Musician Earplugs and In-Ear Monitors
Both custom and non-custom musician earplugs and in-ear monitors are available for musicians to prevent hearing loss. Wearing the right ear protection not only helps combat hearing loss, but it can also help prevent tinnitus.
Musicians have unique needs when it comes to hearing protection. They need to protect their hearing, but they also need to be able to hear their own music clearly, as well as hear other musicians’ music and voices while performing.
Conventional store-bought earplugs are great at providing hearing protection, but they don’t attenuate evenly. Typically, musicians want a more even frequency response from their earplugs. Foam or off-the-shelf earplugs usually attenuate the highs more than the lows, but they don’t provide protection across all frequencies.
Most musicians need specialized protection. This means protection across all frequencies with more emphasis on the low-to-mid frequencies. Musician earplugs generally attenuate evenly across frequencies but this may vary by type of instrument they play and their physical location to other musicians.
Musician earplugs come in both custom and non-custom options. Over-the-counter musician earplugs can reduce sound levels by approximately 20 dB, enough to reduce harmful sound without distorting speech or music.
- Musician Earplugs. These earplugs are made for musicians playing a variety of different types of instruments. They’re available in several types of materials, from foam to a softer plastic, and enable the musician to hear the music being performed. These earplugs are also beneficial for concert-goers to protect their hearing while still enjoying the music.
- Electronic Earplugs. These earplugs are electronic and can be programmed to adjust to different pitches and sounds depending on the loudness and environment the musician is in. These adaptive earplugs allow musicians to hear the sounds that are important while filtering out damaging noise levels.
Custom-made earplugs fit more deeply in order to seal within the bony portion of the ear canal. This deep fit reduces what is known as occlusion, a hollow or boomy sound in the musician’s own voice that is sometimes experienced with lower quality earplugs. This style of deep-fit earmolds is popular with musicians because of the quality of sound they allow them to hear while practicing and performing.
Musician Earplugs Provide Protection For
- Musicians and music teachers
- Sound crews
- Recording engineers
- Athletic coaches
- NFL football players
- Medical professionals
- Construction workers
- Industrial workers
- Truck drivers
For musicians who perform for large audiences, in-ear monitors (IEMs) are the current standard in musician technology. They allow the musician to hear the music clearly as the audience would hear it while still protecting the musician’s ears from extremely loud amplification systems and audiences.
IEMs work best if they are custom molded to fit each musician’s ears personally. These high-tech devices are used by musicians or audio-engineer professionals to deliver sound to the ear while creating a barrier to background and damaging noise levels. In-ear monitors are available in custom or universal options. Universal IEMs typically come with interchangeable foam or silicone tips to allow for a semi-custom fit.
Musician earplugs and in-ear monitors aren’t simply designed for individuals in a band, they can actually be beneficial to a number of different people, including:
- Students in the school band or orchestra
- Music teachers or conductors
- Sound crews and recording engineers
- Concert or festival attendees
- Nightclub workers or patrons
- Entertainment industry staff
Both earmolds and IEMs can be custom made (using an ear impression) to fit your unique ear shape.
The ear impression that is used to make the earmold is the most important part of the process of getting a good custom fit. The quality of the ear impression material and technique directly impacts the sound quality, sound isolation, and comfort that are achieved with the earmold.
Because this part of the process is so crucial, it’s important that you have someone who is experienced and trained in making ear impressions for high-quality musician earplugs. At Coates Hearing Clinic, our audiologists are trained in this process and understand the importance of a good fit.