4 Biology

4.4 Ear protection

Playing on a live stage with a band almost always means high sound pressure levels. Especially when there's PA support for the whole band including drums. At close range (3 feet), a medium powered bass amplifier (200 watts) produces an average sound pressure level of around 100 dB. Every other musician adds roughly 2 dB to that. The drummer could easily add another 3-6 dB. Then there's the backfire from the PA - especially the bass range.

Reason enough to wear ear protection. The simplest form is foam rubber plugs. Squeeze, put in, throw away after use. Cost less than a buck. But often these simple plugs will hurt when worn for long periods of time. And often they seal your inner ear from the outside air, which isn't exactly on par with basic hygiene. For a little more cash (USD 10-25) special musician's ear plugs are made that adapt to the shape of your inner ear, often with one or several ventilation channels, allowing your inner ear to breathe and sweat. The most advantageous, and of course the most expensive (USD 50 and up), are customly molded plugs, often called "earmolds".

© Joris van den Heuvel 2001-2009