2017, 05:09AM »

Well, yeah...

Hey, if a didgeridoo isn't "entertainment equipment," what is it?

That's a pretty good classification for it.

You couldn't call it loud when played in its natural setting.

In the context I mentioned previously, that would have been the loudest man made sound that they were subjected to.
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« Reply #50 on: Yesterday at 01:38 PM »

This is a better write up of the study:

https://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/news/ear-plugs-essential-orchestral-musicians-study-finds/

My problem with it is that they seemed to make some assumptions that weren't warranted.

The fact that these levels are produced by the players’ own instruments alone means the hazards are present regardless of screens or positioning, rendering earplugs the most effective option for hearing protection.


They seemed to ignore the fact that brass instruments are highly directional. We all know that it's much louder in front of the bell than behind the mouthpiece. The study doesn't seem to take that into account at all.

Another problem:

“A hypothetical scenario with surround screens shows that, even when shielding all direct sound from others, sound exposure is reduced moderately with the largest effect on players in loud sections."

O.K., but the smart way to do it is to have screens behind players to protect them, not putting screens around the loud instruments. For example, instead of putting a screen in front of the trumpet, you put a screen behind the oboe player, or whoever is affected by the sound coming from the trumpet. The study doesn't seem to have modeled this at all. I much prefer having a sound shield behind me over having to wear earplugs. With earplugs, I'm not really hearing my own sounds, I'm just hearing the vibration of the sound wave inside my head, and it's impossible to really play musically that way.

The video is very interesting. I was surprised to see that the flutes are just as loud as the trombones, although we somehow always seem to get the blame for being the loudest. Flute is omnidirectional, so it's interesting to note that they may be responsible for their own hearing loss. High frequencies are more damaging, so I would suspect that the cymbal is the most dangerous instrument, both for the player and for the people around him.
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« Reply #51 on: Yesterday at 02:01 PM »

Picc is loudest, by far!
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« Reply #52 on: Today at 06:38 AM »

Another thing that is always left out is that WITHOUT earplugs there's a good amount of cancellation due to the balance of sound from inside your head to your own sound coming back from outside.

WITH earplugs you're getting the full force from inside, with no cancellation.  You have protection from other instruments but your own sound is considerably MORE damaging. 

I'm guessing that would be true for brass and reeds, but maybe not flute or any other instruments.
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« Reply #53 on: Today at 08:08 AM »

Hmm. 

That would make something like Silent Brass potentially damaging too.

Certainly we hear internal sound, do we know how harmful it might be? 
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« Reply #54 on: Today at 08:22 AM »

I've often wondered about "cancellation" but it's unlikely that could work for all frequencies.


A Doctor on Quora has a somewhat different explanation of why the internal sound gets louder with ear plugs.

Quote
Q: Why is it that if I hum… "mmmmm"… and close off my ear, with the palm of my hand, the sound seems to move to that ear and become much louder?

A: To explain this, let me tell you how sound reaches the ear. The sound you utter conducts through 2 pathways- air and bone .

Bone conduction is when the you tap on your head and you actually hear the tap. Since the sound “hmmmmm” utilizes the nasal cavity effectively, the facial bones conduct the sound and the sound reaches the middle ear, your eardrums vibrate and you hear it.

Now when you close the ear and say “hmmmmmm”, you actually trap the sound waves inside the outer ear, amplifying them . The sound waves hit the eardrum and now you hear the hum louder in the blocked ear as compared to the other.


When I've previously brought up the problem of internal sound and ear plugs, commenters insisted it was all my imagination.  Yeah, RIGHT.


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« Reply #55 on: Today at 08:24 AM »

Not me Rob. Ear plugs are for the birds. Except in rock band. When you've got in ears. And the mix is good.
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