Custom Hearing Protection for Musicians

Our audiology services not only focus on hearing rehabilitation but on the prevention of hearing loss. A musician’s hearing is one of their greatest assets. Because a musician’s success is largely dependent upon their excellent hearing abilities, they are often in need of a professional hearing advice. We focus on assisting musicians by offering custom fit, state-of-the-art, ear level monitoring systems. It’s our job to find ways to keep musicians’ hearing healthy so they can continue to produce high-quality music. At the Vail Valley Hearing Center, we work directly with musicians, helping to implement technology that will help preserve their hearing.

Custom Hearing Protection enables the musician to more effectively monitor their music, as opposed to traditional sound monitoring systems. These wireless monitoring systems also offer protection against repetitive high levels of sound which, over time, can cause hearing loss.

Musician using custom hearing protection while playing electric guitar

Earplugs & Musician Ear Level Monitors

Musician earplugs consist of a custom fitted earplug that accommodates a special filter. The special filter allows for attenuation of loud levels of music without distorting the sound quality of the music.

It is also well-worth noting that different filters provide different levels of loudness attenuation. Custom fitted musician ear level monitors not only protect against loud noise levels, they also allow the musician to more effectively monitor their own voice and music.

Improvements to Sound Monitors

In order to stay attuned to the music they produce, musicians use monitors to provide instant feedback. For many years, these monitors were large speakers turned toward the stage. Their output needed to be extremely loud to compete with the rest of the speakers facing the audience. Due to the high volume levels, musicians’ hearing would deteriorate over time.

Even though the monitors were necessary for performances, the technology was the opposite of what was needed in the long run. Audiologists suggested a solution.

Musicians are leading industrial audiology

Our center has been working more and more with individuals who find themselves in high-noise environments for their jobs, we call this industrial audiology. The biggest hurdle to widespread understanding of industrial audiology is awareness. Musicians are perfect examples of how audiology can help people stay on top of their job and continue hearing well as they get older.

Many musicians have incurred noise-induced hearing loss because of the monitoring systems they have traditionally used. Now, to eliminate the need for loud, damaging speakers, there are ear-level monitoring systems which fit directly into a musicians ear. They are custom-made for each individual. When custom fitted and worn properly, these devices save a musician’s hearing. The problem is, it seems like many musicians aren’t fully sold on taking advantage of this technology and wearing their ear pieces. Maybe some musicians don’t even know about the technology, or maybe the ear pieces weren’t made correctly or don’t fit properly.

Custom-made, In-Ear Level Monitoring Systems

Instead of providing feedback through a large speaker, in-ear level monitoring systems provide feedback directly. They are custom-made to fit perfectly inside your ear, wirelessly. These devices deliver a premium sound quality without causing hearing loss.

In order to have an in-ear level monitoring system custom made, you can come in to see us. First, we rule out any medical contraindications that would make an in-ear system detrimental to your health. After that, we take impressions of the ear and send the specifications to one of our in-ear vendors. They create the earpiece that couples to the monitoring system.

In the past, we used Colorado’s own Westone Labs as our primary vendor. However, we recently entered a partnership with Oregon 1964. Focusing on musicians, Oregon 1964 researches and develops its own technology. Our partnership with them has increased our ability to serve musicians. We also provide impressions for Ultimate Ears, and other custom made ear monitor manufacturers, for $50.

As a musician, your hearing is a prized asset. Through the efforts of companies like Oregon 1964, we can help you preserve that talented ability over the long run.

Spreading the gift of hearing

We want to spread the word to musicians and other people who work in noisy environments to help them save their hearing so they can continue doing what they love. We are actively working with musicians and other companies to spread the different types of technologies that most people don’t know are out there.

Individuals who depend on their hearing for their everyday job experience the most risk when they lose it, and we’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen. If you or anyone you know is interested in ear-level monitoring technology, or if you just want to hear more about what our practice is doing to help lead the way, feel free to reach out. We’re always here to keep our patients up to date on the latest technology that can keep them hearing well into the future.

Unless you’re Ludwig van Beethoven, hearing loss can seriously damage your career. That’s what makes working with musicians such an honor for us. When we help musicians, we understand and appreciate the importance of our task. Audiologists and custom fitted ear-level monitoring manufacturers have worked together to keep musicians on the stage.

High-end ear monitoring systems embrace the best components and technologies for an incredible audio experience, so why can’t they do the same things as a $10 pair of headphones? It’s a good question. People use their 3-button remote control and integrated microphones constantly, but part of the reason it hasn’t been in ear monitors is a functional one. When someone is using ear monitors, talking on the phone probably isn’t their top priority.

Not long ago, people had no problems using their cellphones only when it was important. Taking off the ear monitors to do it wasn’t a big deal. Now, the question is, “Well, since it would be more convenient to talk on your phone with your ear monitors on, why not include it?” Westone agrees.

In a PR release they mentioned introducing the:

“Apple MFi cable with 3-button controls and integrated microphone. The new connector is compatible with all the new Westone cables including the ADV active cable and the new UM Pro cable. “

Westone Elite Series and AC Series Monitors

Ear monitoring systems have detachable cables, so Westone doesn’t have to change their industry leading ear monitors to add functionality. Instead, they will be introducing the MFi cable system. The MFi cable will have a remote microphone that allows you to use your ear monitors and answer your phone at the same time. The product isn’t currently listed on Westone’s website, but it is available for order through the Vail Valley Hearing Center.

How About Other Ear Monitors?

While the 3-button might seem overdue, many ear monitor companies don’t have the added functionality in their cords so they’ll be playing catch up. When musicians order a pair of 1964 Ears, we make their molds and they buy them direct so you don’t have to order them through an audiologist. They are fantastic ear monitors, but they currently don’t have the 3-button option.

Unfortunately, we don’t see the 3-button functionality becoming common place in the industry, yet. It is probably just a matter of time before everyone catches up, especially since it isn’t exactly cutting edge hardware. If you need the latest and greatest hardware in the recording industry, give us a call or stop by our office. Whatever you can imagine, we can probably make possible.