This Saved My Hearing: Earplugs and a Passive Limiter for Drummers, Musicians and Singers with Tinnitus

Posted by admin March 22, 2016 No Comments »

About 15 years ago, I made a drawing on a napkin in a bar. The drawing had a mixer, a pair of In-Ear headphones, and a small cylinder – and the words compressor next to it. The ringing in my ears was so loud that I could barely think. A loud acoustic shock had molested my eardrums and brought my tinnitus to an unbearable level. I another instance, I remember having the TV turned up so loud that I worries the neighbors in the hotel would start knocking on my wall – tinnitus is serious. Any musician, drummer, singer, guitarist or bassist whom have ever dealt with this, know that it is scary as hell.

Since my tinnitus popped into my ear almost 20 years ago, I’ve been trying really hard to protect myself from having the tinnitus become worse. It’s difficult, since I work with music in some way or another almost every day. That being said – looking back at the last 20 years, I’ve managed to not only protect my overall hearing, but also lower my ringing to a level that I barely notice on a day to day basis.

Use Musicians Earplugs (hearing protection)

I never go into a club, venue or loud bar without wearing my musician earplugs. I hope that I am preaching to the choir here, but if you are new to the whole tinnitus thing and you are a musician planning a long music career (I don’t know if that exists anymore, but let’s that’s for another article) – buy a pair musician earplugs today. I wear them in the subway (yes, NYC subway trains are crazy loud), I wear them in clubs (using 25db filters) and even walking the streets, where more often than not, they save me from hearing damage. And last, whenever I take out my IEMs, the musician plugs takes their place.

Get an inline limiter for you In-Ear Monitors (IEM)

This is a simple way of adding additional protection for your beloved hair cells in your ear. I use my unit when I plug my IEM’s into a DJ mixer (DJ mixers have powerful outputs). I use it when monitoring a mix in my studio (my old RME800 Fireface has a tendency to blast out white noise now and then). I use it when I plug in my IEMs in my macbook (it enables me to listen to music without having the the volume at either setting 1 or 2 out of 10). The attenuator in the PreservEar unit brings the general volume down, which enables better control over volume.

In all honesty, these two points above saved my hearing and enabled me to control my tinnitus. It’s really not rocket science – protect, protect, protect. Whether you are a drummer playing with click in your IEM’s (connected to a high powered mixer, with an aux feed from a drunk sound engineer, yikes) or a singer tired of feedback blasts killing your ears – you must act before you end up with your tinnitus spinning out of control. If you are on a budget, get the musician earplugs first! Come back for the PreservEar later.

Thanks for reading this far.

 

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PreservEar Presentation Video

Posted by admin May 30, 2012 No Comments »
PreservEar Presentation Video

What is PreservEar in a nutshell? A compact limiter solution for DJs & Musicians who are looking to protect and preserve their most valuable asses – their hearing.

If you are a DJ – Read our article on DJing with In-Ear Monitors

For Pricing and how to order – Head over to our Store page.

If you have any questions regarding PreservEar read our FAQ or Contact Us

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DJing with InEars Monitors

Posted by admin May 07, 2012 No Comments »
DJing with InEars Monitors

In-ear headphones are becoming ever more popular among DJs who, in growing numbers, are trying to protect their hearing from severe and long lasting damage. Although the protection of your ears is an obvious benefit of using In-Ear Monitors, there are in fact many more benefits. Read on to learn how In-Ears could help you.

Let’s face it, your hearing is as good as it gets. There is no technology out there (at least not yet), that can bring back damaged auditory neurons in your ear. The first and foremost reason for changing to In-Ears is that they lower the risk of long-term damage and other issues such as Tinnitus (ringing in the ear). The most common cause for tinnitus is noise-induced hearing loss. DJs are constantly exposed to noise and loud music, it’s a part of our profession. While constant loud noise is harmful, sudden changes in volume can also cause permanent damage to your hearing. “It’s All Gone Pete Tong” is a mockumentary that shows this, while deaf DJing is a fantasy, losing your hearing from this exposure is not.

DJing with In-Ear Monitors can protects your ears from the monitors in the DJ booth which often output high sound pressure levels (SPL) to compete with the clubs PA system. In-Ear monitors also protects you from the main PA and the general high noise level in the club. An In-Ear monitor can eliminate these high risk exposures.

Mixing with In-Ears

Most DJs using traditional headphones use the booths monitor as reference and the headphones for cueing up next track. As an In-Ear user you will need to revisit the “monitor mix” knob on your mixer. If you haven’t done it before – Cueing and mixing in your monitors will take some time to get used to. If you mixing internally in Traktor, you will need to set up controls to switch between the cue (100%)/master(100%) and a mix of both (50%/50%). What makes it especially challenging is that you don’t really have any idea of how your In-Ears translate on the main PA system. If you don’t know the system you are playing very well, unplug one ear for a every now and then to reference the system, just as if you were using regular headphones. Although this might seems to defeat the purpose of protecting your ears, it will allow you to adjust to using In-Ears over the course of a few months.

Types of Isolation

In-Ear systems vary in how much they protect your ears. Isolation is done with Foam, Rubber or Custom molds. The Foam ear pieces are great for blocking out sound, but custom molds offer more then just sound isolation. Some In-Ear Monitor brands (like the Ultimate Ears Pro series) feature an “ambient” option which let’s you regulate how much you want to block out the sound (with 5, 9, 15, or 25, db filters). This is a great option if you want to wear your In-Ears all the time, but still have a feel of what the sound and sound-pressure level is like in the venue.

Getting used to In-Ears

It does take a little time getting used to DJing with In-Ears. As a comparison, some In-Ear monitors isolates like Sennheiser HD 25 II – making it very hard to judge the main volume of the PA.  Therefor you will need to be more diligent paying attention to the mixers level readouts and the main volume knob. Isolating yourself from the main PA means that it is harder to judge how loud you are actually playing and raising the likelihood of damaging other peoples ears. Pay attention to the audience, especially those talking to each other – are they shouting into each others ears? When starting out with In-Ears, take them out now and then and inspect the level of the PA and the mixer readout. After using In-Ears for a couple of weeks, adjusting the volume of the PA will become second nature to you.

Getting In-Ears in and out of your ears will also take some getting used to. The custom molded models can be especially tricky to plug in and out, so you will need at least a couple of days, if not weeks, to learn how to operate a mixer with one hand and inserting In-Ears with the other. Many instruction manuals on custom molded In-Ears advice you to pull back your ear with one hand while turning and inserting the monitor with the other. After a couple of weeks of usage, it will become second nature to do it with one hand.

Longevity Considerations

Longevity is probably one of the most important things to think about when investing in In-Ear Monitors. Make sure that the manufacturer has a good warranty policy and take your time to find the repair price-list on the manufacturers website. Some headphone models can be quite expensive to repair.

While repair hopefully shouldn’t be needed, some parts of the In-Ears will without doubt have to be changed now and then. The foam/rubber tears, get smudged or dissapears. Check the manufactures price-list for accessories and factor it in to the price. While the cable on most pro models can be changed, there are still plenty of models out there that are “hardwired”. Being able to change/refit a new cable is undoubtedly one of the most important factors of In-Ear Monitors longevity. Don’t expect to get more then 2-3 years out of a “hardwired” In-Ears – especially with frequent use.

 

Manufactures & Models We Like

We have collected a list of manufactures & models that we recommend.

Ultimate Ears

Recently aquired by Logitech, Ultimate Ears offers a wide range of In-Ear Monitor Solutions. If you are going all in – UE 18 Pro ($1350 – Custom Molded) is as good as it gets. The Clarity this model delivers will give you an honest picture of the music. Where as the little brother UE-11 Pro ($1150 – Custom Molded) offers more bass – often a sought after feature among DJs.

JH Audio

Owner Jerry Harvey (wikipedia has quite some juicy stuff about that split up) is not only credited for investing a series of customized dual-speaker In-Ear monitors, but also for founding Ultimate Ears. So it should come as no surprise that the JH 16 Pro doesn’t sound drastically different. The big difference is the JH 16 Pro’s low end frequency response. This is beneficial to DJs who likes emphasizing bass (compared to the UE 18 Pro).

Shure

Shure has been improving their SE series of headphones. All the models now comes with exchangeable cables (retails $30) and a 2 year limited warranty. If the  UE 18 Pro or the JH 16 Pro is in the wrong pricerange, the SE353 might be an option for you (retails around $500). These headphones isolates well, and delivers nice low end. They do tend to get a little uncomfortable after long usage.

Monster

The Monster Turbine Pro Copper (retails around $400). While these headphones have great tangle-resistant cable and an emphasized bass response, they tend to isolate a little less then the SE535 and Custom Molded Headphones. This is not by definition a bad thing, since it might give you a better idea of how loud you are playing. The angled TRS connection is well suited for DJs.

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PreservEar is here

Posted by admin April 10, 2012 1 Comment »
PreservEar is here

With the expanding use of In-Ear-Monitoring among DJs and Musicians, PreservEar has created an essential tool for preventing hearing damage.

In the effort to save musicians most precious commodity – their hearing – PreservEar is now distributing State-side, a simple yet effective product. At an especially crucial time, as more musicians and DJs are switching to In-Ear Monitor systems, their hearing is now ever more in danger. PreservEar solves a huge problem for musicians and DJs everywhere, with an extremely portable, easy-to-use device, that merges Attenuation and Limiting functions.

Tinnitus is a widespread condition affecting millions of people across the world. While there is considerable debate about its cause, there is a broad consensus on the prevention of Tinnitus. Limiting or avoiding exposure to loud noises, such as music, is the simplest way to avoid the condition. For DJs and Musicians this is no simple task.

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DJs & Tinnitus

Posted by admin July 07, 2011 No Comments »

To avoid ending up with tinnitus and reduced hearing you must put an effort into protecting your ears. We at PreservEar speak from experience when we say that tinnitus will affect your life dramatically. Here is what a few high profile DJs say about tinnitus. Thanks to the TinnitusGuru for compiling the list.

Moby

“When I first started playing in bands I never wore hearing protection and we played as loud as we possibly could. One night I came home from a punk rock show and my ears were ringing, as they often did. And they were still ringing the next day. And the next. Ever since then I’ve always worn some sort of hearing protection when exposed to very loud music because I realised that once my hearing is gone it will never return.” [Source: www.tuneouttinnitus.org.uk]

DJ Roger Sanchez

I actually have tinnitus and have lived with it for many years now. As a DJ, many of us are afflicted with it because of loud sound levels in the DJ booth, not only in the club. I have managed to reduce the effect by consistently wearing in-ear filters, made by a Dutch company called Filterz, that reduce the level of the sound without losing clarity. It is IMPERATIVE that when one is in an environment with elevated sound levels, one wears protection to minimize the damage that can occur.” [Source: www.soul-heaven.com]

DJ Tom Stephan

“In 1998, having experienced some ringing and thunder in my ears, I had my hearing tested and bought a pair of custom-fit ear plugs. But my hearing test was quite good and I couldn’t really be bothered to wear the ear plugs so I didn’t. In 2005, my ears were really bothering me again so I went back to have them tested and what was once a pretty much flat response was now a ski slope. Not good at all. If only I had worn them for those years. My hearing hasn’t improved at all since then but I’ve worn my ear protection without fail so at least I know I’m not making things any worse.” [Source: www.soul-heaven.com]

DJ Smokin’ Jo

“I use ACs ear plugs which are moulded especially for my ears. Over the 20 years I have been DJing, I have had a loss of hearing in my lower bass levels, and I often get a slight ringing and my balance goes wonky for a minute or two. I am lucky as I have not got persistent ringing all the time, I always use my ear plugs now – in the past I did not. I’d be playing up to 6 gigs a weekend sometimes and after my ears would be humming and ringing for two days after and I’d get splitting headaches. The ear defenders are worth every penny and I wear them when I go out to party myself as often this can be worse than DJing as people shout in your ear…my pet hate!” [Source: www.soul-heaven.com]

DJ Jon Carter

“I used to have these huge speakers which came from the Abbey Road orchestral room, they were really over the top and I used to play them at full volume up to forty-eight hours at times,” said Jon. “I noticed one day that the tinnitus didn’t stop, but eventually one day it skyrocketed to full volume and it freaked me out big time. You just don’t know what’s going on. It’s meant to come down; even the doctors didn’t have an answer to why it became so much louder. I had to turn a lot of work down in the end. It was really distressing because nobody seems to know anything about it, no one knows how much louder it’s going to get or what it’s going to be like when you’re sixty. Doctors just say it’s not going to kill you so just live with it.” [Source: www.inthemix.com.au]

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Featured Posts

PreservEar Presentation Video

PreservEar Presentation Video

May 30, 2012
DJing with InEars Monitors

DJing with InEars Monitors

May 07, 2012
PreservEar is here

PreservEar is here

April 10, 2012

About us

About Us PreservEars goal is to help DJs and musicians protect their most valuable asset. Their Hearing.