So, How's Your Hearing?


New member
This really wouldn't be a proper drumming forum unless we had a discussion devoted to hearing loss and hearing protection, now would it?

So how's your hearing? Mine is pretty well shot, after 33 years of drumming and time in the military, I've lost 50% in my right ear and 53% in my left. I wear earplugs when I play out or practice, but the damage is done. It's getting harder as I get older to hear my kids talk to me, I have real trouble picking out conversation in a crowded room, and I find that I'm having to depend more and more on my lip-reading skills to keep a conversation going.

So, let's discuss all things hearing and drumming related!


New member
This is a very important topic, good post!
I'm not sure how you 'quantify' hearing levels, but it's definitely worth getting it checked and especially taking efforts to protect it.

I work in 2 studios and expected to find that I had some significant loss, but a visit to an audiologist produced good results; I was kind of surprised. I never went to great lengths to protect it before, but I'm motivated to now. Earplugs at concerts/shows (sounds better to me that way anyway), IEM when performing, low heaphone levels-
you gotta do what you can if you want to keep it.

sorry to hear of your situation, Kevin


New member
i started using headphones about 8 months ago and hav never looked back. started with basic foam plugs that you squeeze shove in and they expand and block the sound.

now ive got recently a pair of industrial ear plugs that have 3 cone layers feels wierd trying to put them in but protects good and voice is still audiable.

anythign thing is i always wear my mp3 player, i take it everywhere. and now instead of haveing it fairly high in volumn i put on something that lets it only go to a certain volumn so i dont wreck my ears. even more.

im 20 now and i hope to keep my hairing for a good while. in work and messing about on the kit.

before my ears used to ring all the time after playing etc now they grand.


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I have a question. I use a Vic Firth headset that lowers the volume by 20 dB, but still I think that I would do well with the volume even lower. Any better (as in more noise reduction) solution?


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Well, thanks to a couple brain tumors I've got no hearing in the right ear (whole inner ear removed) and due to an accident when I was about 15 where I cracked my skull slightly and thus "dislocated" the bones in my left ear so that I can "pop" my hearing in and out by popping my ears to equalize pressure (val salva) I've got "built-in" hearing protection... I pop my good ear out and it drops to about 25% or so. But yeah, 27 years of drumming with my snare drum pushing out almost 200dB I'll be learning sign language before too long....

It was strange at first though after losing the hearing in the right ear to compensate to hearing everything out of the one side in mono, but I'm used to it now. Strangely the good ear is still good enough to mix in the mono....

Just call me Beethoven. :)


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I'm only 17 and I can already tell the difference....especially when I'm working...I'll always ask for the customer to repeat themselves =P


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yea i dont know what id do if i was deaf.. i awlays use earplugs while playing along to loud music but with my band for shwos i dont use plugs, mainly so i can hear them better since we dont have monitors and such


New member
I think my hearing is decent. I only have a hard time hearing people that have really weak voices or that don't speak up, which is normal. Hearing people with loud party music in clubs or at huge concerts is a problem I think everyone has.

I've got some squishy ear plugs I got in the Army... if they were good enough for guns, tanks, mines and grenades then they're good enough for drums.
My dad also gave me some headphone deals that he has from being around construction sites. They cut a lot of noise too.
I notice both of them kill all the bass sound waves so I can't hear my bass drums when I'm playing with a band.


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ive been playing over 13 years and i havent noticed ANY impairment in my hearing...i feel pretty lucky...i always wear the earplugs by rehersals and in concerts...

I use Sure E2s run from a mixer that pumps guitar and click into my ears and I don't ever have my ears ringing after shows or practice. I always try to wear earplugs when i watch other bands play just to save myself. I'm sure I've already lost a lot of hearing from when I was younger and not so smart!


New member
Yeah, my hearing sucks too Kevin. I don't know percentages of how much has been lost, but I'm sure it's quite a bit. I have similar problems (hearing conversation in crowds, etc.) I'm really hating it, but unfortunately like you said, after 20+ years of playing unprotected, the damage is done. :roll:

I wish I would have taken better care of my hearing when I was younger, but I've started to protect what I have left. I went to an audiologist a couple of years ago and while I didn't get a hearing test, I did get them to make some custom hearing protectors for me and they're absolutely the best thing I could've gotten. They're custom molded to fit inside my ear so they're super comfortable and they have tiny sound filters at the ends and you can get them in different levels of attenuation (20db, 15db, 10db). I've got the 20db and they really work great. If there's not a problem with echo in a room, I usually don't even need a monitor on stage. I can go on pure stage volume since the earplugs bring everything down to a lower volume. They don't muffle sound either so conversations and other subtleties are easier to hear than with the cheap foam plugs. They cost about $100 but to protect my hearing from getting any worse, it's totally worth it.


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i use those and they are amazing.
they're called Docs Pro Plugs.
before I started using those, I would always try and use ear plugs, but take them out after the second song, because it was taking out way too much of the high end, and everything sounded like the teacher on charlie brown.
i was hearing ringing all the time, especially at night, and im only 20.
but, i use those now and love them.


New member
DId you say something?

I use Shure E2s plugged into a Tama Tension Watch. SO I play to a click and everyone else plays to me. But I can still hear everything else thats going on. SOOOOO much better than blasting out my ear drums everyday.


New member
I'm forty six and never used to bother wearing earplugs when I did most of my playing in my teens and twenties. My ears ring like Big Ben all the time. Actually its more of a constant high pitched whine, essentially what the doctor call tinnitus. Tinnitus can be caused by damage from loud noises, but also by other factors including just plain aging, changes in the bone structure in the ear, high blood pressure, medication and other things. I've only noticed it in the last couple of years and, since I am generally healthy otherwise, suspect that it is a delayed reaction from playing drums in when I was younger.
The funny thing is that, in order to fly, I have to have my hearing checked regularly and they've never said anything about any hearing loss. So apparently tinnitus and how well you hear can be two separate issues.
At any rate, you can bet I wear earplugs now, especially since my job depends on it. Without trying to preach I would say use whatever system works for you to protect your hearing, just so its something.
I remember reading that the high pitched frequencies from the cymbals do the most damage.


New member
I've lost some hearing in my left ear because of monitors and exceedingly loud bass players.

Aside from that I'm not too bad I suppose.

Mind you, I've never deafened myself by using inappropriate equipment while practicing in confined spaces; equipment such as Z or RUDE cymbals or loud brass snare drums.


New member
I am 16 so I am still young, and I have played since 7th grade. I haven't played any actual shows but I have played with my friends who have had their guitars up a little too much. But I know if I ever play shows and whatnot, I know just to be safe, I will bring earplugs or something.

a little unrelated, but I have gone to tons of concerts. Big Arena's to The Boardwalk Bar in Orangevale California. My hearing is still the best I think it has ever been. I find it a bit weird. The last show I went to, I was so close to the lead guitarists moniter I thought I was going to lose my hearing in My right ear. But im fine, its weird.


New member
my hearing switches? =S sometimes I need to hear things REALLY loudly and repeated before I understand a word of whats being said.. other times I can hear a pin drop in another end of a corridor.. however if the noise level gets too high my ears automatically block themselves, its strange..
but yea, still 16 so I got a while to go before lipreading and signlanguage kicks in =)