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Hearing loss? Please help


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Hi, I'm very concerned about the possibility of

losing my hearing from playing the violin.

Actually, I'm absolutely horrified.

My teacher has had some hearing loss,

and I'm concerned about myself because my ears are

very sensitive. I don't want to quit music. If I

lost my hearing, it would completely ruin my life.

Is there anything I can do to keep my hearing perfect?

If there is, please tell me. I'm panicking.

-Michael L.

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there are earplugs available called "musician's" earplugs. Wear one in your left ear when playing if you are concerned. but you are right, this is something to be concerned about, it is an occupational hazard.

Of course, electric instruments are far worse : )

M

Hi, I'm very concerned about the possibility of

: losing my hearing from playing the violin.

: Actually, I'm absolutely horrified.

: My teacher has had some hearing loss,

: and I'm concerned about myself because my ears are

: very sensitive. I don't want to quit music. If I

: lost my hearing, it would completely ruin my life.

: Is there anything I can do to keep my hearing perfect?

: If there is, please tell me. I'm panicking.

: -Michael L.

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: Hi, I'm very concerned about the possibility of

: losing my hearing from playing the violin.

: Actually, I'm absolutely horrified.

: My teacher has had some hearing loss,

: and I'm concerned about myself because my ears are

: very sensitive. I don't want to quit music. If I

: lost my hearing, it would completely ruin my life.

: Is there anything I can do to keep my hearing perfect?

: If there is, please tell me. I'm panicking.

: -Michael L.

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the only difference in the vibrations that you are trying to eliminate and the ones that you want to hear

is the volume. The frequency is the same.

You just use the earplugs to physically block out

some of the volume or amplitude of the sound.

My teacher told me about a certain kind of earplugs that filter out harmful vibrations to the ear, but keep the quality of the sound. Is this what that is? Thanks.

: -Michael L.

:

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The musician earplugs reduce the intensity of sound to safe levels while allowing clear hearing. There are custom-fitted ones that are made from a mold of your ear canal taken by a doctor ($150 to $200) and one-size-fits-all models ($10 to $20). Andrew Victor has posted in the past about using a run of the mill foam plug in just the left ear, maybe he will chime in on this discussion!

You could always use a mute. I don't like to do this because the large practice mutes limit one's view of bow position on the strings. The lead ones can ding and damage the violin (I had one that fell off all the time, narrowly missing hitting the violin's top). Also, mutes are not good for intonation because you finger placement can be a little off and you do not hear it.

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If I remember correctly from the times he's posted about the subject, Andy wears a loose-fitting wax earplug on the left ear--just enough to balance out both ears.

I have found that my violin is so loud (and that my ears are so sensitive to high frequencies) that I need to wear TWO earplugs when I practice; my ears get numb after I play for a significant length of time without earplugs. I take the standard, cheap earplugs that are sold at drug stores and I cut them in half, then I shape them a bit with scissors. I put the bigger of the two in my left ear. I cut them because full earplugs don't give a balanced sound (some frequencies are filtered out more than others).

My understanding is that a fair number of violinists use earplugs when they practice. And it's understandable--they have something like over 100 dB inches away from their eardrums for hours at a time each day.

Victor

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Well, my Dad told me to put bits of cotton puff-things in my ears when I practice. However, that didn't work because with both ears full of cotton, it doesn't even sound like a violin. So, I practiced today with my left ear full of cotton, and my right ear open. It seemed to work ok, and I was surprisingly pleased at how I was able to hear myself as others would hear me play. But now I'm wondering if that is enough. I too have very sensitive ears.

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I'd like to add my two cents on this issue and responses to some of the posts already on this subject.

I play electric/acoustic violin in sever musical groups, also orchestra and such. Several months ago, concerned about the volume of the music that I have to spend hours a week surrounded by, I went to an audiologist and did some testing and asked questions. I have very sensative ears, and even just practicing the violin bothers me often. I've tried mutes and hated them for the same reason mentioned by someone elses post here in reply to this subject.

I found out that first of all, if you have experienced ANY ringing or fuzzy feeling in yours ears after practice, you've done permanent damage to your hearing. This added in small incriments will sneak up on you. I know MANY musicians even at young ages to have significant hearing loss.

My doctor recommended the molded ear plugs called musician ear plugs. They cost me around $100 and you can also buy different filters depending on how much noise you want to cut off. They are wonderful! They're specially made to cut the same amount off all frequencies so what you hear is the same as what you would if you were not wearing them, only quieter. I've tried wax, foam plugs, and cotton - they just don't work very well in my experience because they cut off more from certain frequencies than others and the sound is affected kinda loppsidedly. I would say it's definately worth the money to get musician ear plugs that are molded. I've also tried the ones that aren't specifically molded to your ear but are the musician type - I felt these were a definate improvement over wax or foam ones, but still no where near working as well or as comportable as the molded ones.

Whatever you decided to do, please do something! As musicians, our ears are worth their weight in gold! *grin*

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I have a set of one-size-fits-all plugs that have a small hole in the center. This lets sound in and the volume is reduced, but not muffled. They are intended for rock guitarists and I do not clearly recall where I got them (I think Interstate Music Supply).

I don't have a set of the custom ones. I am considering having some made. I think audiologists know how to adjust these plugs for left/right ear balance with the violin.

As for a sensitive right ear, I have noticed that the room one practices in affects this. The sound of a violin does not radiate evenly in all directions. So, on certain pitches, you can get a really strong reflection of sound into the right ear off of a wall in a small room. A larger room or a room with lots of closed curtains to absorb sound might help (window glass reflects sound very well).

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: Hi, I'm very concerned about the possibility of

: losing my hearing from playing the violin.

: Actually, I'm absolutely horrified.

: My teacher has had some hearing loss,

: and I'm concerned about myself because my ears are

: very sensitive. I don't want to quit music. If I

: lost my hearing, it would completely ruin my life.

: Is there anything I can do to keep my hearing perfect?

: If there is, please tell me. I'm panicking.

: -Michael L.

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Don't waste your cotton!

There is some pretty good advice being offered on

this board. If you are in an orchestra you should

for sure wear two plugs, but hey, try two during your

practice. It can't hurt. I would only suggest that you

wear two if both ears are complaining, since you

are so sensitive and aware.

Good luck. you sound young and since you are already so aware, that probably means you

will take good care of your ears all your life.

If a noise bothers you, it is too loud. Even if you

don't have ringing or reduced hearing sensitivity afterwards.

: Well, my Dad told me to put bits of cotton puff-things in my ears when I practice. However, that didn't work because with both ears full of cotton, it doesn't even sound like a violin. So, I practiced today with my left ear full of cotton, and my right ear open. It seemed to work ok, and I was surprisingly pleased at how I was able to hear myself as others would hear me play. But now I'm wondering if that is enough. I too have very sensitive ears.

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: Yeah, right. Aren't the cellists the ones that sit

: right in front of the trumpets and trombones?

: the trombones being the loudest of all orchestral instruments?

No, the cello section is not always in front of the brass (this is considered by cellists to be "incorrect seating"). We like to sit in front of the basses, on the side of the stage. I don't know about trombones being the loudest. I think you should watch out for French Horns, never walk behind one. As far as violins being deafening to the player, I've never heard of that either. But I know of violinists who wear earplugs when they have to sit in front of the percussion!

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Mimi is right on! Cotton doesn't do much to stop the sound by itself. If you saturate it with mineral oil, however, it will do a pretty good job. The combination makes a cheap sound reducer. However, the musician's earplugs sound like the best solution, if a bit expensive. Remember that sound is transmitted to your ear through means other than your ear canal; low frequencies travel through the bone in the skull far more readily than high frequencies. This is why the difference in sound when you have a totally occlusive ear plug in place.

Good luck from someone who wishes he had used ear plugs over the decades. Fortunately, the trumpet players sit on the back row of the big band usually and don't have sit in front of any very loud brass!

Tony

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I was at a concert the other night where the orchestra played an extremly loud piece. The cymbals were right behind the violins, and when he got going, they were just cringing. I think they gave up playing in the back, and just winced and wiggled their bows! Just as the cymbalist got to his climax, he hit it so hard that the cymbal flew off the stand. It hit the floor with a bang, and he picked it up and tiptoed off with it. May the same happen to all such loud instruments!!

: Hi, I'm very concerned about the possibility of

: losing my hearing from playing the violin.

: Actually, I'm absolutely horrified.

: My teacher has had some hearing loss,

: and I'm concerned about myself because my ears are

: very sensitive. I don't want to quit music. If I

: lost my hearing, it would completely ruin my life.

: Is there anything I can do to keep my hearing perfect?

: If there is, please tell me. I'm panicking.

: -Michael L.

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I wear mine in both ears most of the time - for the reason of how it reverberates off the walls - refer to my post about the whole subject above if you're interested.

: I have a set of one-size-fits-all plugs that have a small hole in the center. This lets sound in and the volume is reduced, but not muffled. They are intended for rock guitarists and I do not clearly recall where I got them (I think Interstate Music Supply).

: I don't have a set of the custom ones. I am considering having some made. I think audiologists know how to adjust these plugs for left/right ear balance with the violin.

: As for a sensitive right ear, I have noticed that the room one practices in affects this. The sound of a violin does not radiate evenly in all directions. So, on certain pitches, you can get a really strong reflection of sound into the right ear off of a wall in a small room. A larger room or a room with lots of closed curtains to absorb sound might help (window glass reflects sound very well).

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: Hi, I'm very concerned about the possibility of
: losing my hearing from playing the violin.
: Actually, I'm absolutely horrified.
: My teacher has had some hearing loss,
: and I'm concerned about myself because my ears are
: very sensitive. I don't want to quit music. If I
: lost my hearing, it would completely ruin my life.
: Is there anything I can do to keep my hearing perfect?
: If there is, please tell me. I'm panicking.

: -Michael L.




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: Hi, I'm very concerned about the possibility of

: losing my hearing from playing the violin.

: Actually, I'm absolutely horrified.

: My teacher has had some hearing loss,

: and I'm concerned about myself because my ears are

: very sensitive. I don't want to quit music. If I

: lost my hearing, it would completely ruin my life.

: Is there anything I can do to keep my hearing perfect?

: If there is, please tell me. I'm panicking.

: -Michael L.

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