So... Last night I went to the a7x concert. It was friggin amazing! Bullets and Octane, Death by Stereo, Saosin, and Avenged Sevenfold. Great fun.
Anyways, my ears are still ringing, im not really worried about that, its happened before. But this is the worst they have been ringing in a while because I was right next to the right speakers at the beginning of the concert and very close to the left speakers at the end of the concert. So, that brings me to my question.
What kind of earplugs are the best for the money? Im gonna go get some soon. I want ones that just make it quieter, not that affect sound (as little as possible). What do you reccommend?
I use the cheap disposable foam plugs like these:
I get them free from work :D
Word of caution: Always wear earplugs when around loud noise, even concerts. Hearing loss in most cases is permanent. I learned the hard way.
I use Hear-o's, the disposable orange foam ones. I used to use the corners of paper towels at the clubs I played in; wash my hands, dry them and then with that slightly damp paper, get the corners off and form them into my ears. I use the Hear-o's at work now because they're doing construction with constant drilling downstairs and jack-hammering and whatnot. Hard to concentrate on doing webpages while all that's going on.
The funny thing is though, with the paper towel plugs or the foam ones, after you wear them an hour or so, your ears sorta turn up, like turning the gain up on a microphone preamp, to where they're just about as sensitive as when your ears are unplugged. It's like they compensate and you can hear conversations and the phone ringing and stuff like that. When you take them out at the end of a set, it's like you hear all this extra 'stuff'; everything is crisp and clear - almost unnaturally so - and it takes a little bit before they 'turn down' again.
But the damaging sounds (like our drummer's penchant for slamming the China-Boy) are cut off.
There's tons of better earplugs out there now, the custom-formed ones, the ones with the built in monitors, etc, but anything is better than nothing in certain cases - like if you forgot to put them in the gear bag or whatever. And it makes being at live concerts that much better and more enjoyable. I still use the paper towel thing when I go to a theater these days because they, for whatever reason, always crank the volume up in movie theaters, and after a few minutes with them in, I forget they're there.
I use Etymotic High Fidelity earplugs.
I demand good sound through my earplugs and foam plugs cut out too much high end and accentuate lows too much. These earplugs give a pretty good flat reduction in volume and are more comfortable than others i've used. Their only drawback is that the handles stick out a bit. They're not as effective as foam for louder shows, but they're a big improvement over nothing at all, and they sound great. I go to a lot of shows, so it's nice to wake up without the ringing.
The Mack's are supposed to be pretty good, too.
One thing I've always wondered. You go to big concert, like the Steve vai one I went to recently - These guys play LOUD yet they dont seem to wear earplugs...or do they? I've havnt noticed em, yet you woulda thought years of playing that loud would damage hearing noticably :?
At a lot of the larger venues, the speakers are in front of and to the sides of the performers, and the volume is still loud on the stage, but the SPL's are fairly low, and it's the SPL (sound pressure level) rather than pure decibels that is responsible for most hearing loss due to noise exposure.
"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST
I bought a 200 pair box of Howard Leigh MAX foam earplugs. (I ride a motorcycle). It comes out to almost nothing when bought online in bulk like this. These are rated at 33 decibels of noise reduction.
I looked up musicians earplugs online and ordered through an audiologist. They are made specifically for musicians and you can decide how many decibels you want to be eliminated (5, 15, 25) and those are the filters that are put in. They recommend 15 and that is what I went with. The audiologist custom fits them to your ear using a silicon mold. They cost me around $160-$180 but they were great for our practice sessions when my teeth are rattling due to the drums and amps as well as the Motley Crue concert this summer.
Seemed a little muffled when I had my wife talk to me while I was testing out the "clairty" of my purchase but overall, I'm happy w/them.
Ambition is the path to success...persistence is the vehicle you arrive in!!!
Most musicians I see and talk to, that play with any significant stage volume, wear earplugs or in-ear monitors (that act as earplugs). They'd be stupid not to. Their ears are their livelyhood.
The custom earplugs, like Tommy Guns mentions, can be virtually invisible.