Save your ears ~ please !

Greywolf

Luthier and Sound Sensei
Joined
Sep 30, 2022
Messages
6,514
Location
Duluth,Ga
Apoligies if this seems like a rant ..

A small piece of advice after 60 years in the music world .. If you are going to play loud PLEASE .. get some in ear monitors !!

Ears are one part of your body that doesn't really heal well once damaged ...

At last nights show , a prog ~ metal band , the lead singer asked me " can I have the vocals real hot 'cause I'm kinda deaf. He was using a Shure SM55 super cardiod mic ( which we have in house as well ) which has got a lot more juice than an SM 58 , and leaning WAY into it . I set him at max allowed ... He still wanted more . The Boss said " please have them turn it down a bit I can't hear the orders for food&drink" . So .. at the next song break I pulled it down a notch and told them .. If you can't hear your vocals , turn your amps and drums down... of course not....

I like the band , and the volume is part of their gig , and the house was packed. They are good kids , and I've worked them before .. so I talked with them after the show about "in ears".. Both of the guitarist have tinnitus now ...in thier MID 20'S ... They have 25 guitars .. but don't take care of thier hearing ... " Yeah they are on the list ...but you know ...""

I let them know what's ahead , and the music they love to play so much may just take away thier ability to hear it ..
 
Wise words man. I can only think of one brilliant soul that wrote and composed very successfully without the aid of his hearing than most others ever would or will. And his works will last forever. Lots of Rockers have suffered hearing loss from their chosen work (The Who would be a classic example) from jet aircraft levels of punishing sound. Stevie Wonder played and composed without eyesight, but take away his hearing and I think that would have been a no go.
I'm bad for doing it myself, I often get carried away within the confines of my little cave when the groove gets going. And I much too regularly race my motorcycle without my earplugs in. Far too soon old, way too late smart.
 
I've always protected my hearing, but a few years ago a medical attendant was checking my left ear and broke my eardrum. They do heal but one of the layers does not grow back. It has recently broken again just from a loud noise. It is slowly growing back again but I have to really guard my hearing now. So I agree, guard your hearing. It's not something you can get back.
 
10,000% this. My first concert was AC/DC, I was 13 years old and thought that my ears ringing for 3 days afterwards was so cool. Fortunately, I quickly smartened up and a few years later got a set of custom molded earplugs made, to lower the volume without muffling everything. Sort of like an amp attenuator. And nowadays, any kind of yardwork involving loud machines, earplugs are a must. It's just not worth it.
For some reason, things in our head (Ears, Eyes, Teeth, etc) just don't heal from damage like the rest of the body. Take care of them!
 
About eight years ago I went to a stadium show, and my ears were ringing for days afterwards. That was it for me. I purchased some good noise-reducing ear plugs. I wear them to every show I go to. When I work in my own auditoriums, I wear them, too. I bought a set for each of our auditorium techs, who are mostly high-school students. I don't want them being without hearing protection at work.
 
I've worn plugs to shows for years, and I'll even wear them if I'm playing loud at home, although I've gotten headphones that will block the external sounds for recording, which lets me crank an amp but keep the volume I'm hearing down.

I will take the ear plugs out for a song or two at most shows. I won't take them out for a whole show until I've checked how loud it actually is w/a db app on my phone, because there have been some shows that are deceptively loud. One recent show that was not was Glenn Hughes. Small club, but sound-wise he was geared up for the big places. I took my plugs out at the end for "Highway Star" and "Burn", and loud doesn't do it justice. I'm always aware of the difference in sound level w/the plugs, but this was easily the greatest difference.

One thing I've noticed with the plugs (I'm currently using Vibes) is that they clean the mix up. They cut a lot of the mud, especially the low-end stuff that makes things sound like mush.

The loudest show I've ever been at was likely Van Halen on the Diver Down tour. But the worst experience was, of all things - a comedy show. Who needs earplugs for that, right? But our seats were right next to one of the speakers, and every time the guy got louder, it was like a hammer in my ear.
 
What do you guys suggest for ear plugs? I only play guitar and very rarely use a monitor, so would rather use ear plugs than IEM. A couple years ago I got Eargasm plugs and they are the best I've tried, but am hoping there is something better available. Years ago I had a custom molded set made but they kill all the highs and don't seal in my ears very well. They were expensive and I don't want to try something costly again only to dislike them.
 
I remember one day visiting the factory with Robin Feathers and his son and we got to speak to Paul for a while. He pulled us into a conference room with a whiteboard and gave us a lecture complete with drawings on what happens to the ears when they get bombarded with loud noise and how important it was to protect your ears.

It was cool. I think it was mainly for the benefit of Robins son. I already blew out my ears. I saw Zep at Knebworth in ‘79. My ears were ringing for 3 days.

Now I need to use subtitles on tv. So yes. Please look after your ears.
 
I remember one day visiting the factory with Robin Feathers and his son and we got to speak to Paul for a while. He pulled us into a conference room with a whiteboard and gave us a lecture complete with drawings on what happens to the ears when they get bombarded with loud noise and how important it was to protect your ears.

It was cool. I think it was mainly for the benefit of Robins son. I already blew out my ears. I saw Zep at Knebworth in ‘79. My ears were ringing for 3 days.

Now I need to use subtitles on tv. So yes. Please look after your ears.

I've seen Shirley Manson of Garbage stop shows because she saw kids in the audience w/o ear plugs. Stopped the show, asked if they had plugs, and if they said no, she got plugs from her crew and handed them to the kids and told the kids - and the parents - that it was important to wear them.

I also once saw a guy walk his family past the speaker stacks at Experience PRS while someone was playing. No plugs for any of them, and one of the kids was literally moved sideways. I was 15-20 rows back and my pant legs were flapping.

When I was in college, a group of us went to see a local blues guy at a free show on campus. We were up by the stacks, and it was loud. Afterwards, we were talking about how loud it was, and my one friend (who I still go to shows with) said, "I don't know what you guys are complaining about. It wasn't that loud." I said, "Why are you shouting?" He just said, "Shut up..." He still doesn't wear plugs.
 
Sadly, it’s too late for many of us.
Luckily I rarely stood in front of an amp

I liked it when the amp blew back my hair! ...and I'm paying the price now, of course... but as I told my doctor, in my defense, I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd live long enough to worry about tinnitus back in the day... it was all life on the road and really loud guitars and hell, I wouldn't have missed it for the world (or my hearing back) ;)

but ya, if I could live without the ringing I would... nobody gave a damn in the '70s-'80s though... certainly not me, anyway...
 
Apoligies if this seems like a rant ..

A small piece of advice after 60 years in the music world .. If you are going to play loud PLEASE .. get some in ear monitors !!

Ears are one part of your body that doesn't really heal well once damaged ...

At last nights show , a prog ~ metal band , the lead singer asked me " can I have the vocals real hot 'cause I'm kinda deaf. He was using a Shure SM55 super cardiod mic ( which we have in house as well ) which has got a lot more juice than an SM 58 , and leaning WAY into it . I set him at max allowed ... He still wanted more . The Boss said " please have them turn it down a bit I can't hear the orders for food&drink" . So .. at the next song break I pulled it down a notch and told them .. If you can't hear your vocals , turn your amps and drums down... of course not....

I like the band , and the volume is part of their gig , and the house was packed. They are good kids , and I've worked them before .. so I talked with them after the show about "in ears".. Both of the guitarist have tinnitus now ...in thier MID 20'S ... They have 25 guitars .. but don't take care of thier hearing ... " Yeah they are on the list ...but you know ...""

I let them know what's ahead , and the music they love to play so much may just take away thier ability to hear it ..
Great advice. Too late for me, sadly.
 
I know I’ve told this story before. so why are you telling it again?
For 3 1/2 decades I faithfully used hearing protection (ear plugs) but apparently, I should have used something with better protection. If you could hear the ringing I hear, you’d run away covering your ears.
 
10,000% this. My first concert was AC/DC, I was 13 years old and thought that my ears ringing for 3 days afterwards was so cool. Fortunately, I quickly smartened up and a few years later got a set of custom molded earplugs made, to lower the volume without muffling everything. Sort of like an amp attenuator. And nowadays, any kind of yardwork involving loud machines, earplugs are a must. It's just not worth it.
For some reason, things in our head (Ears, Eyes, Teeth, etc) just don't heal from damage like the rest of the body. Take care of them!
So relevant…
my second concert was AC/DC with Bon Scott back in 76 I think.
I was front row, right in front of left hand speaker stack.
And it was all about decibels in those days.
Yes the ringing lasted best of week.
Never again.
Ear plugs worn at rock gigs expected to be jet liner engine level loud and at work ever since.
63 now and my hearing is still pretty decent, just natural degradation according to the Doc.

On another note(sic).
On another forum I was in a discussion with a guy who was regularly blowing the tweeters in his home stereo rig.
Digging eventually revealed he was playing at 104db with peaks to 114db.
In a normal room.
Total insanity…and I stated as much!
He will have much more to worry about than blown speaker tweeters if he keeps that up for long.
 
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