Hearing Protection - What do You Use, if Anything?


Active Member
I've started playing with a new group. I don't think we are particularly loud, but we rehearse in a pretty small room... so I guess we are loud for the room. I dug out my old Vibes hearing protection. They do seem to provide more of the audio spectrum than a foam ear plug. They work .... "OK" .... but am wondering what else folks may use?
  • Like
Reactions: I-P
I use the orange silicone US Army ear plugs. These are my absolute favorites. They last forever, are easy to insert/remove and block out just enough sound. Disposable foam plugs actually block out TOO much sound.
My IEM's are my hearing protection both on the gig and at practice. They don't isolate 100% (which is a good thing in my book), but they do a great job taking A LOT of the edge off of everything. I wish I started wearing them 30 years ago.
For non-molded, I've been using Earasers for over 10 years now. You can choose your size and filter level (I use -26 and -31 db). They're so comfortable I forget I'm wearing them.

For molded and maximum protection, I use Dreamearz acrylic earplugs. I also have their IEMs.

Had my hearing checked a few months ago and it is "excellent," and I've been playing in bands for almost 35 years. I credit my hearing protection.
At gigs I use my IEMs while we are playing.

During breaks and at practice, I use Etymotic High-Fidelity ear plugs. They are very comfortable and preserve a good portion of the frequency range without sound muffled or muted.
Vic Firth headphones with audio input.

They make the drums sound amazing and I can hear any backing tracks or the metronome easily but still hear what I'm playing.

Oh.....they make me look like one of those Cybermen from Doctor Who.
the who GIF
IEM during gigs. During rehearsals more often the regular VF headphones that work surprisingly well. They isolate a lot, and I don't push any ear wax back into the ear canal (if any). The only downside is the lack of proper high-end. Just avoid the often hyped "Direct Sound EX-29 Plus" which I bought a few years ago. The marketing said they were specifically designed for drummers, with excellent isolation. That is NOT the case. One use, then the shelf.
For over-the-ear headphones, I recommend the GK Ultraphones. Their sound, clarity, and isolation are better than the VF or DS. The isolation is on par with custom-molded ear protection. They are expensive, however, but worth it. I use them in the studio.
Hmmm, those GK's look very similar to the 3M hearing protection / radio headphones I use when working with power equipment.
{{edit}} just saw on their website, the GK's are 3M hearing protectors with Sony headphone electronics inside.... pretty cool!
Last edited:
I also use over ear protection designed for construction workers.

I run a mic to a small mixer(really, an old Tascam multi track recording unit) then out to in-ear headphones(nothing special) that I wear under the ear protection. I have been meaning to add a limiter to the loop to help save my ears from transients that threaten the longevity of my hearing.(nothing like hearing something impact that mic to make your ears ring)
I use Downbeats ear plugs that I got at Amazon.com. They reduce everything about 18 db. Peace and goodwill.
Custom molded earpluggs, that can be converted to IEM and the db reduction can be changed to fit the volym, -9db, -15db and -25db. Think the brand name is Bellman & symfon. Those I use when I play with others or go to a concert. When I'm practicing just by myself I use my regular AirPods.
I only play drums without hearing protection when playing extremely low-volume acoustic jazz or chamber music. If it's loud enough that you can't hold a normal conversation over it, I pop in triple-flange earplugs at a minimum. At home I have used shooting range earmuffs. Typically I'm using Mee Audio M6 Pros with Comply tips or Vic Firth isolation Headphones plugged into my in-ear monitor mix at gigs.
Last edited: