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 Post subject: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:58 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor

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I've been avoiding going to see bands for years now, ever since my tinnitus first started, because I'm really worried about making it worse. But I'd really like to start going again if I can do it without any more ear damage. I've been looking into getting some decent earplugs (specifically these ones which have a noise reduction rating of 33 decibels which is the highest I've found). I've read that gigs can be up to 120 dB, so even taking off 33 dB thats still 87 dB, and I know that anything over 85 dB is considered dangerous.

Basically I was just wondering if anyone had any experience with this sort of thing? Are ear plugs be enough to keep my ears safe or is it a stupid risk to take? I'm sick of not doing things because of my tinnitus but I don't want to take any risks because if it gets any worse I don't think I could handle it.

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:03 pm 
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Construction ear muffs! My partner wore them to a show a few days after rupturing his eardrum. They look pretty silly, but if there are any bands you wouldn't miss for the world it's probably worth it!

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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:24 pm 
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If you're ok with wearing earmuffs, I'd do the highest rated earplugs **and** earmuffs made for either construction or shooting. I would think it would be kind of a weird experience, though. I mean, you couldn't really hear the band (but you'd still be there, so.....)


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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:50 pm 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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I have a pair of these:

http://www.etymotic.com/hp/er20.html

They're quite good and music actually sounds like music through them. I don't really see the point of going to a show if you're going to use earplugs that make it sound like you're underwater-- these have a nice flat frequency response so music still sounds good through them. I don't know enough about the ones you link to, but 33dB is probably actually too much attenuation to make a concert pleasant. I'd stick with the 24dB version. I also found them a bit cheaper: http://www.proguarduk.co.uk/index.php?o ... view&id=41

I couldn't find anything like a graph of frequency response, though... Not that it makes _that_ much of a difference, but if they don't have a flat attenuation curve, they'll make stuff sound weird.

Also, volume really depends on who you're seeing, and the size of the venue and how close you are to the stacks. I think I can link my tinnitus to a Killing Joke gig in 1994 or 1995, when I hung out right in front of a 15-foot stack while Geordie Walker made incredible noises with his guitar. It was a great show and I have no regrets. I don't know who you're going to go see, or where, but unless you're going to see My Bloody Valentine or you're going to stand right in front of the PA you probably don't need the "Super loud industrial factory floor" version...

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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:50 pm 
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tofucheez wrote:
If you're ok with wearing earmuffs, I'd do the highest rated earplugs **and** earmuffs made for either construction or shooting. I would think it would be kind of a weird experience, though. I mean, you couldn't really hear the band (but you'd still be there, so.....)


At that point you might as well not go.

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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:05 am 
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i have these: http://www.alpinehearingprotection.com/ ... e-classic/
(i think they're from a dutch company, so i don't know if you can get them where you live)

they come with 3 different sets of filters and i've only ever used the weakest one (well, used to be 3. apparently now there's only medium and high). but even those aren't really flat enough for me (the attenuation is stronger for mid frequencies, so i'm always missing guitars) so i'm usually only using these when the sound isn't that good anyway or i don't care.

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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:37 pm 
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tofucheez wrote:
If you're ok with wearing earmuffs, I'd do the highest rated earplugs **and** earmuffs made for either construction or shooting. I would think it would be kind of a weird experience, though. I mean, you couldn't really hear the band (but you'd still be there, so.....)


I did that for a sanding machine, and wearing double protection does not mean you get double reduction is sound.

I've tried several kinds of earprotection cause I ride my motorbike a lot.

The best so far are the 3M 1100 foam plugs.
33 db reduction and relatively cheap.

Cheaper foam plugs will give less noise reduction.

I haven't tried the "umbrella" type you mentioned but I also have custom made earplugs.
These either don't fit me good enough or the filter isn't as good as the 3M plugs.

If you want to know what works for you : go to a hardware store or DIY store and buy a couple of kinds of plugs. Then wear them and go to a disco or ohter bar with really loud music and free entrance. Go to the restroom and change your plugs, than you'll learn what they do and if that's what you're looking for.


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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:30 pm 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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One thing to remember about sound is that dB is not a linear scale. Every 10dB louder is actually double the sound pressure. So while 20dB off of 120dB is a noticable difference, 20dB off of 80dB is a much less noticable cut.

Cheap foam plugs just block sound and might not be very good for listening to loud music... They're great for working in factories, though (speaking as somebody who worked in a place that required earplugs and a hardhat for a year).

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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:23 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:

Cheap foam plugs just block sound and might not be very good for listening to loud music... They're great for working in factories, though (speaking as somebody who worked in a place that required earplugs and a hardhat for a year).


With the 3M I mentioned I can still hear what some one says to me as long as it's within a couple of feet, so they don't block sound.

Plugs don't dampen every frequency as strong, so it will change how you hear the music depending on the characteristic of the plugs.


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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:18 pm 
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Thanks for all the advice and suggestions. Turns out the tickets for the gig I wanted to go to (less than jake/reel big fish) have sold out, and in a way I'm kind of glad that the decision of not going was made for me! It gives me a bit more time to try out different earplugs and see what works for me. And to make an appointment with my doctor and see what he thinks would be sensible.

solipsistnation wrote:
II think I can link my tinnitus to a Killing Joke gig in 1994 or 1995, when I hung out right in front of a 15-foot stack while Geordie Walker made incredible noises with his guitar. It was a great show and I have no regrets.

Sadly I don't have such a cool story. The ringing started last year with an ear infection, and last week I was at a restaurant and they had a crepe band playing bad indie covers and now it's much much worse. It wasn't even that loud, I just have very pathetic ears. As soon as I saw the band come out I thought I should leave because I knew it was a risk with my ears. And I didn't. So lots of regrets there. I'm hoping it might still quieten down a bit, but its been a week and if anything it's getting worse so... Not very happy with myself at the moment.


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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:48 pm 
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Ugh, that sucks. :/

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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:40 pm 
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eryn wrote:
I'm hoping it might still quieten down a bit, but its been a week and if anything it's getting worse so... Not very happy with myself at the moment.

Sorry to hear this eryn, don't loose hope though, it really quite often does soften or at least happen less frequently over time. But yeah it might take a while. :( Mine is super infrequent now thankfully, but it was never really too bad.

My dad has it, too, and as I cannot pick a moment that would have given it to me, I wonder sometimes if it's genetic? Though I did decide to be a drummer when I was 16, so I had a couple years of that with no ear protection.

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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:26 pm 
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It can be genetic, yes.

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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:25 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor

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An update to the story - I decided I couldn't bear not to go to the gig. So I bought a ticket for a small fortune from someone selling theirs on. So now if I do make my tinnitus worse I'll have paid 3 times face value for the privilege!

I have another question (last one I think!). I've been looking at tables of decibel reduction at varying frequencies for different ear plugs. I know that ideally I want ones which reduce all frequencies a similar amount so it's esentially like turning the whole volume down, rather than making some frequencies quiter and leaving some louder and screwing up how the music should actually sound. But I was just wondering if it made a difference to how well they protect your ears? I mean, presumably even if a plug is blocking out the high frequencies really well, but not doing much to the low frequencies, not only will the music sound bad, but also the low frequencies will be doing damage?

I don't know, I'm probably seriously over thinking this.

Sorry for all the questions, by the way. I would have bombarded my ear doctor with them, but I couldn't get an appointment in time. Thanks so much to all of you who've answered!


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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:43 pm 
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Where you live, is there a sort of store for hearing aids etc? Or is there any medical professional whom you could pay a visit to ask these questions? Here in the Netherlands there are special stores for hearing aids and they make custom ear plugs as well.

I've had sorta squishy custom made ear plugs for about a year now, and they're the best thing I've used so far.

Before that, I had hard ones, but they didn't close off my ear entirely when I did something that changed the position of my ears (laugh, wear a bandana etc.) which was quite frustrating. Before that, I used umbrella-type plugs, which were shiitake, because sound 'leaked' through as well, and therefore still caused damage to my hearing, despite giving me the feeling of being protected because I was wearing earplugs.

So, my current softer costom ones, as well as the really cheap yellow construction ones don't do this leaking. But those yellow ones feel like someone shoved a hamster up your ear. But, most importantly though, this is my experience, with my particular ears and the way they are shaped. I really do recommend talking your issues over with a professional, especially since you already have a degree of hearing damage. They are used to these kind of questions and they can give you advice tailored to your specific situation.

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 Post subject: Re: Tinnitus, gigs and earplugs
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:58 pm 
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Paloma wrote:
Where you live, is there a sort of store for hearing aids etc? Or is there any medical professional whom you could pay a visit to ask these questions? ... I really do recommend talking your issues over with a professional, especially since you already have a degree of hearing damage. They are used to these kind of questions and they can give you advice tailored to your specific situation.

There's a absolutely fantastic tinnitus clinic at my local hospital, with a team made up of doctors, audiologists and psychologists. I do have an appointment with them regarding the recent worsening of my tinnitus, but unfortunately it's not til after the concert.

I'm probably going to buy a few different pairs to see how they feel. What you mention about the umbrella ones letting sound 'leak' through was one of my concerns about that type too. I'll definitely be getting some foam 37 db reduction construction ones, so if worst comes to worst I can use those, and even if makes the music sound muffled and crepe, my ears should be well protected and I'll still enjoy the atmosphere of the concert.


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