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Discussion Starter #1
Who uses those custom molded earplus? I think they cost around $200-300. I use the $30 Vater ones now. They are way better than the foam earplug but they still affect the balance of the sound quite a bit. I'm wondering how much better the custom ones sound. Do they allow me to adjust the level of attenuation? I can't find much info on them. I've only seen a couple guys with them at local jams, and most people use nothing! It would be good to know how sax players find them.

I'm young and I want to protect my ears but I also want to hear what I need to hear.
 

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I bought mine 20 years ago, and they were the best investment I’ve ever bought.

I was having problems with mild tinnitus, brought on by loud musical experiences. Buying these allowedcme to be in situations that I wouldn’t have been comfortable in.

Basically, there is a hollow Chanel in the middle of the moulded ear plug. At the outside end is fitted a little filter.
I opted for the version that drops the sound by 15 decibels. This filter is removable, so You can go lower or higher. 15 seems to be common.

The sound you hear of the other instruments is much better quality than the cheap ear plugs etc. Ie it is like just turning the volume down.

BUT..... and it is a big but.....using them still impacts on how you hear your own sound.
I understand that this is because what you are hearing is also determined by the sound being sent to you via the bones etc inside your skull.

So, good as they are for pr3venting ear damage from loud situations, they are not perf3ct, because of the way you will hear yourself.

However, if you are to be in loud situations, I would very much encourage you to invest in them. The initial cost, although high, is nothing when spread over many years of use, and will help you avoid tinnitus type problems.



Good luck
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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Yes - Get THEM NOW! I keep a pair in my case all the times and a pair for mowing the yard or chain saw work. I've had custom plugs for 25 years, best investment ever. Sure you'll loose one once in a while but still worth every penny.
 

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They're the best....worth every penny....you can put different sized attenuaters (sp) in....I use the 15 DB....
 

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I tried every kind of earplug I could find before settling on some custom ones made of silicone. The main reason I like the custom ones is they are consistent in how much they reduce the volume. When singing or playing sax I think the musicians plugs are not that great. As with other earplugs, you still get that weird feeling of the sax sounding louder inside your head.
 

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I got mine from a Beltone Hearing Aid store. They really are great.
I think Beltone just did the fitting of my ear canal, but may buy them from here:
https://www.sensaphonics.com/
I looked at the Sensaphonics site and they look just like mine.
Recently, one of them lost its center "filter element". It popped out while I was practicing. If I can't find it (it's pretty tiny) on the floor when I clean out my basement, Sensaphonics said they could replace it.
They make in-ear monitors too, and I know those can be superior to, say, floor monitors... But I'm curious as to how much ear protection they offer as opposed to the filter/attenuators. If you adjust the volume low enough, do they also filter out the ambient sound pressure level as the filters do?
I'll probably be talking to Sensaphonics about all this.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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Check out Etymotics Research. Typical price of a set is circa $300.

Hearing? Priceless.
 

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Forum Contributor 2013-2016
Guitar and saxophone
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Who uses those custom molded earplus? I think they cost around $200-300. I use the $30 Vater ones now. They are way better than the foam earplug but they still affect the balance of the sound quite a bit. I'm wondering how much better the custom ones sound. Do they allow me to adjust the level of attenuation? I can't find much info on them. I've only seen a couple guys with them at local jams, and most people use nothing! It would be good to know how sax players find them.

I'm young and I want to protect my ears but I also want to hear what I need to hear.
I bought mine about 14-15 years ago in Edmonton. They have 15 dB baffles which I like. The baffles can be swapped out for lower or higher dB baffles but I stuck with the 15 dB baffles. I paid close to $200, I think, back then. Etymotic is the brand name.
 

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Forum Contributor 2013-2016
Guitar and saxophone
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420 Posts
Who uses those custom molded earplus? I think they cost around $200-300. I use the $30 Vater ones now. They are way better than the foam earplug but they still affect the balance of the sound quite a bit. I'm wondering how much better the custom ones sound. Do they allow me to adjust the level of attenuation? I can't find much info on them. I've only seen a couple guys with them at local jams, and most people use nothing! It would be good to know how sax players find them.

I'm young and I want to protect my ears but I also want to hear what I need to hear.
Hearing protection is a must! I'm 68 and have a bit of hearing loss but nothing really serious. My wife has a different opinion though, lol. Seriously, there's no fix for hearing loss and hearing aids suck. I don't have them but a few of my friends do. They are not a substitute for normal hearing.
 

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The custom ones made by an expert are better than anything, no matter what other technology is involved (baffles or electronics). You might check with several hearing aid dispensers in your area. Some may be able to cast a proper mold AND turn it into a sonic plug. You can buy electronic ones that will interface with Blootooth and are adjustable. These are insanely expensive and really not worth the expense unless you do studio work and the studio has a Blootooth transmitter. (My standard hearing aids have several different channels and run $2,500 apiece and must be replaced every five years--- even sooner if you drop one on a hard floor). The DIY drugstore silicone earplugs will cut the sound, but may loosen from body heat. The Lucite ear plugs with the interchangeable baffles are the best if they are cast by an expert.

I have worn hearing aids for 25 years. I can attest to the need for a good fit for comfort and control of sound.

Avoid the DIY kits you may see advertised on You Tube or the ones sold by Lloyd's Hearing Aids. You really can't cast your own mold unless you are experienced and know what you are doing. If money is really a factor, the drug store silicone plugs are a good, economical compromise. As long as you don't shove too much of the silicone into your ear, you won't do any damage, and they WILL cut the sound.

It also helps to tell the guitar players to turn down the #*%!! amps and to stand as far away from the drums as possible.

And don't stand in front of a trombonist.
 

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Here is a local place that does them:
https://davidsonhearingaids.com/products/hearing-protection/

$200 for a pair. That really isn't a lot considering what they are.
I wonder if is cheaper if I lose them and need a replacement pair since they would already have done the molds.
I have never used any of these hearing protectors, but the $25.00 ETY plugs use what is often referred to as a "tulip" to conform to the ear canal. Early technology behind-the-ear capillary-type aids still use them. (I had a set of them). They are flexible silicone. They become greasy and itchy very fast. The attenuator tubes that extend from them make them VERY dangerous because there is nothing to stop the plug from going too deep into the ear canal and puncturing the eardrum. You're better off with the drugstore silicone plugs.

Another problem: Unless it is well-secured onto the attenuator, the silicone tulip may expand in response to your body heat and become slippery from your body oil and become lodged in the ear. (Been there, done that with a hearing aid. Three hundred bucks for a doctor to remover the damned thing). The ETY looks like bad news all around.
 

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I use a moulded silicon set, ordered from a UK pharmacy, a little over £100. I've used them primarily in rehearsals, when practising, and watching loud gigs; I found certain bands tended to to rehearse too loud, needlessly, in enclosed rooms. Whereas, a decent venue or festival stage gives proper foldback, without excessive volume- unless you are stuck behind the guitarist's amp; vintage kit tends to be as loud out of the back.
One hazard is losing them- I've dropped them after a long session, and they really bounce! I'm amazed still to have them, after 15+ years. I'd certainly buy them again if needed. I recall they dribbled plaster into the ears; not unpleasant.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Does anyone use active earplugs? They sound like they would work so much better in some settings I'm in. Like when the volume is decent until the drummer hits a cymbal really hard or something. Or when the volume level is just at the point where I would want the earplugs and end up taking the passive ones in and out. Or if I step outside to talk to people and want to hear normally.
 
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