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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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.


“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:]

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:]

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:]

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:]

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:]

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