What's the Best Way to Protect Your Ears While Playing in a Band When Having Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Vincent777, May 15, 2016.

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    1. Vincent777
      Supportive

      Vincent777 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      25/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced after a rock concert where I played
      Hey all, I've contracted Tinnitus last December from playing a very loud gig with my band and had moderate T with different but multiple frequencies in both of my ears ever since. I've learned not to notice it, to stop responding emotionally to it and use tinnitus maskers when it's too silent to ignore it or when I go to sleep.

      My band is having a gig on a music festival next month and we are supposed to start practicing soon and since music is my passion I'm going to try to do a rehearsal with both custom earplugs I've made from the impression of my ear canals and active earmuffs ( Tactical XP). IS it possible that my T will worsen even with this double protection? Also my doctor advised me to take N - Acetyl Cysteine and Vitamin C 1000 mg an hour before and hour after the loud event.

      Do you guys have any other advice that you could give me how to protect my ears? I'm reading now on the forum that some people worsened their T when playing even with earmuffs and earplugs which makes me very worried. :\
       
    2. Vincent777
      Supportive

      Vincent777 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      25/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced after a rock concert where I played
      Also I did went to a club for the first time last week after December with earplugs to see what will happen and I didn't hear any worsening of my T after I came back home. BUT sure enough tomorrow, whether it was from me focusing to hear my T or from the exposure I've started hearing it again. :\

      Last night I went to a club gig with moderate loudness with my earplugs and passive earmuffs and it seems that my T started being noticeable again, I can't say whether if it's because I'm afraid that I'll get it again so it worsens because I'm listening for it or if my ears are really being sensitive now.

      I don't know what to do. :( I sure as hell don't want to worsen my T, on the other hand I know I will regret if I don't at least try to play in a rehearsal room with my band.
       
    3. Sebastians

      Sebastians Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13/10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Guitars, loud girls and guns
      Didn't you have some mild H as well in the beginning? Not to be a downer, but there always is a chance your T will spike or worsen, even with double protection. It's like using a condom, there's no 100% guarantee.
      Ultimately, the choice is yours. But double protection is better than none at all. I would really stay the farthest away as possible from drums and bass. Also check the acoustics of your rehearsing space!
      I am taking a year of from rehearsing and going to loudish places, would not enjoy them at all as the T would be on my mind all the time.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    4. Vincent777
      Supportive

      Vincent777 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      25/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced after a rock concert where I played
      Hey, Sebastians. Yes, I did had H in the first week after I got T.

      Yeah, the real bummer is I've ordered two custom electric guitars made for me and they are being finished this month.

      I guess I'll try and see what happens. Why do you think I should stay away from the bass amp? I'm asking because I've noticed a strange thing last night when I used earmuffs over my earplugs, while all the high pitched noise seemed to be cut off the bass seemed to get louder?

      I have to admit I feel it's not fair that I've got T and not the others in the band, the singer is a DJ and is regularly next to the speakers when he plays music, doesn't use any protection and he said he doesn't have it and even if he haves it he ignores it. Also I suspect my keyboardist is half deaf judging from how loud he plays his keyboards but he doesn't seem to have T. Some ears are more sensitive I guess.
       
    5. Sebastians

      Sebastians Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13/10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Guitars, loud girls and guns
      The bass vibrations still go through your body mate, wether this so-called bone conduction is an issue for us T people is still open for debate.
      Thing is, i'll be the last one to tell you not to do gigs and all that, i've just read some *very* scary accounts from musicians who started out with mild T and H and then spiralled down with each new noise trauma. Personally i would not wanna go down that road. Then again, some are doing fine and are still performing such as Andy Timmons. I'm doing moderately well, but my biggest fear is getting severe H over time so i just took a sabbatical for at least a year and see how my ear issues evolve. In the meanwhile i'm building a small home recording studio so i can work on music at safe levels..
      If you do wanna go out and play, be very sensible about it. Wouldn't wanna see you back here all messed-up.
      What custom guitars did you get?
       
    6. Vincent777
      Supportive

      Vincent777 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      25/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced after a rock concert where I played
      Wow, yeah, that's what I felt last night, bass frequency vibrating through my body. Why does everybody have to play so loud? This was an ambiental jazz gig and even they played pretty loud. My bandmates are reassuring me how it won't get worse because they were exposed ten time more without protection and they are fine. They think I focus on it too much and they might be right, when I stopped caring about it that's when it went away. But how can you not care when you are risking damaging your ears even further?

      Yeah, about the guitars, I fell for some discounts that he gave me and I was hoping that my T will subside in the meantime. The guys who is making them is called Jean, he builds Jean & Jean guitars. I'm getting one of his signature models with two Aero singles and a humbucker pickups and the other one is more metal, Kramer body with two Duncan's Slash sets, floyd rose and all. Mahogany body both, top arch.

      Here's how the signature one is coming along. We're experiment with colors.

      13221114_10208454442896102_3381049557651646505_n.jpg

      13173895_10208454442016080_8512553986478754423_n.jpg

      Here's how one of his models sounds like:

      Jean and Jean Dreamrunner Studio Plus - testdrive
       
    7. Vincent777
      Supportive

      Vincent777 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      25/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced after a rock concert where I played
      The Kramer one is going to looks like this, flame maple top, only probably more reddish color.

      Striker_Custom_211_0909291994_1.jpg
       
    8. Sebastians

      Sebastians Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13/10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Guitars, loud girls and guns
      That's some sweet guitars mate! Like the Kramer style one especially, they are indeed begging to be played.
      My ESP's and Japanese Ibanez's are currently gathering dust, just practising on my own on my Ibanez AT-300 at low volumes now.
      I have bandmates like that too. Did two rehearsals all doubled up after getting T and still felt extremely uncomfortable. That's when i said, screw it, i'm not enjoying this and put everything on hold. Our drummer is one of those guys with T but 'doesn't care about it at all' and still blasts his ears with headphones all the time. Well, I do care about my ears :)
      Listen to your body mate, nobody else can tell you what it feels like for you. And walk out if it is too much. It's your health!
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    9. Vincent777
      Supportive

      Vincent777 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      25/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced after a rock concert where I played
      Thank you Sebastians, yeah Kramer just pulls you to play it doesn't it? :D I didn't have Floyd Rose on the guitar in high school so I'm making up for it now! :)

      Thank you for the reply, yeah I don't care what anybody else thinks of me anymore, they're not the one who's going to endure restless nights and social isolation because of it. I've got in trouble in the first place because I didn't listen to myself and I didn't complain about the monitor that was killing me from how loud it was. It was complete amateurism how audio levels were handled, I couldn't hear my guitar amp that was right behind me from the stupid monitor that was only playing voice and the keyboards. I've even crouched at one point so I could hear my guitar, which was a very stupid thing to do.

      But yeah, I completely support your decision to make a break, playing live is beautiful thing but it's not worth destroying our life because of it. Like you said, we should listen to our body and our mind, if something doesn't feel right then stop it and walk away. Our health is more important then other people feelings getting hurt. If I even get to that concert, I'm going to stop in the middle of the gig if I feel I'm doing damage to my ears again, I don't give a f*ck.

      Btw. Im saving money for this baby. Scroll down a bit, select shimmer option and play the first track and the one called untitled track.

      http://www.strymon.net/bigsky/
       
      • Like Like x 1
    10. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      one way would be to take a lot more breaks than your mates - this is important to give you ears recovery time. Not sure how long but for example instead of playing 1 hour straight maybe do 3 times 20 min with 20 minutes complete silence break in-between.

      Noise exposure time is another factor that you can tweak at your advantage in addition to ear protection
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    11. Nonna
      Barefooter

      Nonna Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/17/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Allergies
      It's nice your friends give u support but please don't do anymore gigs for a year.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    12. Vincent777
      Supportive

      Vincent777 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      25/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced after a rock concert where I played
      Hey Bobby B, what've you been up to of late? :)
      Thanks for the reply, yeah I'll try that as well for sure.
       
    13. Vincent777
      Supportive

      Vincent777 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      25/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced after a rock concert where I played
      Why for a year though? Doctor told me to pause for 3 months, it's been almost five.
       
    14. Nonna
      Barefooter

      Nonna Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/17/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Allergies
      I'm not sure how your ears feel. If they are not hurting, ignore my advice.
       
    15. Vincent777
      Supportive

      Vincent777 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      25/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced after a rock concert where I played
      Well they are not, but I still hear metalish sound when I'm in my room. My left ear hurts a little bit after wearing custom silicone earplugs, probably because it's stabbing my eardrum a little, going to a doctor to adjust that.
       
    16. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      Well I am doing a lot better

      Reactive T is almost gone H is cured and even baseline T is a bit quieter - I think that the phototherapy I have been doing for months has been helping
      I slowly start to understand how this healing process works. I am also religiously protecting my ears so that helps too
      We will see in 6 months how much I can get back
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    17. MikeA
      Curious

      MikeA Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      I suggest you use noise blocking headphones for rehearsals. I do and I can hear my self singing and playing guitar just fine. Occasionally I'm told to turn up volume of my guitar, as I err on the lower side. Also buy a good sound meter and check levels. If practices get above what you consider a tolerable level, then insist that everyone turn down or institute other measure (sound baffles in the room, etc) to lower the volume. You must be comfortable or anxiety will make for a miserable experience.

      When seeing a band at a club use Heros (33 dB) plugs and stay to the side of the stage, away from the house PA. That's where we musicians hang anyway, right? No need to be out front. Non-musicians and groupies etc belong up there. Also bring your sound meter and check level. I saw friends play a gig last week and they were between 90-95 dB, for 90 minutes. I felt fine using Mack's plugs and stayed to side.

      Sweet guitars! I just bought a telecaster.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    18. Vincent777
      Supportive

      Vincent777 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      25/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced after a rock concert where I played
      I'm so glad you're doing better man! From what I understood you were having real problems with your T.

      What is phototherapy?
       
    19. Vincent777
      Supportive

      Vincent777 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      25/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced after a rock concert where I played
      Thanks MikeA, I plan on using custom earplugs made from the impressions of my ear canals and active earmuffs, Peltor Tactical XP, hope that helps me. I am planning active earplugs, has anybody used or is using ones?

      Yeah, I'll try to avoid guitar amps and monitors playing directly into me. It's good to hear that you were ok with ear plugs only!

      Thank you, I can't wait to start playing them! :)
       
    20. Song interpreter
      Creative

      Song interpreter Member

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Too much noise
      I need help finding the best ear protection for my situation. I'm not in a band, but I might as well be. I interpret the songs in ASL. I'm on stage in front of the drums and the sub woofers are in the wall next to me, besides various monitors on stage. I have Shure in-ear-monitors with the yellow foam sleeves. Now, I have been advised to increase my hearing protection with low-profile ear muffs. The decibel level on stage can reach 120. I don't have any money, but I need to protect my hearing. My ringing is pretty loud today from yesterday's exposure. It used to be in only my left ear, but the right ear is starting to come along too.

      Any suggestions? What is the best ear muffs to wear over my in-ear-monitors? My monitors are supposed to be programmed to have voices only. I don't need the music. Last week, I had the drums in my monitor. Why? Our sound board sometimes shifts some of the slides... I'm at their mercy.

      Thank you for your help!
       
    21. Sam Bridge

      Sam Bridge Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music/gigs probably
      The decibel level reaches 120 on stage? Jeeze how on earth don't 90 percent of musicians have some hearing loss/T?
       
    22. Jomo

      Jomo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/4/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      going for a rim shot on the snare drum.
      play drums and the sound proof headphones are probably going to be the safest thing you can find for your ears...i am only a week in but i regret so much not wearing them..i said to myself im only playing for a few minutes and here i am...smh...good luck with the show
       
    23. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      @Song interpreter, I'm really sorry to say this because I usually try not to be pessimistic, but what you're doing sounds really dangerous and I don't know if anything can really protect you. By being in front of the speakers you're getting more sound than some of the band, and sustained 120db gets into the zone where the best protection you can get still leads to hearing damage, given extended exposure over time.

      I wouldn't take that job for ten times my salary :-/
       
    24. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      The best earmuffs are the peltor x5a - wear those and some in ear plugs/monitors inside

      Not low profile but top notch to cut noise and bass
       
    25. MikeP505
      Curious

      MikeP505 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Ontario Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Punishment for being so darn good looking!
      I am a musician, or should I say......WAS a musician. Low profile sound damping ear muffs may not be the solution if your so close you are blasted with 120db for each show. There are a few electronic muffs available that have other options to allow you to connect an mp3 player etc. They have built in speakers and ports and are battery operated. A tad bulky but some on the market have a coil built in that reads the db around you and automatically dampen the noise to a max level.

      Some are fairly cheap and at least offer some protection. Some is better than none.

      A pair I read up on is manufactured by Howard Leight. The Howard Leight R-01526 Impact Sport Electronic Earmuff automatically blocks any sound above 82db and are around $65.00 Canadian. These are not a professional model you may see many musicians wearing but if you cannot afford to spend $850.00 and up, than at least this helps some. Even still, being subject to 82db will still cause damage to hearing in the long run, depending on how often you are in that area. Here are a few specs on the HL R-01526 Sport unit:
      • External audio input connects to MP3 players and scanners
      • Amplifies conversation and commands with one single volume control knob
      • Automatic 4 hour shut-off increases battery life
      • Automatically blocks noise above 82 dB, noise reduction rating: NRR 22
      • Adjustable design folds for easy storage
      • Amplifies sounds 3x
      • Provides protection from noises over 82 dB
      • Equipped with an audio input jack cord for your MP3 player
      Honestly your best bet is to invest in high end units but I am sure as an ASL Interpreter, the compensation per show is low. I would ask the event coordinator to help you with the cost associated with a professional pair, or do as linerb says and not take future positions in those areas where sound is so loud. I am actually sort of shocked that whoever you work for in these shows, does not supply them. If I needed an ASL Interpreter in any of my shows in the past, you can bet he/she would have been protected as well as I could have.
       
    26. MikeP505
      Curious

      MikeP505 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Ontario Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Punishment for being so darn good looking!
      Bobby B suggested the Peltor X5A Muffs. Those puppies are monsters HOWEVER, they will cut most noises down to a max of 32db. Possibly a tad higher if your in front of those monster speakers. They are quite inexpensive too and could help. Acoustical properties come into play also. If you are so close to the sound, and its banging out as 120db, the vibrations that take place between the ear drum and sound damping ear muffs may cause damage. Those vibrations are trapped between the muffs and eardrum, and will reverberate until they lose energy, like tossing a rock into a smooth lake and seeing the waves expand until they all finally subside. Pro is the way to go, if you got the dough!
       
    27. carangavir

      carangavir Member

      Location:
      Houston, TX
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Idiopathic
      Musician here as well....I have custom made plugs and they work great. I play mostly classical, so from time to time, we'll have a full brass section blasting. The plugs are so good that if anything, they bring up my T, just by blocking a lot of the external sound.

      You can ask an audiologist about this, they put some molding material, take your ear print and they will mail you the plugs. I asked for the ones that let some sound in.

      I hope it helps!
       
    28. Song interpreter
      Creative

      Song interpreter Member

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Too much noise
      Thank you all for your replies! I believe if all the musicians would wear in-ear-monitors, the stage would be a lot more quiet. Then the house sound could be turned down too. But the singers don't like the sound of their voices in their heads. The drums are in a box, so it's not so direct. That one time the stage was so loud, I felt like walking off the stage. The ringing doubled that day. I'm only on stage for half an hour. I've known since high school that my ears were my weak spot.

      I will look up the devices you suggested. Because the music isn't as important to me as the voices, I might not need as highly specialized equipment as the musicians. Because my ears are clogged often, I'm used to what my voice sounds like in my head. Besides, when I'm interpreting, they don't need to hear my voice!
       
    29. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      Start with the x5a - those cost only $25 and offer the best sound reduction and comfort .... The best bang for the buck in terms of sound reduction and most likely the only item you will really need unless looks is really an issue

      I have all sorts of ear muffs and plugs but dont use those other ones much .
       
    30. CDNThailand

      CDNThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/17/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      MP3, Stress, TMJ
      Do you have any youtube vids? I'd like to hear you play, your guitars look pretty bad ass...;) I used to play a Yamaha 612A Rick Emmit edition, active pickups, standard tremolo, no Floyd Rose, went out of tune every 3-4 songs..but insanely good action on it!
       

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