Other Custom-fit ear plugs

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
4,663
Location
Whitchurch, North Shropshire
#1
I play in a symphonic wind band and in rehearsals I am in front of the drum-kit, timps, mallet percussion, and 9 trombones... This gets to be VERY loud. I have an app on my phone which has a sound pressure meter on it and I regularly get 95db - I don't know what the peak is other than I know it's louder than that (the app times out). Sometimes playng cello can be a challenge depending on where the brass are located (or flutes - sitting next to a flute or worse a piccolo is not a laughing matter).

I decided to get my hearing tested. The good news is that across most of the range I can hear -20db with some slight drop of around 9/10 kHz. This is to be expected and is in fact good for my age :)eek:) .I did decide though to bite the bullet and pay for proper custom-fit made-to-measure ear plugs with proper filtration / attenuation. I opted for 15db attenuation.

To make them, a mould is taken of each ear. This is done by inserting a sponge stopper and injecting a putty-like material, which sets in a couple of minutes. You then pull on the cord attached to the stopper and it comes out with the mould. This was sent to a company in Stockport who laser-scan the mould and 3D print the ear-plug. It has the relevant attenuating filter installed (you can have 10, 15, 25, 30 db attenuation). It was interesting to note that the ear canal on my left ear is significantly narrower than my right one. The shape is also quite complex.

Today I went to pick them up and try them out. You have to orient them correctly, but they do go in quite easily, they are secure and come out readily too. You can change the filters if you wish. The cost was £170.
IMG_6380.jpg


IMG_6378.jpg
 
D

Deleted member 5000

Guest
#5
Ive had a pair for 20 years, and they were the best investment Ive made.
I opted for the 15 version .

For me, it was drums, mainly cymbals that was causing me grief. ( and still do )

They are great and do what they are supposed to do, BUT........

I dont like wearing them, and wear them as little as possible.

Your concept of your own sound changes , as you are hearing it more inside your head. The resonance is different.

It took me a long time to get used to that, and I still dont like it.

For listening to others at a reduced volume, they are great.

However, they do allow me to be in loud situations that I wouldnt otherwise be in, And they are much better than the little yellow foam versions, or the xmas tree type versions.

Good luck.

Overall, you have made a good purchase.
 
Messages
137
Location
Dartmoor, SW UK
#6
I've never worn ear plugs when playing wind (although maybe would have been a good idea when I was playing clarinet in a wind band with trumpets behind me!), but I play guitar in a rock band and wouldn't be without them for that. I've got a pair of ACS 17dB plugs, which cost about £130 I think - seemed like a ridiculous amount to spend on a pair of ear plugs, but the sound is so much more natural than with the £30 Alpine ones I had before it's well worth the investment. And they're so comfortable it's quite easy to forget I'm wearing them, whereas the Alpines used to make my ears sore.

If you're playing in a loud band a good pair of ear plugs is a justifiable investment as far as I'm concerned.
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
Subscriber
Messages
501
Location
Hampshire
#7
I've never worn ear plugs when playing wind (although maybe would have been a good idea when I was playing clarinet in a wind band with trumpets behind me!), but I play guitar in a rock band and wouldn't be without them for that. I've got a pair of ACS 17dB plugs, which cost about £130 I think - seemed like a ridiculous amount to spend on a pair of ear plugs, but the sound is so much more natural than with the £30 Alpine ones I had before it's well worth the investment. And they're so comfortable it's quite easy to forget I'm wearing them, whereas the Alpines used to make my ears sore.

If you're playing in a loud band a good pair of ear plugs is a justifiable investment as far as I'm concerned.
I've got a pair of Alpines and I've never really got on with them. Not so much soreness, but as a singer I found even the weakest filter didn't allow me to hear the higher parts of my voice, causing pitching and straining issues. My band mates, despite being old enough to know better, practice way too loud. Only myself and the drummer seem to have any concerns and do anything about protecting our hearing!

I've recently gone the really expensive route and bought the Shure PSM300 wireless In ears. The In Ears aren't custom molded, but that acts in my favour as I just run my voice through the monitors, plus a tiny bit of keyboards. Because they allow a bit of external sound through I can still hear the band playing through their amps, but at a much more comfortable volume. Meanwhile my voice is crystal clear and I don't have to strain at all to hear myself or hit the high notes. The added bonus is my ears don't feel any downsides at all after a practice or a gig.

You've only got two pairs of ears...or something like that...:p
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
4,663
Location
Whitchurch, North Shropshire
#8
There is an IEM option which I think are branded as “Muso”. These provide in ear monitoring and you can adjust the attenuation and response profile. They are custom fit too, but £500 so a bit pricey unless you play miked up a lot etc
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,052
Location
The Malverns, Worcs
#11
I have a similar set (but a different brand), also custom made. I also opted for the "15" option.
I think mine were £199.
Like yours they are easy to put in, stay in well, are very comfortable and come out fairly easily - opening the mouth tends to help, I find.

I decided to get mine after a Big Band rehearsal where I was in front of the brass section, and next to the percussion.

Although £199 may sound a lot, I took the view that we only get one set of ears and I don't want to damage them, if I can help it AND the sax I am playing cost £6000, so it's all relative.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,054
Location
Victoria BC Canada
#14
For those who might be interested in custom formed ear plugs my friend Simon Fisk at Plunge Audio in Calgary Canada makes some great electronic ones that the amount of dampening can be adjusted to suit. They are competitively priced and he arranges with a local hearing clinic to do the moulds and then ship them. Don't know how much it is over there but the custom in ears he made for me (with dual drivers) were cheaper than the Shure in ears that are mass produced.

I subbed for a buddy in big band a week ago and had forgotten how loud the trumpets can be. Fortunately due to a shallow stage the bones were behind me.. I had forgotten my ear plugs.
 

Alice

Psychedelic
Subscriber
Messages
4,616
Location
Kent
#15
The opticians appointments can really drag on though! By the time you start looking at millions of frames...... and then depending on your prescription you might have to have the lenses made with a much more expensive, thinner material because if you don’t you could end up with lenses too thick and heavy for their frames anyway.
The glasses that actually flatter, are NEVER the cheapest and they’ve taken away those NHS ones now that John Lennon made iconic. Flipping cheek.
 

MMM

Senior Member
Messages
744
Location
SW of London Town
#17
Thinking of getting a pair of custom earplugs from Specsavers, they stock the ACS Pro (so do Boots apparently): does anyone here use them? Or does anyone know of any comparisons with other makes?
I rehearse with an electric band with a loud drummer, occasional live gig and my other question would be: has anyone compared a 17 (which is what was recommended) with a 20db filter? I'm loathed to spend £140 only to find out the filter is too weak/strong!
Filters can be changed, but they cost around £90 for the pair!

I am currently using some flare generic plugs which over time seem to have become more ineffective (or the music is getting louder!). The problem with the generic ones is that I can use them in rehearsal (just!), but on stage I just cannot hear myself or the band well enough and wondering if the custom plugs will improve the sound quality.... sorry, lots of questions here... no pressure!

Thank you!
M.
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
Subscriber
Messages
501
Location
Hampshire
#18
Thinking of getting a pair of custom earplugs from Specsavers, they stock the ACS Pro (so do Boots apparently): does anyone here use them? Or does anyone know of any comparisons with other makes?
I rehearse with an electric band with a loud drummer, occasional live gig and my other question would be: has anyone compared a 17 (which is what was recommended) with a 20db filter? I'm loathed to spend £140 only to find out the filter is too weak/strong!
Filters can be changed, but they cost around £90 for the pair!

I am currently using some flare generic plugs which over time seem to have become more ineffective (or the music is getting louder!). The problem with the generic ones is that I can use them in rehearsal (just!), but on stage I just cannot hear myself or the band well enough and wondering if the custom plugs will improve the sound quality.... sorry, lots of questions here... no pressure!

Thank you!
M.
I've not used them, but I note the website states that if you don't like the filters, you send them back and they will send you another pair. It doesn't mention at a cost, it seems to imply this is a swap, but worth checking T's and C's.

EDIT - brain not in gear. It indeed states it is a free exchange within 30 days.
 
Top Bottom