In-Ear Monitors versus Musicians Ear Plugs

Discussion in 'Support' started by SoulStation, Sep 24, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      Hey everybody. I'm currently using the strongest Musicians custom molded plugs (ER-25) for my gigs that I have every week (4 hour wedding receptions! I know it sounds crazy that's why I'm almost at the end of my rope). I have been looking into possibly getting In-Ear Monitors to reduce volume of stage instruments and block out noise. According to the wiki definition I saw they said they reduce noise between 26 db and 34 db. Does any one hear have any experience with in-ear monitors? I know audiologist recommend both and that the guys who are famous and have T but still tour(Chris Martin, Bono, The Edge, Sting...just to name a few) use the In-Ear monitors for every gig. I would be into getting them if they have a flat response across the frequency spectrum and instead of the musicians plugs which have a attenuation curve that looks like this.
      upload_2014-9-24_18-35-38.png
      i also don't know what to think about the bottom "Foam" line as I have heard mixed things about the effectiveness of Foam plugs vs. musicians plugs. Audiologists have always sided with musicians plugs but it's a wonder to me why the company which they use for the filters (Etymonic) provides this display showing that the foam plugs provide better protection...
      So any responses in regards to the In Ear Monitors vs Plugs would be greatly appreciated!
      And info on the Validity of the the Foam line up there.
      Thanks in advance.
      SS
       
    2. bwspot

      bwspot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/13/2014
      I think the foam plugs are the best when it comes to limiting sounds compared to ERs, but they limit sounds too much and not evenly and all you hear is muffled sounds. With ER's you actually can still hear good quality music at all frequencies but at lower volume. The diagrams show how much of the attenuation you can get at specific frequency. For Foam at 125hz you get around 32 where at 8000 you get around 45 meaning high frequencies would sound more quiet compared to low frequencies. So in general Foam gives you better protection, but worse quality.
      That's my view.
       
    3. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      Thanks for the reply ! I just don't know what to believes free asking 4 audiologists and them all telling me to use musicians plugs.... but I think the foam could possibly protect better if its fitted properly it's just so hard get a proper fit ... I know the procedure ... Just don't know who to believe. Anybody have an idea about the in-ear monitors vs the ear plugs? @yonkapin I feel like I've heard you talk about in ears before... Any advice?
       
    4. yonkapin

      yonkapin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Melbourne, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2012
      Heyo!

      What sort of set up are you guys typically running at these wedding gigs? You guys using foldback speakers?

      In ear monitors would be especially useful if you were using foldback because you could ditch them completely and have everyone in the band using in-ear monitors instead, which means you'd have finer control of the levels plus the protection offered by the in-ear monitors.

      I haven't used in ear monitors myself though, and haven't set up a live band in years now so I can't give too much more advice. But that would ideally be the main benefit of using in-ear monitors over ear plugs in that sort of situation, this also applies to DJ set ups because you can just mix using just the in-ear monitors instead of using the standard headphone & monitor speaker set up.

      Maybe you could ask over at https://www.gearslutz.com/board/ - there would be a ton of guys there with heaps more experience in this area who could probably offer up some useful advice.

      In regards to plugs, I'm not too sure either. I just use my 25db musician plugs for most situations, I know that the brand ACS offer filters that have 27db or more of attenuation so maybe you can peep those out? They also make a bunch of in-ear monitors and other stuff that you might be interested in. Can't get the brand here unfortunately though so I don't have much more information than that.

      I'm not a fan of foam plugs though, something about the idea of having my ear canal being completely shut off (vs. attenuation filters) that I don't like, but this is completely a personal preference.
       
    5. walkthroughwalls

      walkthroughwalls Member

      Location:
      The Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      possibly noise
      A bit late to the party, and not a reply that answers all your questions, but here are my two cents anyway...

      I first wanted to buy 'custom made foam earplugs' in addition to my ER-25's. A set of earplugs for maximum protection during loud gigs, or for being around an opening act that I don't care for. For some reason, this hearing specialist wouldn't sell these to me and suggested in-ears instead.

      His idea was that I'd bring two mics on a stand, a mixer and graphical eq to every rehearsal and gig. A nice idea, but this wasn't going to work for the occasional rock 'n roll dive-bar gig. It's also way too much work for a simple rehearsal, and I don't like the idea of speakers being close to my ears. If the mics get knocked over or (maybe just as likely) some jerk decides to be funny and yell directly into the mics, my ears receive sonic hell.

      The latter worries me also when plugging in-ears into an unknown engineers soundboard. If you're Chris Martin or Bono and working with the finest engineers you're probably going to be fine, but an unknown engineer from down the street might accidentally send a vocal mic's feedback your way. And yes, I've seen this happen to someone during a soundcheck.


      In short, I never tried in-ears for the reasons above. I stuck with my ER-25's and foam plugs. Yes, they sound muffled, but there's still a lot of sonic information there. Contrary to a lot of musicians, I actually like the foam plugs and can play just fine with them. I enjoy the 'piercing crash cymbal-treble' roll-off and the improved clarity and separation. There is a lack of 'fullness' to the sound, but I can live with that.
      The only downside is that playing in exactly tune (on double bass) is a little harder, but that's also the case wearing ER-25's. What instrument are you playing anyway? :)

      If I had to play 4-hour wedding receptions, I'd just use the foam plugs if the ER-25's aren't enough. Maybe it's a bit snobbish, but I guess were talking background or party/dance music here. Not an artistically uncompromised jazz-exploration in an acoustically tuned theater in front of a breathless audience. Anyway, foam plugs are cheap and provide the best protection possible, give them a go and see how you like them.
       
    6. s-viv
      Artistic

      s-viv Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      concerts
      I love my hearos foam plugs, but i am not a musician. They are great for loud shows, which I think are to loud to start. My ent said the the molded plugs weren't any better than the foam ones. Audiologist tells you that so he can make money more than likely.
      I guess less overall protection for a vs a muffled sound. I personally rather have more protection.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    7. El Kapone

      El Kapone Member

      Location:
      Lisbon, Portugal
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Hey Guys!
      I'm New to the forum and it's my first reply!
      (English is not my main language, so pardon my writing)

      I have been a professional musician for the last 18 years of my life, and i've had tinnitus for about five years now.
      Last year, my T got worst and i started having some H, so i finally decided to stop wining about how expensive they where, and bought a pair of Custom fit In Ears by Ultimate Ears!

      I have to say that i am SO, SUPER EXTREMELY SORRY I DIDN'T BUY THEM SOONER!!
      First of all, they block out an amazing 25db( or 27? not sure) which allows me to play in very loud stages without the slightest problem! And besides that, the sound quality is fantastic! Maybe if i had bought them sooner, i wouldn't have T now!

      When i am playing my original material with my band on big stages, we always take our sound crew, so here i have no problems with the setup.

      Unfortunately i can't pay the bills playing only this type of gigs, so i also play with cover bands and do solo Live Looping gigs on smaller venues. I have to say that i thought the logistics would be more complicated in this case, but it's not! All the Musicians that i play with, know about my T and H, and they are very understanding and supportive, so they always help me overcome any logistics problem with monitoring.

      Recently i decided to buy a pair of Custom Fitted Ear plugs from ACS, to use after i play my shows and the clubs are playing loud music, to go see a concert, or even for some rehearsals where it is not possible to set up my IEM.

      My advice is: BUY IEM!
      I just wish i could go back 10 years in my life! i would have bought IEM sooner!
      I advise you to buy ACS Custom IEM instead of UE, simply because ACS uses medicinal silicone, and UE uses some kind of acrylic...

      I recently dropped and broke my left IEM, send a picture to UE and they said it was beyond repair.
      Luckily the ACS representative here in Portugal manage to somehow put it together again! You can't imagine how happy and relieved i was! My IEM weren't even a year old yet!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    8. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      Did you get the ACS Pro 27? I just checked out the site. Looks cool. I have the ER25 musicians plugs and they work well though I don't play loud gigs anymore really. Thanks for the great response to the thread!
      I also wish I had them last year ! I never bought them and regret it now.
       
    9. El Kapone

      El Kapone Member

      Location:
      Lisbon, Portugal
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      No, for IEM i bought UE7-pro(From Ultimate Ears), which sound great! The only problem is that they are made in some sort of acrylic, and i recently broke one! Lucky for me, the ACS representative here in portugal managed to repair them for me after UE said that they where beyond repair! That is why a recommend ACS! They are made of silicone, so they won't break! Although i have never heard them, i believe they will sound just as good, judging by the reputation they are making on the pro users side!

      I also have the ACS PRO17 plugs, and i love them! They are great for loud gigs, but not if you sing! Because when i have the plugs and i sing, my inner voice overcomes the rest of the band.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    10. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      Honestly man - how do you do it? I find it so hard to push on in this industry with t at the way it is for me now- I worry about making it worse and I am stressed out thinking about it. Need some advice-
       
    11. El Kapone

      El Kapone Member

      Location:
      Lisbon, Portugal
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      My friend, i have no choice!
      It's the only way i can pay my bills!

      I understand you completely, it's very hard to find the strength to practice, write, rehearse, etc... most of the time i only feel like staying in bed, in silence...i never give in to that feeling, and luckily some days are better than others, i manage to keep pushing! but i am SUPER careful with the levels i work at!

      To be a professional musician is hard anywhere in the world, but i tend to think that here in Portugal is one of the harder places... our market is very small and we have very little options/opportunities... i had been developing a sort of "light depression" for a few years, that i thought i could keep ignoring... until a couple of years ago, my T got worst and i was starting find myself in a real dark place... so i decided to get some professional help! I was on anti depressives for about 6 months and changed a couple of things in my life! It helped me to get some hope again! And with hope comes strength and motivation (some days are better than others ).

      So my biggest advice to you is don't be afraid or ashamed to get help! It's hard to be a musican, it's even harder to be a musician with tinnitus! We need all the help we can get! And if you think you are at a point where you can benefit from professional help, go for it!

      All the best!
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    12. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      I hear your - it is hard to just give up your pay check. I have been on anti depressants for YEARs before T and need something to help more. I am also on benzos for years and need to get off of them! Ugh!
      May I ask
      Can you hear your t when watching tv?
      Is it masked when out side on a quiet street?
      Can you hear it when driving?

      Thanks again
      Ben
       
    13. El Kapone

      El Kapone Member

      Location:
      Lisbon, Portugal
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      I can hear my T all the time! :/

      But i am easily distracted of it when i am outdoors.
      I have always been a very "aerial" person, and in this case, it's a good thing!
      When watching TV is different, although i can forget it for some periods, whenever there is a louder sound on what i am watching, i get back on alert, and this makes me hear it again!

      The main problem with my T is the fear that it will become worst... sure, it bothers me, but i can cope with it!
      Whats really bad is my H! That messes up my life all the time! Sometimes if i get exposed to some noise (it doesn't have to be extremely loud noises, things that are normal for most people) i tend to get indisposed, loose my strength, have a sense of fullness in my ears, and i just want to be left alone, i don't even want to talk!

      But it's strange, because it's not always the case... i can't figure out what makes this happen!

      I will give you an example:

      Normaly, when i'm in the car, i keep the stereo off, or at a very low volume.
      Last week i was in the car with my girlfriend, and i was listening to Pulse, from Pink Floyd.
      My girlfriend was looking at my ears, to see if i had my earplugs on, because she was finding strange that i was listening to the music at that volume... i didn't seem loud to me, but it was way louder than it normally is.

      I think that maybe it has something to do with the frequencies... for instance, i can't listen to a rock record without feeling some sort of disconfort( i've stopped listening to rock music)... for years i only played loud rock... with a loud ENGL amp right behind me, and some very loud drummers... so i think that it has something to do with some frequencies that are common to that sound and that my ears have become more sensitive to...

      (P.s - When i finished writing this, i went to the top to read it before i post it, as i always do! and when i read the first sentence, i realised i wasn't aware of my T, but become aware as soon as i read it!)
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    14. El Kapone

      El Kapone Member

      Location:
      Lisbon, Portugal
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      What does your doctor say about your situation? have you told him that maybe the anti depressives aren't enough?
      (i don't know what Benzos are... )
       

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