When someone is consistently around loud noises, earplugs are devices which are inserted into the ear canal to protect the ears from damage by the excessive noise. The worst thing that can happen to a musician or singer is hearing loss from being subjected to loud volumes of music for hours and hours during rehearsals or concerts. This article helps musicians understand which are the best earplugs for concerts, how the noise levels can be damaging to the ears, what causes hearing loss, qualities of the best earplugs for musicians, and comparisons of some of the most highly recommended earplugs in the industry today.
Earplugs Specifically Made for Musicians
There are a variety of earplugs made specifically for musicians which duplicate the normal hearing range of the ear but at a reduced decibel/noise level that is safer to the ear and prevents even minimal damage. In addition there are assorted earplugs that protect the ears from different volume levels – there’s a huge difference in the volume of a rehearsal, or recording session, than during a live concert. Below are some comparisons of the best rated earplugs for concerts:
|Picture||Product Name||Noise Reduction||Best for concerts?||Check Price|
|DownBeats Reusable High Fidelity Hearing Protection||18 dB||Yes||Check Price|
|LiveMus!c HearSafe Earplugs||23 dB||Yes||Check Price|
|Mute Audio M-Series M7 Musician Earplugs||32 dB||Yes||Check Price|
|EarWarrior Ear Plugs of 2 pairs of Quality for Musicians||27 dB||Yes||Check Price|
|DUBS Acoustic Filters Advanced Tech Earplugs||12 dB||Yes||Check Price|
Being able to hear the sound produced by the other musicians and singers is critical. These DownBeats earplugs are excellent at filtering the sounds to a safe conversation-like level that doesn’t damage hearing. The benefits of the DownBeats earplugs include:
- Easy to clean with water and a mild dish washing detergent
- Low in-ear profile for subtle use
- Rated at 18dB – meaning it reduces the level of noise by 18dB
- Allows the entire range of low to high notes, and even speech to come through crisply and clearly
- Durable aluminum case for storage that has a plastic liner to keep them from damage during transport
Customer generally recommended these DownBeats earplugs because the noise level is reduced to a comfortable conversation-level and the fit was very comfortable for medium sized to larger ears. These were also rated as a good value when compared to other brands. The main complaint was the white color, and clear or flesh colored would be preferable.LiveMus!c HearSafe Earplugs
When compared to generic, cheaper earplugs, these LiveMus!c HearSafe earplugs provide attenuation filter that refrain from muffling the sound and provide valuable protection against hearing loss. The benefits of the LiveMus!c HearSafe earplugs include:
- Highest rating in noise reduction
- Comes with two pair of earplugs – white filter reduces noise 29dB and green filter reduces noise 23dB
- Can be used for six to 12 months with minimal maintenance
- Contains a precision filter/damper with varying strength to reduce background noise and minimize high frequency noise attenuation – useful musical and speech sounds come through clearly.
- Lifetime replacement guarantee
Customers love these earplugs because they reduce the background sound and loud noises to a safe level, and are very comfortable. The customers stated they are an excellent quality, comfortable and highly recommended and the customer service is exceptional when these earplugs are damaged or don’t fit smaller sized ears.Mute Audio M-Series M7 Musician Earplugs
Musicians want their hearing protected but they want the sound quality to be maintained. These M7 earplugs provides a reduction in sound levels but ensures that speech and music remain at a clear and natural level. These are specifically designed for musicians, disk jockeys and producers to guard against hearing loss. The benefits of the M7 include:
- Reduction in sound levels across all frequencies
- Protects against hearing loss
- Silicone-based which fits most any sized ear comfortably
- Easily cleaned with soap and water
- Discrete and not easily viewable when inserted in the ear
- Can easily be used with monitoring headphones
- Soft, small, lightweight carrying case
Several customers raved about the sound quality that they were able to hear at such a reduced volume with clear fidelity and comfortable fit with no complaints. Other customers commented that their customer services was fast and very professional when having to replace a damaged earplug.EarWarrior Ear Plugs of 2 pairs of Quality for Musicians
The advanced design of the EarWarrior earplugs provides different hearing protection filters to choose from in the set of two pair. The medium-protection blue filters provide medium hearing protection that reduces the volume by 20dB and the high-protection white pair protects the hearing further by reducing the volume by 27dB. Other benefits of this brand includes:
- Noise-cancelling, decibel-reducing earplugs that maintain high sound quality
- Cone-shaped design with three incremental flanges to comfortably fit in the ear canal
- Reusable, and made of silicone
- Small and discreet
- Portable aluminum carrying case
- Lifetime money back satisfaction guarantee
Customers loved the fit of these EarWarrior earplugs and having the choice of medium and high volume protection was greatly appreciated and several customer commented that the key chain case is very handy. Some customers found the shape to be somewhat more uncomfortable than other brands because of the different cone-shaped design.
DUBS Acoustic Filters Advanced Tech Earplugs
The proprietary design of the DUBS earplugs provides greater hearing protection in the midrange of frequencies where the damage risk is higher than other ranges. Its sleek design fits flush to the ear providing a very comfortable fit and superior noise reduction. There are several benefits to this model, which include:
- Reusable earplugs using dynamic attenuation which greatly reduces general volume and maintaining sound fidelity
- Minimalist sleek design that is compact and comfortable
- Made of durable stainless steel, silicone, polymer foams, and ABS
- Average of 12dB noise reduction rating in the midrange frequencies with up to 24dB of attenuation reduction
- Comfortably fits most adults and available in blue, pink, teal, or white
Customers loved the comfort of these earplugs and found that they are excellent in keeping the volume to comfortable and safe levels and maintaining the sound quality. One customer commented that they seem to break more easily than other models they had used.
Understanding Noise Levels
For musicians, a concert environment (which includes the long hours of rehearsals) causes that frustrating “ringing in the ears” which can eventually lead to hearing damage, or even permanent hearing loss, when exposed to these prolonged levels of noise. For example consider the following table:
|Decibel (dB) Level||Maximum daily exposure|
|85-90 dB||8 hours|
|91-96 dB||2 hours|
|97-102 dB||30 minutes|
|103 and over||7 minutes|
To put this chart into normal everyday perspective, the noise level in a normal conversation averages about 60dB, the noise level from a lawn mower is about 90dB, and the noise level in a rock, hip hop, or country music concert can be up to an average of 120dB with a peak of upwards of 150dB. To add an additional comparison, the decibel range of a gunshot, depending on the weapon, is from 140 to 190dB similar to a loud thunderclap that can range from 120dB to 140dB.
Therefore, for the musicians, singers, producers, volume controllers, and disk jockeys it’s critical for them to wear concert earplugs to avoid permanent hearing loss.
How Loud Noises Damages Hearing
There are tiny hair cells in the inner ear which transmit the signals to the brain. The brain, in turn interprets these signals as sound. When exposed to loud noises (including music), these hairs flatten, and over time – after consistent exposure to loud noises – these hairs break and can no longer transmit the signals. This is when hearing loss begins.
Choosing the Best Earplugs
The best earplugs for musicians, who are consistently in a high-noise environment to reduce the volume of the music, must be
- Easily stored
- Made with few moving parts
- Fit comfortably in the ear canal
- Specifically made for musicians.
Reasons Musicians Should Wear Earplugs
Whether the musician is playing the drums, bass guitar, is one of the singers, or even the disk jockey running the music, choosing the best earplugs is a lot tougher than choosing ones that do nothing more than block annoying noises while trying to sleep during the day, or for swimming. The musician must be able to hear the sound produced by the other musicians; consequently, these musicians don’t want earplugs that completely block the music. Therefore, the ideal earplugs must consistently lower the volume of the sound without muting it completely across all frequencies.
Some models are designed to reduce the noise up to 12dB while others have a reduction ratio of 20dB to 27dB to further protect the ear and prevent hearing loss. They are available in different sizes and there’s one available to fit the ranges from the smallest ears to the largest sizes.
For a musician, or anyone who loves listening to music, the loss of hearing is probably the most devastating of all the senses to lose. It’s particularly frustrating because it could have been prevented with a set of earplugs that moderates the sound level and greatly reduces the volume. Whether at a practice session, a recording session, or at a large coliseum with a crowd of 40,000 people, the volume is vastly different in each setting. Earplugs for musicians, as well as music lovers who attend numerous concerts a year (or listen to their music at a loud volume in the car or at home) can greatly benefit from using an earplug that is designed to provide protection of the ear canal and prevent hearing loss.
The best recommendation from all Otolaryngologist in preventing hearing loss is easy and safe because of volume reduction earplugs.