I posted this last night on CDMu, but thought it would be worth mentioning here as well, for those hard-line visualists who don’t read both sites.

VJing is an extremely varied art form, but long sets is one thing most visual performers have in common. Whether at a festival, or playing club nights, it’s not uncommon to have a single visualist running the stage for an entire show. Usual gripes about pay-parity with the ear-botherers aside, this is also a quite dangerous situation for your hearing.

I’ve always used the squishy, disposable foam earplugs at gigs, but last year I was convinced to pick up a pair of Etymotics ER-20s.

Etymotic ER-20

Not only do they protect the earth from tiny yellow landfill, they protect your hearing, and I’ve found that they seem to make loud gigs sound better.

Check out the full writeup on CDMu.

  • I've been doing  and going to shows almost weekly for over 20 years and I can say that without earplugs I would not have the perfect hearing I still have.  Another thing that I always do, even with plugs in, is put my hand up over my ear facing the speakers.
    We all need a good reminder like this once n a while.
    If earplug hurt your ears, silly puddy makes great custom plugs that fit to your ear.

  • I didn't finish my thought,  I meant to say that I put my hand up over my ear facing the speakers when I have to walk in front of them.

  • Good advice
    I've got custom fit Musicians Plugs from Etymotic Reasearch with 15db attenuation and it changed my perception @ gigs entirely

  • ECH3L0N

    I'm using these for over 4 years now. Since then my hearing didn't get worse (I've got a slight ringing in both ears).
    Now I'm not only hearing the music better I also can hear people speak more clearly when I'm in a club. Best of all they are dirt cheap. Also selling under the name Alacin ER-20.

  • I use them all the time, I agree with what you say about making loud gigs sound better. I can also hear people speak more clearly with them in too- they're pretty great for the price.
    Unfortunately, I only started to use these *after* I got tinnitus (much like ECH3L0N), but the plugs stop it from progressing past the "mild" point đŸ˜‰
    I think that the dangers of loud gigs/clubs should be played up more, since it never even really occured to me that I should be wearing ear plugs before I got Tinnitus (probably quite stupid of me)
    @blackwatch I've been tempted by the custom fit- do they get uncomfortable at all? (The ER-20's certainly do after a while)

  • @Andy: The guy who suggested I get the Etymotics has some custom molded ones. He said that depending on a range of factors, your ear canal can change sizes slightly, so they can feel a bit tight and less comfortable at times.
    Apparently they're considerably more comfortable overall though.

  • ECH3L0N

    @Andy Best True! My hearing didn't get worse after I've started using them. Too bad I can't experience total silence ever more like the time I stood in the middle of the desert.
    I also think the soundlevels in clubs and on festivals have increased in the last few years.

  • @ECH3L0N Definitely. I guess you get used to it though, and at times, the noise can seem like silence. I definitely think sound levels have increased- I got Tinnitus from one single night in a club. I imagine Tinnitus research is going to increase since more people are likely to get it with the noisy society of today.
    Here's hoping for high fidelity artificial ears in the future :p

  • I've always used ear plugs while VJing, but when I switched to Etymotics two years ago, I realized that there were subtle ranges in the music that I was missing before.

  • Yoo

    Got a pair of these before i went to Sonár five or so years ago. They made such a difference to my perception I haven't been without a pair since. I agree with the above posts sound systems have definitely gotten louder (not necessarily better it seems!) more should be made of this as in 10-20 years there are going to be a lot of people with serious hearing problems….

  • I have some of these and they are great almost forget I am wearing them.

  • noise1010

    As an otologist (and musician), I'm encouraged to see more and more artists using ear protection. It implies that they are serious about their craft and hope to be doing it for as long as possible. If someone thinks EPs aren't 'cool' now, I doubt they will find their future hearing aid much better.
    The etymotics (and similar) have a much flatter frequency response, so you don't tend to turn up the higher frequencies as you might with foam plugs – which pass along a bit more of the lower end.