What You Need To Know About Hearing Loss- Part 2

If you have read my first post on reasons for hearing loss, you may be interested in some information  I have collected which could help you to select some tools to help prolong your current hearing condition.

Are earplugs the solution to attacks on your hearing?

The use of ear plugs have saved untold numbers of people who are faced with the constant barrage of high volume noises in their daily work. Factory workers, sheet metal shop owners as well as rock musicians are all face with the same dilemma- the need to protect ones hearing in a very inhospitable area. Ear plugs are available in various forms and price ranges and for that reason I will describe the four basic styles of noise reduction.


I have included this style of noise reduction only because they fit the requirement of noise reduction. For all practical purposes, these would not be applicable for a musicians needs if the performer needed to interactively work with other musicians. If I were a drummer forced to practice in a small room for hours at a time, these might be just want is required. But for the rest of us, their use would be restricted to the rifle range.

The efficiency and cost would range from 20db/ $8.15 to the more effective and more expensive models which reduce noise levels by 30db and cost around $28.89.

Original Foam Earplugs

Certainly the most economical hearing protection on the market today is the foam style which fit firmly in your ear. The noise reduction is very impressive (29DB) and is readily available in most areas. The cost will run about $2.99 for four pairs of disposable plugs. This is a very small price for the protection of your hearing.

For the reduction of noise, they work well but for letting you hear and interact with fellow musicians around you, they are far from perfection. The noise level is reduced but also is everything around you.

The newer, more advanced foam earplugs have increased noise reduction as well as allow more normal sound to enter the ear. An example of this would be the Howard Leight MAX-1-D Disposable Ear Plug which reportedly filters out 33 DB of noise. l Price is $25.00 for a box of 200 disposable earplugs.

Silicone Rubber Earplugs

This style of earplug again will allow more local sounds to enter the ear and still restrict the more detrimental noises from doing damage to your hearing. These are reported to eliminate 26Db and cost around $4.99 a pair.

Their advanced design will improve comfort when wearing them for extended periods of time as well as allowing you to more easily hear the players around you. I have been using these earplugs for several years and have been satisfied with their performance.

Higher Grade Adjustable Non Custom Fitted Earplugs

As the price increases, so does the quality and the next category in earplugs seems to be worth the added expense. Although the amount of noise reduction is less, the added advantage of better balance within your ensemble is much better. These sell for $12.95 plus shipping. They do have the advantage that they are reusable.

Highest Grade Adjustable Custom Fitted Earplugs

You may be able to find a professional in your area who is qualified to custom fit a pair of these in your ear and I have no doubt that they are wonderful. But….I am sure they are out of the salary range of a retired university professor. Buyers beware.

IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY- If you get stuck at a concert without your earplugs, do as I do. Stuff your ear canal with Kleenex.

-Just remember-

“You can’t reverse hearing loss”

Bruce was a member of the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa, School of Music in Cedar Falls from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. He has performed with many well-known entertainers such as Bob Hope, Jim Nabors, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Anita Bryant, Carman Cavalara, Victor Borgie, the Four Freshman, Blackstone the Magician, Bobby Vinton and John Davidson.

2 thoughts on “What You Need To Know About Hearing Loss- Part 2

  1. dwight clinton

    All of a sudden, in the past several weeks, my tone and range has severely degraded. I haven’t consciously changed anything about my routine. It couldn’t be from over playing, because I only practice about an hour-and-a-half most days — and that’s it, except for a gig every once in a while. And I notice that everything seems so difficult all of a sudden, especially slurring and range. And it wasn’t that way just 2 months ago. Any ideas on what could cause something so drastic?

    • Bruce Chidester

      You may think this strange but when I lived in Iowa, I would run into this condition when the weather changed to subzero temperatures. The heat was running all day and this added dry conditions in the house would dry my lips to the point that I would have the same problems with flexibility and tone. If you are currently living south of the Mason/Dixon line, this should not be an issue.

      If you are in the colder regions of the country, check the humidity in you home and if needed, get a humidifier. Keep your lips moist with Chapstick when outside and drink more liquids.

      At night, our chops can dry out as we sleep and this dryness gives you the feeling you are describing.

      When I say drink liquids, water not alcohol.

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