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Do you use hearing protection while playing?
Yes 13%  13%  [ 6 ]
No 66%  66%  [ 31 ]
Sometimes 21%  21%  [ 10 ]
Total votes : 47
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:22 am 
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Does anyone use noise canceling headphones, or earbuds, to combat tinnitus and to prevent hearing loss while practicing or listening to music?
I have moderate nerve deafness, accompanied by tinnitus. Playing piano, whistles or going to music sessions exacerbates the ever-present tinnitus to the point that after a few minutes, the ringing is louder than the music.
I currently use fitted earplugs (actually designed for swimming) topped with headphones to reduce the volume when playing. I'm wondering if noise canceling headphones would make it possible to play longer without increasing the 'internal accompaniment'.
An online search provided conflicting results, so I'm looking for guidance from the whistling community.
Thank you :thumbsup:
Nurse Froggy


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 5:22 am 
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I've used the sort of ear covers pistol shooters use when experimenting with the third octave on the whistle. I think Ochs recommends this in his tutorial, where he has a few tunes like that.

Otherwise, no.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:45 am 
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If you want guidance I would think a hearing professional would be the one you would talk to. Providing medical advice is verboten around these parts.

I will share my experience though. I have found ear protection to be helpful. I spent too many nights wailing away on guitar in front of a line of amplifiers turned up to eleven in my younger days. It was not uncommon for it to take a day or more for my ears to "get back to normal" after a long Saturday night performance. Damage done. The whistle can aggravate the ringing in the ears at times.

I don't find solo play much of an issue. I can control the volume when I play alone. I can also limit my exposure to the high notes. I try to play out of doors as much as I can. Of course that is not possible much of the year. So I tend to play whistles in Bb, A, low G, low F or even low D to avoid the upper notes on the high D whistle. That helps me quite a bit.

Playing with a mute on the high whistles is also a long standing practice with me. How you mute the whistle depends on the type of whistle and what you need to be hearing when you practice. I play using the whisper method a lot. Works for me but YMMV. The whisper method can be particularly helpful when others live with you. No sense aggravating others.

When I play in groups with a number of high whistles it is an issue. Sessions are not usually bad around here. There aren't a lot of whistlers. At workshops (where I have played with as many as 30+ whistlers) it can quickly get to the point where my hearing is overwhelmed. So I have come to use Hearos high fidelity earplugs in those instances. I also carry a box of the simpler foam plugs just in case. The generic foam plugs are easily available at drug stores or even hardware stores where power tools are sold. Many drug stores will carry something similar to the Hearos HiFi plugs as well.

Feadoggie

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:17 pm 
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I wear the cheap orange plugs sold in home Depot - playing without them is a little painful and I've definitely noticed my hearing negatively affected for a couple of days afterward. I would like to play without them as the tone sounds better and actually sounds more in tune, but I don't need any additional hearing damage.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:30 pm 
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Having researched into decibel levels that damage hearing, I now use these earplugs designed for musicians https://www.proguarduk.co.uk/products/a ... ic-earplug.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 3:16 pm 
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Yes sometimes. Depends on the situation and mood. I use the cheapie earplugs (nothing special) about 25% of the time. I do believe in safety first and taking care of oneself, but, at my age damage is already done so I don't want to further contribute to the damage report. If its to whistle or not to whistle... well, I'm going to whistle. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 3:56 pm 
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I have ordinary foam plugs for when playing in the (smallish) car with the windows closed.

With the windows open it's not so bad (for me).


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:16 pm 
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Thank you, to all of you, for sharing your experiences and wisdom.

Good point about consulting an audiologist, Feadoggie. My plan is to consult with mine this week, before making any purchases.

So far, I have used noise reduction plugs, much like those you suggest, Ytlek, David, Retired and Mikethebook. I have a jar of gray foam plugs that I offer to anyone who comes over to jam, but few people accept the offer. I found that the swimming plugs, which are custom fitted, do a better job of noise reduction, but are less comfortable than the foam variety. Simply turning off my hearing aides works for quieter situations, but doesn't do much for concerts or practising. During the year I took piano lessons, my teacher often teased me about never playing loudly.

A friend brought over her Bose noise cancelling headphones for a trail run. They were incredible: the sound level was significantly reduced and the usual marked increase in tinnitus simply didn't occur. Before purchasing a set [they are expensive, yet who can place a price on hearing?], I'd like to know what other whistlers have experienced. Also, I'm wondering if the in-ear noise cancelling ear-buds are as effective as the headsets. It would be a lot less conspicuous to show up a concerts with ear-buds rather than a headset

I have noticed that all of the older members of the coffee houses I attend have some degree of hearing loss. They compensate by plugging into amps and turning the volume up. :puppyeyes:
As a former nurse, I'd caution all musicians to protect their ears when playing or listening to music. Hearing loss may occur quickly and can be irreversible; tinnitus is not a pleasant companion, either. Too many of us played or attended loud concerts as kids, without realizing what the consequences could be. Perhaps we can guide our grandchildren toward wiser choices.
Take care and thank you, all!
Nurse Froggy


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:18 pm 
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A humorous note: My daughter, cautioned me that "just because the headphones reduce the noise for you, remember that everyone else still hears you at full volume." :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:18 pm 
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The sinuses (pressure) and allergies have been acting up a bit lately, no doubt due to the season change and house being closed up, so EVERYTHING seems loud. I've been playing the Bb a lot lately and doing a little octave folding of the higher notes, especially when using a high D whistle. Those two things help a LOT. The Freeman Gen Low G is also on the radar for addition to the Christmas wish list. (Hey! I've been good this year.)

Earplugs would be nice though....for the neighbors...when the windows are open again. :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:36 pm 
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nursefroggy wrote:
A humorous note: My daughter, cautioned me that "just because the headphones reduce the noise for you, remember that everyone else still hears you at full volume." :lol:
I would think there is a lot of "truth" behind the humour. Young ears are sensitive and prone to damaging effects of loud, high pitched sounds. Take heed. Protect her ears too. Slient practice, low pitched whistles, quiet whistles, muted whistles, playing in open spaces are all useful to the player but they are also favorable to the ones with which we share our lives.

Feadoggie

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:41 pm 
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I don't recommend noise cancelling headphones though. I use them all the time when flying, and when working in customers' computer rooms. They are great for that. But they cancel the low frequency spectrum and that's why they're good for e.g. airplanes. Everything else, e.g. the human voice, go straight through - it's actually easier to listen to people talking with the headphones than without. One reason for this limitation is that it is more and more difficult to cancel sound the shorter the wavelength of the sound.
I have tried playing a D whistle with closed noise-cancelling headphones. There is no difference whatsoever in the sound level when the active noise cancelling is switched on (although the noise from a humidifier in the room disappeared..). There is a difference when wearing the headset but that is purely because they are closed. Same as with putting on ordinary headphones.

Edit: Let me add that I don't have the Bose nc headphones though. I have two other types. I have tried the Bose headset and it works a bit differently - much more noise cancelling in general. Many people don't like them because of that, you can hear the sound of your jaw moving and anything touching the headset. Others are not bothered by that and like them. Bose has some advanced technology, they have some special fast-reacting headsets for blocking the sound of bullets firing, while not blocking anything in between firing.
It could be that Bose can dampen the sound of a whistle, unlike my headsets. I'm going to test this, a co-worker has a set. Bose headsets are three times the price though..


-Tor


Last edited by Tor on Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:01 pm 
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Mr. Ed, you have the perfect solution to my jar of ear plugs - hand them out to the neighbours! :D

Have you tried muting your whistles? I am using a Carey Parks Everyman for most of my practising these days. With the mute almost closed, you can practice at a whisper. It won't help you blow a note into correct intonation or teach proper breath control, since it takes almost no breath to blow when muted, yet it does save the hearing. Hope your ears adjust to the change soon.

Good point, Feadoggie. Others seldom hear me play, as I'm not into torturing innocents. My daughter and a friend were over while I tried the friends Bose headphones. I do worry about the impact playing has on my two dogs. Do you know of any hound head phones?

Tor, the Bose headphones worked like magic with the MK Pro. The sound was muted, and certainly lost much of the rich musical timbre, yet pitch remained intact and there was no change in tinnitus while playing. I don't know how much of the effect was due to the noise reduction of the well fitted headphones and how much was from the noise cancelling. There was a lot going on at the time, so the headphones didn't get a fair trial. My friend is bringing them back later this week to let me try them out for a week. If you try out some Bose headphones, see if you can get the newer version [Quiet Comfort 25]. It is supposed to offer better sound quality than the earlier versions.

I'm off to the audiologist today to learn what she recommends. Not playing is not an option. :really:

Thank you, all for sharing your experiences and knowledge.
Slainte,
Nurse Froggy


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:49 pm 
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Just returned from a consultation with my audiologist. Lynn gave the Bose noise canceling headphones a ringing endorsement. Sorry, under the circumstances, that pun was irresistible.

She uses the Bose NC phones herself and said she 'loves them.' Lynn did caution against using high volume settings when listening to music, as the headphones can be cranked up quite loud. She also suggested that hearing aides be removed when using the phones to prevent feedback squealing.

You can guess what just hit the top of my Christmas wish list.

Play on...
Nurse Froggy


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 3:44 am 
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nursefroggy wrote:
Lynn did caution against using high volume settings when listening to music, as the headphones can be cranked up quite loud.


Anything about playing the whistle?

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