No, I don't. I have moderate to severe tinnitus in my left ear, and was worried that playing would make it worse. I just play my horns here at the house for my own enjoyment. I have done LOTS of research, and the consensus is the sound of one horn won't damage your hearing. I wouldn't play it in a very small. closed room though.
I hear for a living, but I don't bother to wear plugs while practicing. I am sensitive to the levels I am exposed to, and I haven't felt the need to worry when practicing alone. I think plugs would actually be detrimental to practicing, as you wouldn't be able to hear some of the overtones from the horn itself. What you could hear would be overwhelmed by what you are 'hearing' via bone conduction.
In all circumstances not being able to hear yourself well leads to overblowing and other things that are bad for you and your tone.
I like to practice at all sound levels. Practicing only softly does not let me bring out all aspects of my mouthpiece and horn. I can't imagine my horn being loud enough to hurt me unless I was in some kind of echo chamber and I don't have one of those at home.
If your set-up is such that you have to blow really hard, you could maybe try different set-up that is easier to blow. I use a 7 Link on tenor (6* on Alto) with 2.5 reeds which can play very quietly if needed.
I've tried some ear protection recently as our percussion section is getting rather noisy. The trouble with it is it makes the sax sound weird.
I use earplugs when I practice with my Susato high D Irish whistle. The second register can hurt! As far as the sax goes, I avoid practicing with certain of my louder mouthpieces, such as my Ponzol M2 stainless tenor piece which can be just too loud for my practice space, but perfect on gigs. I can control the volume, but I can't play as loud as I want in doors. I like to hear myself play in order to get all the pretty sounds a sax can make, so I practice with ones I can fully express myself with- but with no earplugs. Muffling the sound with earplugs would remove the pleasure I get from listening to the sax as I practice and play.
A forum community dedicated to saxophone players and enthusiasts originally founded by Harri Rautiainen. Come join the discussion about collections, care, displays, models, styles, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!