5 Reasons You NEED To Start Wearing Earplugs Now


1. Tinnitus

Forget going deaf. In all likelihood, you won’t actually go stone deaf from listening to loud music or playing shows without hearing protection. Deafness is something you will wish for when you get tinnitus. Ever had a mosquito fly into your ear? That horrendous, high-pitched whine that makes you smack yourself in the ear? Imagine having that ALL THE TIME, 24 hours a day. It’s like an STD you get from unprotected listening instead of unprotected sex. Ear plugs are condoms for your hearing; wear them while you have fun so you can keep having fun.

2. It sounds better

Now, this depends largely on what kind of plugs you have. I recently got fitted for some custom earplugs, which was actually really fun. And although they will set you back more than a bag of foamies, imagine how much you’ll spend on those cheap shitty ones over your lifetime and how much better it would be to just get some good ones. Foam plugs roll off a lot of the high end, but a good pair of fitted ones just lower the overall volume evenly with almost no roll off. The difference between fitted and no plugs is a revelation you need to experience, and I wish I’d done it so much sooner. Being at/playing a show is superior to listening to a recording for a number of reasons (atmosphere, crowd response, social interaction, the visual aspect) but the most important one is physically feeling the vibrations of the music passing through your body, which is not at all lessened when you tone down the painful screaming volume that is passing into your sensitive ear drums. You might think, “well, the pain goes away after a few minutes.” But the damage continues even after you’ve gone numb to the pain. Don’t be a tough guy.

3. Huh? What? Come again? Speak up, sonny!

Don’t let this be you. You won’t be young forever, and you want to be able to hear the music you play for as long as you can.

4. They’re a lot more stylish and cheaper than hearing aids, and you don’t have to wear them all the time.

Unlike with hearing aids, when you’re done with the show or rehearsal you take them out and go about your normal life. If you don’t wear them for the 3 hours of rehearsal or concert a week you’ll have to eventually have something ELSE you wear in your ears just to function. Then you’ll have to get fitted ANYWAY, and pay waaaaaaaay more than the plugs would have cost, plus there’s the kicking yourself. Chicks dig the hearing aid look, but only in retirement homes.

5. Nobody likes the guy at rehearsal who’s constantly turning himself up despite already being louder than everyone.

Once again, don’t be that guy. So damn obnoxious. This causes the overall volume to creep up as everyone turns up just a little, then a little bit more…. Then everyone else starts to become as deaf as you.

I know. I’m not paranoid, I realize that for the casual concertgoer or weekend warrior, you’re not going to suffer any of these problems from 2 shows a year or the occasional bar gig. But if you’re a serious musician and intend on spending real time in front of a blaring amp next to a slammin’ drummer then protect your most important asset, because prevention is the only really effective treatment.

So don’t wait. This should be an essential part of your rig and just as important of a tool as your instrument if you are a professional. So find yourself an audiologist and get some plugs made by any one of these fine companies (sometimes your audiologist can make them too):

Ultimate Ears

1964 Ears



Here’s what it’s like to get fitted:

Here’s an excellent guide that was shared with us on earplugs.

Written by

As Editor-in-Chief of Gear Gods, I've been feeding your sick instrument fetishism and trying unsuccessfully to hide my own since 2013. I studied music on both coasts (Berklee and SSU) and now I'm just trying to put my degree to some use. That's a music degree, not an English one. I'm sure you noticed.

Latest comments
  • I talk to guitar players all the time that will spend $200 on a pedal that has some minimal effect on their rig but won’t buy costume plugs. The best thing you can do for your tone is get fitted plugs. As a guitarist it lets you hear yourself better (so you don’t need to turn up as loud) I opted for the -15db (as oppose to the -25db), haven’t had any ringing even after loud full stack gigs.

  • There are some by Westone that don’t require ear molds and retail around $30 that aren’t perfect but sound pretty good and have changeable filters for 9, 16, and 25 db. . If you can afford the $300 or so I my drummer uses ultimate ears and swears by them. I’m holding off til tax time.

  • I got a set of etymotic’s this summer after I saw The Agonist live. I was super excited to see them and I somehow ended up right beneath the speakers. My ears were ringing all night afterwards and I had a raging headache the next day because of it. I got some decent earplugs and I’ve worn them to every show since. I’ve enjoyed the shows more, I don’t get any ringing and my ear’ll be better in future. Cannot recommend this enough!

  • You are right, absolutely. I have Vater ones, it is comfortable, for rehearsing and for concerts, own gigs or visiting concerts. I have a better feeling from music, because I can hear everything, without volume peaks, and on the pleasant volume. I was playing in death metal band for 6 years and it was necessary, we didnt make a noise like sonic weapon but every band has the lowest volume dependant on drumming style and technique of the drummer. Now I am playing in rock band and I think the volume is same. Music is not competition of noise :)

  • Why is this written with the assumption that a musician is male?

    • Holy shit who cares? Quit knitpicking and just take the damn advice.

    • found the feminist

    • Because there is the word “guy” instead of “person” twice in the whole article? Or the sentence “Chicks dig the hearing aid look…”? Do any of these things invalidate the article?

    • Who gives a shit? As Jack said, just take the damn advice.

    • To piss off feminazis like yourself.

  • well just dont turn the amps to 1000

  • Man, you said it. I am only 22 and already have the telltale ringing constantly
    I think a sunn show is what pushed my ears over the edge.

    Earplugs from here on out!

  • For a cheaper, same quality solution, check out Alclair as well!

  • As a 19 year old tinnitus afflicted drummer, I couldn’t agree more.

    Even cheaper, non fitted ear plugs will make a WORLD of difference to keeping your ears protected, and I do agree about the sound quality of the gig as well!

  • From the first sight i thought that’s an earplugged tiny dildos lol

  • And when you want to get serious about things, there’s Jerry Harvey Audio. Jerry Harvey invented in-ear-monitors and founded Ultimate Ears (which is now part of Logitech). Now he has his own company. http://www.jhaudio.com/

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