We open our blog coverage of NAMM with our reminder to everyone about protecting one’s ears. The show floor itself can get quite loud, but that’s usually mild compared to what we put our ears through at concerts and rehearsals. This is something I am especially concerned with as I am in two very loud post-punk bands. This year, the company Etymotic Research is presenting new filtering earplugs, and Vic Firth offered complementary editions to members of the media:
The earplugs are designed to reduce overall sound level while preserving frequency response, which allows one to more easily hear speech and musical detail. I using them right now and they do cut background noise, though it is not yet a full test.
When the noise meter hits one hundred, watch out.
I did something this morning at NAMM that I should have done a long time ago: get properly fitted hearing protection. The company Sensaphonics was offering a special on this, so I took advantage.
I got a harsh reminder last night while listening to an otherwise great performance with Dr Lonnie Smith and Bernard Purdie featuring classic jazz/funk jam-style music. It was quite loud and I probably did some more damage, as has been steadily occurring over the years. So I made sure to stop by the Sensaphonics booth early today. They gave their description of what the customized ear plugs did in terms of frequency response, etc. – I let them know that I have taken psychoacoustics classes and quite familiar with audio and signal-processing mathematics. So we got to business. The process was quite painless, and the period of near silence in the crowded hall with the in-ear foam models were made was a meditative experience. They should be arriving in a few weeks, in time for next ReCardiacsFly concert with Surplus 1980 in San Francisco that I expect to be quite loud.
Please take care of your ears, they are our most important musical instruments.