Practice Safe Sound

Yeah, Baby. I want to keep my hearing. Entropy has decided to work against me, so I fight back.

Every practice session, every rehearsal; ear plugs. Reviewing tracks; I listen at extremely low volumes, often times in mono, mixing off my IPhone, mixing off head phones set across the room, referencing Blue Tooth speakers in close proximity.

At 10 to 15 db, I make sure I can hear every instrument, placed in proper perspective, panning in place.

Here’s an important note: at very low decimal volume, inaccuracies in performance jump out. Not only must the mix sit well at high volume, it must sit well low. High volume playback easily punches, not so much low volume.

Keeping my hearing is crucial.

Depending on the gig I may, or may not, where ear protection. At extremely high volume, yes, definitely. At lower volumes, depends.

A snare hit, even with a bundled stick, can register at 140 db., so it is best to be careful.

For two years I played next to a Marshall Stack. The result was an eardrum which would pop at the slightest high frequency sound. That took years to heal.

I marvel at my fellow players who never even consider protecting their hearing. Those cymbal crashes certainly can’t be fun, especially from the high frequency sizzle. Yikes!

I have great friends who espouse custom fit ear plugs. The cost can be prohibitive. My challenge with those kind of ear plugs is the same as reading glasses, they are easily misplaced. The cheapest hearing protection is toilet paper wadded into my ear canal. Good enough for George Jones, good enough for me.

Is there anything we can do to help?

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