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I am looking for earplugs to use when practicing my violin and viola. Currently, I am using the foam inserts made by Rite Aide. They do the trick, but they also distort the sound, so if I am spending time more on intonation than bowing, I can’t use them. I can go on for an hour or more when I get started. I have no restraint. It is always, “just once more.”
Can anyone recommend earplugs made specifically to just lower the volume on the sound, but not mute it out and distort it? Using the rubber mute on the bridge distorts it, so I only use that when I want to give my husband a break. I have a leather one that slips over the bridge that does not mute as much as the large rubber one, but it still distorts a bit. Not good when I am working on intonation and remembering finger placement.
I have seen some that fit into the ear, but, they look like they could get stuck. They are very short. They have nothing to pull to remove them. I really can see that happening to me. Things like that just follow me around. Ask everyone in my family. Makes my life interesting for me, not complaining.
So, does anyone know of non-distortioning noise dampening earplugs they can recommend? Any links to that item would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance. My hearing thanks you, too.
Cello and Viola Time!
There is an American hearing aid company that makes musician ear plugs that work great and cost about $15 a set. I used them to success when I played in a community band and had the brass section behind me.
EDIT: The company’s name for the ones I used is Etymotic Research. Available on Amazon.
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Any earplugs made for musicians should be made to not distort the sound.
I use these
I don't notice any distortion and they are light and lets enough sound through well enough that I ALWAYS forget to take it out after practicing lol. Even with smallest "filter" it takes out the sharpness of the sound under my ear. I only use a plug in my left ear though so I don't know the effect of wearing one in each ear.
I have tried rubber mutes and a little leather mute on my bridge. Of the two, the leather was the best. I wanted something for when I want my violin to not be muted, ie lessons (when I started this thread I was still supposed to be getting violin lessons), when nobody else is in the house, etc.
I ordered the earplugs from Fiddlershop. They are terrific!
Cello and Viola Time!
I'm not too worried about this. I know that a lifetime of professional playing can damage the hearing in your left ear, but after beginning at 58, I doubt it's going to be a big problem for me. Apart from making sure they had a quoted dB level, I just bought the cheapest general purpose foam plugs I could find. I haven't used them yet, although in the past I have sometimes used plugs for sleeping.
As a beginner one needs to learn to play quietly and beautifully after initially developing good tone at a somewhat louder volume. So earplugs, unless you have a medical condition, in the first few years are perhaps unnecessary. They might even make it harder for you to learn.
Later, if you join an amateur orchestra, you may find you are letting rip in a way you don't at home (for example, at home I strum my uke moderately and can always hear it, but at the uke club I beat the hell out of it and can barely hear it!). Then you can ask the more experienced orchestra members if they have ear protection.
if I will look back when I'm 90 and say, "I wish that I had used some noise protection."
Your wife will shout back "WHAAAT?"
I have seen some that fit into the ear, but, they look like they could get stuck. They are very short. They have nothing to pull to remove them.
I know what you mean, but it's never been a problem. I find I can always get two finger tips in to pinch the foam and pull it out - usually the foam is constantly expanding inside your ear anyway and sort of oozes partly out. Tweezers work on cotton wool. You can't damage the ear, the cotton protects it.
The way I figure it, using earplugs is such a simple, inexpensive way to protect the ears from possible damage. The earplugs I purchased from Fiddlerman are wonderful. Sounds just like the violin is sounding, not distorted and does not sound muted. Actually, you know that scratch you can hear that those in the distance can’t hear? You can’t hear it with these, you just hear clear wonderful strings; the strings sound normal, just not as loud. Like good seats in the audience.
I can’t remember the name and typing into the forum is tricky at best on a pad or phone. If I open another window to check for the name, this text will be lost. It begins with a “P” and comes with a little black case for the earplugs, and a set of small and large plugs. The inner thingy gets swapped out between the two.
My ears feel much better after playing now. I also am not hearing odd noises that really do not exist later on when I am not playing the violin.
Cello and Viola Time!