Playing violin and my ears

April 16, 2018, 1:52 PM · Hello!

I play violin (not so long, I am just beginner) and I feel some kind of distress in my RIGHT ear. Is not unusual that after playing thinner strings I hear lower on this ear and sometimes I feel a little pain, discomfort or something similar. On the other hand, my left ear (closer to the violin) is quite okey but I feel sometimes some kind of little discomfort as well. I had already some problems with right ear before I start to play violin. I think that my ears are more sensitive and, in accordance to previous problems, my right ear's sensitivity is especially higher.

And now, I am considering if it is good to play violin when my ears are so sensitive. I use mute and also have something in ears to protect them but I still feel that they are in discomfort. I am a little bit sad about it because I like sound of violin. Now I am considering if it is the right instrument for me. Any advise? Thanks

Replies (6)

Edited: April 16, 2018, 3:36 PM · I've been suffering from tinnitus in both ears, more on the left, as a result of playing the violin. I've tried ear plugs, noise-cancelling electronic ear plugs, a mute, mellow strings, and even a Yamaha silent violin. I can recommend all of these solutions, as they all help some, but nothing has completely solved the problem for me yet. My practice room is small, with lots of hard surfaces, which causes even a muted violin to be too loud. I'll be interested in hearing others' suggestions.
Edited: April 16, 2018, 6:24 PM · Do yourself a favour and consult a hearing specialist. We can go on and on giving you our personal viewpoints, but this isn’t worth anything until you a least know the state of your hearing. For all we know you may have a hearing condition that requires special attention. Some hearing conditions result in hypersensitivity. That said, I am not certain what you mean by something in your ears to protect. Stuffing tissues in your ears (as one example) wouldn’t cut it. Get some professional hearing protection if you don’t already. Not cheap up front, but inexpensive and cost beneficial in the long run. My first pair of custom fit musician earplugs lasted me 10yrs. That is less than $2 a month, cheaper than disposables in the long run and far more effective.
April 16, 2018, 6:31 PM · Yes, consult a specialist and find out what your situation is. I started, years ago, using foam earplugs, dB -33, in both ears. I can get 10 pairs at the pharmacy for about $5 USD. I started with the plugs because the strings I've used since then on two of my fiddles, notably Thomastik Vision Solo, Peter Infeld, and Infeld Red, are more powerful than the wound-gut types I grew up with.

I don't experience any of the problems you described, but I'm not taking any chances. These plugs give me a lot of protection, and I still hear everything I need to hear when practicing or playing.

I now find it unfathomable that anyone would take up this instrument, whose sound originates about 3 inches from the ear, without also taking the precaution of protecting the ears. Loud volumes are dangerous, and they are one of the many reasons I quit doing orchestra at 21 y/o and haven't gone back to it.

April 16, 2018, 7:18 PM · All that's fine advice. But simpler would be to just switch to guitar.
April 17, 2018, 6:17 AM · There is also bone conduction, via collarbone and chinrest I find this increases when with a heavy cold.

April 17, 2018, 8:31 AM · @Adrian Heath yes this is very true, if you try playing the violin without your chin on it you may notice it is much quieter, so if you actually want to know how loud you are playing you can get a hertz meter or something along those lines, also I use my beats headphones because of their noise cancellation feature and wear those over my normal foam earbuds and it works perfectly.

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