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Hearing Protection!
Shouldn't it be part of your set up?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (7 votes) 
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ELCB
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October 27, 2020 - 11:11 pm
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Your ears and eyes should always be protected! 

So shouldn't proper hearing protection be part of your set up? 

YES!

I shouldn't be thinking about this 16 months into playing - I should know better.

For those of you who haven't had the benefit of serving time in one of the Branches of our Military around harardous noise, you've probably never had it crammed down your throat to wear hearing protection around all hazardous noise areas (unless you frequent a gun range). 

I'm grateful for what I learned (too late for some Rock Concerts, though😒) - still, my hearing has remained perfect... until maybe now. 

Didn't think I'd ever be playing loud, acoustically - guess this last few months I've been a little too exuberant?  Noticed my ears bugging me a few times, now. 

That's usually a sign damage has already occurred! 

Hmm Thinking Here Smiley

I see Fiddlershop carries "Pacato Musicians Hearing Protection". 

Anyone try them? 

I bought a different kind quite a while back, that they used to carry - just didn't think I needed them, yet (plus hey, working on intonation😏).  Now I need to find them!

 Scary Halloween Monster Emoticons- Emily 

 

Please check out good hearing protection for yourself (if you haven't already). 

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Mouse
October 28, 2020 - 7:09 am
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I have Pacato Musicians Hearing Protection that I bought from Fiddlershop. I think posted something about them a while ago. I will look for it and add the link to that post later.

This is the item I bought on Fiddlershop:

Pacato Musicians Hearing Protection

I like them, but just use the foam plugs now. The foam are disposable and don't require me washing them all the time.

I did accidentally use the smaller of the two sizes you get with the Pacatos, once. I had a hard time getting it out. That happened after I wrote about them. So, you have to be darn sure they are not too small for you and you can het them out. They do not have much to grab to pull them out. They do a good job, without distorting the sound, though.

I didn't post the review here. It is on the Fiddleshop site. 

I am just as happy with my foam inserts. They add more protection, I can toss the used ones, and I don't notice any distortion to the point that I can't tell if I am in tune or not. That could be because I am really not that good on the violin or viola. Someone who is better, playing with others, performing, etc, might need something like the Pacato because you do hear an accurate sound.

Cello and Viola Time! 

(Former Username - cid)

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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October 28, 2020 - 7:13 am
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I have some -35dB foam plugs that I bought from Amazon, but I don't use them, yet.

I find that the way I hold my violin has a huge effect on how loud the sound is in my left ear, so if you think you are suffering damage already, then perhaps you could look at the way you hold your violin?

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 28, 2020 - 8:49 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15264

When I was employed by Malmo Symfoniorkester the orchestra paid for the professional hearing protection. I don't remember the brand but I know that it cost them a lot of money. The ones that I had had filters that could be swapped out, they were form fit to my ears and mostly invisible to others.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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ELCB
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October 28, 2020 - 9:34 am
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If I remember right (it was a long time ago) it isn't all about volume, but certain frequencies are more damaging than others - don't remember exactly which ones, it was a long time ago (lol).

I do remember thinking most people wouldn't be aware of a potential hazard until too late.

I'll have to research a little...

Young people feel infallible and us older folks usually assume (wrongly) problems with hearing are just associated with aging.

Don't think this is addressed in schools, for kids - maybe should be strongly suggested as necessary when purchasing a violin - before playing with groups of musicians or orchestra?

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/d4/c6/28/d4c628e64168de3e18e2f663a50b998c.jpg

 

- Emily

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
October 28, 2020 - 12:02 pm
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I'd definitely agree.

"Normally" I don't worry about it and when playing it feels generally OK. 

But I *am* acutely aware of, and indeed sensitive to, high volume and, I can notice the issue if I'm recording in my study.  It's fairly echo-y there, with a lot of natural room reverb (yes, not the best for mixing down with other parts - really want a "dry" recording for that - but that's another matter entirely).

In that room - my old SkyLark fiddle (now strung and tuned C,G,D,A - like a viola) is a real quiet lady - even fff comes out mf LOL - BUT - that's not important, I like her voice - and I can play with gusto without feeling deafened !

However - my MZJ in that room can darn near deafen me (which also affects intonation as it happens - but that's also another (very interesting, as it happens) story and would distract from the topic...) - and for her - yes - in that room - in go the ear plugs. 

(Other more-open spaces, or those with soft-furnishings and carpets, are naturally more forgiving acoustically - and although my MJZ is still loud under the ear - I'm OK with it)

So - when I need to, with my MJZ - the charming princess Li-Hua (oh - I mean Empress Lihua!), I use a set of the "Senner" brand ear-plugs (they are reusable - I just didn't want the use-once-or-twice throw-away ones) - and - well - yeah - they work well for me.

My use of the brand name above is NOT any form of advertising or suggestion - they happen to have a huge range, from relatively inexpensive (but not "cheap") to ridiculously expensive (LOL) - and I had tried several different products to finally find something that works for me - they will not necessarily work for you LOL...

But there is no doubt - yes - ear protection can on occasion be required, please be aware !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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ELCB
Michigan, USA
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October 29, 2020 - 9:53 pm
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https://i.imgflip.com/yybz0.jpg

I can't anticipate playing loudly and I'm getting old enough to be a target for potential age-related hearing problems - reasons to be more cautious?

The International OSHA standard is 85 dB's without protection. 

Why? 

  • Complete hearing loss
  • Short term or long-term tinnitus
  • Physical stress
  • Psychological stress
  • Muffled hearing
  • Limited productivity
  • Inability to hear warning sirens or announcements
  • Impeded concentration
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure (temporarily)
  • Cardiovascular conditions 

Tinnitus is scary enough, but noise damage can also cause problems with balance and vertigo! 

According to this chart, Violin is 82-92 dB's, - possibly up to 95dB's (?) (elsewhere online), while frequencies between 2-4000 Hz are the most damaging (like piccolos).

http://www.reliabilitydirectst.....hart.pdf 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/d8/1f/62/d81f62d4eb66f49315ac8dd84654050e.jpg

Think I'm going to have to consider using something to protect my hearing the whole time I play. 

Anyone have any equipment to find anything to add about violin dB's or Hz?  

 

- Emily

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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October 29, 2020 - 11:06 pm
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It depends a lot on how you hold the violin. Sound intensity is inversely proportional to the square of distance, so moving the violin a few inches farther from your ear can make a huge difference.

I've never felt like my viola was too loud under my ear under normal playing conditions -- but because I have short arms and fingers, I hold my viola more out in front of me than most people do, and tilt it to the right more than average. While experimenting with posture, I noticed that when I had my viola more to the side and on top of my shoulder it did get deafeningly loud. In that posture the distance between the f holes and my ear was probably about one-third of what it normally is for me, so what I was hearing was about 10 dB louder.

In general, if you have longer arms, you're more likely to hold the violin out to the side, and more likely to need hearing protection.

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ELCB
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October 30, 2020 - 12:17 am
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Hi! @AndrewH -  How are you? 

I'm probably having issues with both ears, but it's more my right ear getting my attention.  I think because I do play more in front of me. 

I rarely use an ear bud, but it does go in my right ear and I try to make sure the volume is not loud. 

Suppose the next time I see any doctors, I'll get my ears/hearing checked (I always secretly hope there will never be a reason to force me to ever see a doctor again). 

Feeling like I went to so much trouble to get my "Mortimer" sounding good, I really don't want to use a mute - been lucky enough to not be forced to use one. (lol) 

What about when you play with your orchestra - have you considered wearing hearing protection for that situation?   

giphy.gif 

 

I'm just hoping everyone will become aware of potential noise hazard and take steps to protect their hearing. 

- Emily

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AndrewH
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October 30, 2020 - 1:44 am
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Again, even though I have a very powerful viola, it doesn't cause me problems because it's far from my ear and tilted away. I don't normally wear earplugs, but I have worn them on three occasions when a crowded stage meant being seated close to brass instruments. I've never bought earplugs, my current orchestra provides them whenever the stage is unusually crowded.

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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October 30, 2020 - 4:16 am
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Gordon Shumway said
I find that the way I hold my violin has a huge effect on how loud the sound is in my left ear 

The crucial point, which I forgot to mention, is that the shoulder rest/chinrest combo has a big effect on this.

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 3, 2020 - 10:53 am
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Having been a full time professional violinist for the greatest part of my life, I can attest to the fact that it is dangerous. I live with a constant and pretty loud tinnitus. You learn to live with it but had I been smarter as a youngster I would have protected myself better. I thought that I was invincible. No-one really spoke of the dangers of playing so much without caution or protection back then.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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ELCB
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November 3, 2020 - 11:17 am
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I'm sure Tinnitus is more taxing on your body/state of mind, than you care to think.

Twenty, twenty hind site - right, Fiddlerman?

After I started this thread, my curiosity got the better of me... again. (lol) 

A noise level meter/recorder is on it's way to me. 

It's supposed to read both A & C type noise, so hope I can get some fairly accurate readings near my ear, while I play.  I have read that you aren't supposed to be too close to the source of noise when you use these meters, so we'll see...

https://www.lanesboro.lib.mn.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/cat_fiddle.jpg

- Emily

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GregW
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November 3, 2020 - 11:23 am
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Abou a year ago I found a sound analyzer app on google play written by Dominique Rodriguez that does the whole gambit.  compared it to a meter we have ..works well.  

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ELCB
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@GregW -

Wish I would've known that sooner, because everything I was reading said the apps (with internal mic) weren't as good as a condenser mic. 

At one point, I actually thought about strapping the phone to my head to take a reading!

You get any readings close to your fiddle? 

https://res.cloudinary.com/teepublic/image/private/s--wWA5ZGyH--/t_Preview/b_rgb:484849,c_limit,f_jpg,h_630,q_90,w_630/v1481942729/production/designs/959081_1.jpg

 

- Emily

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GregW
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It works well..didnt say it was as good.  but for detecting that 80dB-ish point think it would be fine.  

I was balancing my monitors at home.  to get head level i put on music stand.  

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