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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Does anyone know if custom earplugs work in decreasing sounds across all frequencies? or just certain frequencies?

I've been practicing sax in a small room and the TE tuner app says my decibels average around 85 and sometimes go up to 100. As I started to develop some ringing in my ears, I went to get my hearing checking out and luckily my hearing is still in the normal range.

However, the audiologist person seem to think that custom earplugs for musicians mainly decrease or filter out sounds in certain frequencies. If that is the case, is there a certain frequency that I should ask to filter out?

Sorry I tried to search for this info in prior threads and the older threads suggest that custom earplugs filter sounds across all frequencies.

Thanks!
 

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My understanding is that the goal of custom "musician's" earplugs is to filter out sound relatively evenly across the frequency range.

I had a custom pair made by Westone with molds taken by an audiologist a couple of years ago and that's what Westone says their filters do. Health problems kept me away from gigging right after I got them and then we went into lockdown not long after that, so I didn't really have a great chance to try them out. My super unscientific tests (listen to music with the earplugs on and off) seem to indicate that they are much more even than the "universal fit" rubber ones or especially the cheap foam ones that venues hand out for free, but still seem to filter out a touch more high frequency than the lower frequencies, so things tend to sound a bit dull.

They seem to work really well and fit great. I need to start bringing them to concerts and actually wearing them. I sure do hate playing in them, though!
 

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Yes, an ear specialist made me a pair of plugs and it lowers 10db while keeping the eq flat. I can sing and play sax with them in and feel confident blending and balancing.
 

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EDIT: I posted this before I realized that you are mainly asking about practicing with ear plugs and not in-ear monitors with a band. I'll leave this info here anyway in case it's useful to anyone. I've used the filtered earplugs that are supposed to be flat and I find they still remove more high freqs than bass but for solo sax you should be fine. /edit

In my experience (playing in VERY LOUD bands). Anything that seals your ear canal - even with fancy filters to give flat EQ - will still remove more hi freqs than bass freqs. The bass (from the kick drum and bassist) is always too loud on the stage to begin with and that heavy bass is just not easy to filter out with sealed ear canals.

When I was playing on those loud stages, I had my own rig (keyboard player as well as horns so I had electronic rig already) so I could setup a mic to catch the ambient stage sounds and roll the bass off. Then I could feed my in-ears the mids and highs from the stage sound at a very low level so I could hear the other band members if someone shouted out a change or something. And I would dial in enough of my own instruments and any effects to have a nice mix. You just have to fight the tendency to turn things up. It's easy to get your in-ear levels high enough to damage your hearing without realizing it.
 
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