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Was reminded last night that I probably haven't pimped these for a while, so, for the benefit of my readers who occasionally attend events where Loud Music is played: the best earplugs ever. They work evenly across frequencies, so you hear the same music, just about 15-20 decibels quieter (i.e. enough to stop it hurting). Unlike the Boots/etc foam ones, which have a muffling effect.

It's worth bearing in mind that noise-induced hearing loss is gradual (so you don't necessarily notice it happening) & permanent once it's happened. Someone I used to know on a mailing list had given themselves tinnitus from loud music so badly that by their mid-20s they could no longer go to gigs/clubs at all (which scared the hell out of me, personally!). I know my hearing isn't as good as it used to be (I'm worse than I was at hearing speech in loud places), & I *really* don't want it getting any worse.

Anyway, yeah: £12, not disposable, stop your ears hurting, should significantly reduce damage being done, & as an added bonus mean you can actually hear people talking when in clubs/gigs! (dogrando's & my theory is that the very loud music makes your ears vibrate overmuch, like when speakers are turned up too high, & that reducing that makes you able to distinguish between noises, e.g. speech & music, again). Best £12 I ever spent.

(nb I have no affiliation with these people, I just really really like their earplugs & tell everyone about them in an over-evangelical fashion)

Update: slightly cheaper suppliers here.


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 30th, 2005 05:31 pm (UTC)
Etymotic are my heros. I've had a pair (and later two pairs) of their ER4P headphones for a long time now and have had wonderful sound from them all that time along with excellent service from the company (including once replacing expensive bits free when they were well out of warrenty). Not cheap. Worth every penny, many times over for the great sound while blocking out the screaming babies on planes (they reduce ambient noise more than active noise cancelling headphones).

ER20 earplugs are what I wear to clubs and gigs, always. I can have a conversation during loud music (foam earplugs, like I wear on the motorbike, muffle high frequencies too much for me to talk to a lot of people) and I don't get hearing damage while still being able to enjoy the music.

Basicly I can't speak highly enough of them. If it seems superlative that's because I like their products that much and anyone who knows me well knows that's a rare thing (no association, etc).

If people want more ER20s without the UK pricetag, next time I'm coming to the US I can order some more (they're $12 here). I usually keep a couple of spare pairs around since they don't last forever.
Oct. 30th, 2005 06:25 pm (UTC)
I am sufficiently keen on the ER20s that I'm considering printing out a bunch of little flyers & dishing them out at the next club night I go to :-) I'll think about your offer re the US; but I kind of feel that £12 is entirely affordable, & since that lot seem to be the only folk that do them in the UK I want to make sure they *continue* doing them!

The ER4P headphones do sound rather ace, but well outwith my price tag given how seldom I use headphones :-/
Oct. 30th, 2005 05:48 pm (UTC)
I can't wear earpulgs. :( Freek ears, I have.
Oct. 30th, 2005 11:39 pm (UTC)
Go to an audiologist and have a custom pair cast.

That's what I and everyone in my family have had to do (there is a "kink" in
our ear canal right at the beginning).
Oct. 31st, 2005 12:23 am (UTC)
Part of the reason I can't is that I have a big mole almost blocking one of my ears, so I don't think that I could get a pair cast to fit around that. Plus my outer ear canals are incredibly irritable and get infected if I look funny at them. I can't put anything in my ears without them getting sore; earplugs or in-ear headphones or anything like that. It's really annoying, because I don't *like* over-noisy clubs.
Oct. 31st, 2005 01:19 pm (UTC)
you can look at your ears? dude, cool...

can you lick your elbows as well?
Oct. 30th, 2005 05:56 pm (UTC)
I've finally made an appointment with this lady here to have the fitted-to-your-ears ER15s. Actually as far as I can tell my hearing is still OK, but I'd like it to stay that way...
Oct. 30th, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC)
I looked at those, but decided that since I only want 'em for attending gigs etc (not for performance) the price difference wasn't worth it.
Oct. 30th, 2005 06:57 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to say thankyou for passing on the good preserving hearing word. The RNID is trying to do awareness campaigns see their website for more details if you are interested. I think the RNID is all well and good, but hearing recommendations for earplugs from people like yourself who obviously appreciate and enjoy music will have a much greater impact.

I don't usually go to loud places, it isn't worth the pain for me. I have the advantage that I can lipread and turn my hearing aid off. Hearing people don't have that option. I have been known to get tinnitus from the occasional gig that I attend. REM was worth it, but I wouldn't do it too often.

My partner who is hearing has a pair of earplugs similar to what you describe, for her it's the difference between her ears clipping (like a speaker clipping) and being able to go to the occasional gig.
Oct. 30th, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC)
I use and endorse this product.
Oct. 30th, 2005 10:42 pm (UTC)
I will note that Etymotic does volume discounts for the ER-20 earplugs, and the price breaks are rather steep.

Having inquired, I found out that their price for quantity 25-99 is $6.25 each (GBP ~3.50) at current rates.

I will also note that I'll be coming over in a couple of months, and would be amenable to hauling over a bunch of them (in appropriate quantity) if you can't find a quantity supplier locally.
Oct. 31st, 2005 11:08 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure you can't get large quantities over here (none of the stockists say they offer any such, anyway). Although I have found this lot selling them for £7.99 + £1.19 if you want the cord as well, which is an improvement.

Could you prod me a couple of weeks before you're next due to be over & I'll see if there's enough folk interested to be worth a bulk shipment - thanks for the offer!
Oct. 31st, 2005 11:31 am (UTC)
I'd be up for some - took most of a day before my hearing was back to normal after the Queen Adreena gig a couple of weeks ago - scary :-S
Oct. 31st, 2005 12:10 pm (UTC)
Well - the US import ;-) won't be here till New Year (see mangosteen's comment below). Up to you whether you'd rather spring for the 8 quid now (see update link above) or wait a couple of months & save 4 quid or so. Depending I guess on how many gigs you're likely to attend between now & then! (fwiw my advice would be that it's not worth saving the 4 quid if you would use them at all between now & then).
Oct. 31st, 2005 12:47 pm (UTC)
You have a point there. I'll probably just mail order some now. Quite a few gigs before the New Year, and a couple of Intrusions to go to.
Oct. 31st, 2005 11:56 am (UTC)
Could you prod me a couple of weeks before you're next due to be over & I'll see if there's enough folk interested to be worth a bulk shipment - thanks for the offer!

No problem at all. I'm coming over for New Year's, so I'll ping you in mid-December.
Oct. 31st, 2005 11:04 am (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer Juliet. It seems that everywhere I go these days is too damn loud. One particularly annoying thing is when bass booms around small rooms, do you find they reduce bass much?
Oct. 31st, 2005 11:09 am (UTC)
They reduce everything pretty much evenly, by about 20 decibels. I've not been irritated by small room/bass recently, but can't say for certain whether that's due to the earplugs or due to not being in any tiny venues lately! My experience though is that bass is pretty bouncy even in large rooms, & I've certainly found everything sounding *better* using these.
Oct. 31st, 2005 01:22 pm (UTC)
i'm so deaf, i must get some...

my eyesight's going too

i am old :(
Oct. 31st, 2005 02:10 pm (UTC)
Good idea. I tend to wear earplugs to more events now but tend to use standard foam.
Oct. 31st, 2005 03:05 pm (UTC)
a pair of them got me through bicon this year - they're brilliant (i have hyperacusis so even non-damaging levels of noise can be painful)
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:50 pm (UTC)
Nifty. Have just bought a pair. :-)
Oct. 31st, 2005 08:08 pm (UTC)
Heh heh heh. On the way back from Whitby today I used my earplugs to muffle the sound of children screaming on the train and thought, hmm, I didn't remember to use these once at any of the actual events. Duh. Timely reminder, I think.
Nov. 1st, 2005 09:46 pm (UTC)
I have a pair, but don't get on with them terribly well. They *are* less muffly than foam ones, but you do still lose a fair bit of clarity. And they're damned uncomfortable. I should make more of an effort to keep using them though really. Perhaps I'd get used to them.
Nov. 2nd, 2005 12:03 pm (UTC)
Interesting - I find I get *more* clarity, because my ears aren't hurting/being all distorty. You do need to shove 'em in all the way, though - if you just put them halfway in it doesn't work properly.

I found them uncomfortable the first time, but OK after that.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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