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  1. #1

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    Default Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    This my be the stupidest question ever asked, but should I wear ear plugs in the practice room? Is the volume of a saxophone enough decibals to be damaging to your ears?

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    Airflyte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    Well, it's not a stupid question! As far as sound levels go, it depends . . . . . . . Go ahead, try the earplug thing and you'll quickly find an answer your own question.

    I tried it, and it was most annoying - more so than my playing.

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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    Well I'm not sure that the sound of a saxophone alone would cause damage, different playing environments certainly can. Rock bands, show bands, tenor 1 chair in a big band. I use ear plugs while playing in loud situation and while I agree they are very strange to play with, you can get used to them, I have.

    Do I prefer playing with out them, certainly, do I want to sacrifice my hearing for the sake of a gig, certainly not.

    I actually think they can help with intonation, you really hear that sound inside your head.

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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    For me earplugs are for sleeping when the environment is noisy.
    I don't play in bands where it's so loud the my hearing is at risk.
    I never found practice rooms to be as loud as bands.
    Usually they have some sort of sound control panels in them which dampens reverb.

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    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    It depends on the practice room. I would see if I could borrow a SPL meter. If it's over 85 dB SPL A weighted is considered 'safe' for up to 8 hours a day. The time cuts in half for every 10 dB SPL over 85.

    If your ears ring--it's too loud for sure, but ears can 'recover' if it's not too much.

    If you're really serious about practicing and performing, I highly recommend going to an audiologist and get fitted for musician's earplugs. The comfort and ease is well worth the relative high price.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    Are your ears ringing slightly after practice? Mine were. I didn't really notice it before lying down for the night. So I treated my practice room (an 8x8x8 jobsite office on wheels). Helped a bit but not enough. So I went to my audiologist and had custom impressions made for some westone 49's. I ordered them with both 15 and 25 db plugs. Completely different from off the shelf ear plugs in that the allow you to hear all frequencies but with a degree of loudness attenuation. No more ringing. About the price of a decent, non-designer mouthpiece. Very glad I did it as I rather get along well with my ears as they are now.

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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    I agree, if your ears are ringing then it's too loud.
    Weston 49's?

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2014 jazzbluescat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    Is this a trick question?

    It depends on what kind of music you're practicing/rehearsing for. But earplugs aren't a normal part of practicing/playing a saxophone. It's better to alter your practice environment.
    If you can't dazzle them with brilliance...then baffle 'em with bullsh*t.

    Dude, Support this Forum.

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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by adamk View Post
    I agree, if your ears are ringing then it's too loud.
    Weston 49's?
    These... https://www.westone.com/defendear/in...-49&Itemid=115

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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    Give them out to the innocent bystanders.

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    Forum Contributor 2013 graphicguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    or take up clarinet instead lol
    Trader by day, sax player by night (hobby): TradingJazz.com

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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    What I've begun doing is playing with a mic and headphones, through my stereo, when practicing. You can set the volume, keeping it under control, and there's no missing anything.
    Strive to be better, than the day before.

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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    I do and I take care of my hearing. It is important to notice that with time you will get used to them and to hear quite well as using plugs.

    Do not take the chance of losing your hearing.

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    Forum Contributor 2016 TurtleJimmy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    I think it's a great question. Nothing is more precious to a musician than their hearing. If you can't get hold of a decibel meter, like Hakukani suggests, try to answer these 2 questions:

    1. How loudly am I practicing?
    2. What is the practice environment like?

    It's impossible to say, without a meter or a sound check with the stereo or something of that nature, just how loudly you are practicing ..... But, clearly, there's no need to blow the walls down for an effective practice session. If your ears are ringing, then it's way too loud. And, if your practice room has all hard walls and floor and is small and square, you're in danger. Rather than earplugs or headphones for practicing, try practicing at a more reasonable level and put some form of sound deadening material on your walls .... Can be as simple as chunks of 4" thick rigid foam insulation. Imo, you shouldn't have to wear protection in the practice room, the one environment you can control.


    Turtle
    King Super 20 tenor / 1949 Bob Dukoff Hollywood 6* / Silverstein Cryo 4 lig / Rigotti Gold reeds
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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    Well I'm playing bari in my closet if that makes it any simpler. I don't have any ringing in my ears or anything

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    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Baggins View Post
    These look great, but I went with sensaphonic ERs

    http://www.sensaphonics.com/er-serie...arplugs-custom
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    The sensaphonics would have been my first choice had not my audiologist pushed the westones on me. Did you order direct through sensaphonic? What level attenuators are you using?

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    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Baggins View Post
    The sensaphonics would have been my first choice had not my audiologist pushed the westones on me. Did you order direct through sensaphonic? What level attenuators are you using?
    I went to an audiologist in NYC, recommended to me by member Dan Perez. She recommended the sensaphonics, and did the ordering for me. We agreed that the ER15 was fine for my uses, which are standing near drum sets or in front of brass.

    However, I end up using them for other loud places, and find they work quite well for loud vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers. I still use over the ear hearing protection with 2 cycle engines like string trimmers and pressure washers.

    I wish I had gotten fitted 30 years ago. I'd have less tinnitus.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    So you guys actually go into the practice room and put earplugs in? How does that help with your tone? Does playing a lower instrument, such as Bari help my case? Is it better to play without earplugs on bari than like alto or something?

  20. #20

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    Default Re: Should I wear ear plugs when I practice?

    My practice space is an 8' cube in a metal trailer. Before I treated it with rock wool sound panels, there was a ton of slap echo and strong resonant frequencies set in motion by the lower end of the tenor. Even after treatment I'd notice slight ringing after three hours or more of practice. The plugs are not like your traditional over the counter foam things that you're probably imagining. They are transparent, providing a 15 or 25 db cut. You hear yourself just fine so it doesn't really affect perception of tone.

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