Orchestral Ear Plugs

Edited: March 20, 2023, 9:29 AM · Thought it was my imagination but my wife and I concluded that a lot of our local orchestral members are wearing hearing protection.

I applaud this and wish I had done the same back in my blues band days in the early 70s.


They may have been doing so before, but I just hadn't noticed.

Replies (10)

Edited: March 20, 2023, 12:29 PM · These eight qualities apply also the Ardent Amateur!
However, the Ardent Amateur has no hidden agenda, no need to prove anything.

They play or sing for themselves, and to share their love of music with other musicians, and with those who simply love music. If they transmit their skills to others, they hope that these others will be able to transmit their love of music to other others!

If they play or sing music they don't really like, it is from friendship and loyalty, not from obligation.

So in a way the Ardent Amateur is the true musician!


Edited: March 19, 2023, 12:53 PM · Well I'm here now, talking about ear plugs instead of Arabic stock tips. I'm not any kind of orchestral player, but I use a 9dB filter on some custom molded earplugs.

I remember the former Principal Cello of The Colorado Symphony, Silver Ainomae, wore earplugs regularly. I don't recall, but I imagine he didn't when he soloed with the orchestra. He was a great player with a really beautiful sound.

March 19, 2023, 11:44 AM · I wear earplugs during orchestral rehearsals and performances if I feel the need to. In most cases, plugging one ear is sufficient, but for really loud pieces, I do end up needing to plug both ears. Sometimes, I don't need earplugs at all, it just really depends.
March 19, 2023, 1:45 PM · Looks like posts got transferred here from a now-deleted thread. Interesting.
March 19, 2023, 4:04 PM · I wear filtered earplugs whenever I play my viola or violin. I am 72 years old and have substantial hearing loss at high frequencies in both ears. My audiologist prescribed the plugs several years ago to try to avoid further hearing loss. I wish I had done it earlier.
Edited: March 26, 2023, 6:14 AM · Well, my little hymn to the amateur musician was in answer to that previous pretentious one on professionalism, now vanished..

For this revised thread, I'll say that I have slightly less hearing loss than some for my 74 years, thanks to Etymotic plugs. I started them early thanks to a hyper-reactive left ear. One or two of my young colleagues use them; the others probably should, too. My viola give out nearly 100dB measured just near my left ear, for several hours at a time..

Also, I play viola just in front of the trombones and trumpets...

March 19, 2023, 7:08 PM · Hearing loss be damned!
My hearing loss is so bad I have to use hearing aids whenever I play either alone or in ensemble. And I played baritone horn in 100-piece high school band for 4 years, right in front of the trumpets.

I have no idea whether playing without ear plugs most of my 84 playing years is responsible for my condition or not. My paternal grandfather wore hearing aids from his 60s on and he never played an instrument or attended concerts. But he did give me my first violin for my 4th birthday.

March 19, 2023, 7:13 PM · As for this thread topic: I use Earasers. t
The thing that finally made me get earplugs was post-COVID syndrome. One of the symptoms was that I became hypersensitive to bright lights and loud sounds, and needed the earplugs to keep my brain from getting overwhelmed in an orchestra.

Now that the sensory symptom has mostly gone away, I wear earplugs only some of the time, depending on the repertoire being played. I didn't for the concert I just played today, with everything on the program scored for chamber orchestra. But for the previous two programs (Prokofiev and Shostakovich symphonies respectively), I used the earplugs.

Edited: March 21, 2023, 11:23 AM · I've tried ACS Pacato and Etymotic Research ER20XS-SMF-P.
My advice is, go for comfort rather than supposed HiFi: - buy the ACS Pacatos. In a small room I wear one in just my left ear when practising.
March 21, 2023, 1:08 PM · @Adrian - agree that playing viola really causes problems because of location. I am right in front of the oboes and bassoons, but the trombones are not far behind. When I was a violin 1, I was far removed from the brass. However, in the distant past when I played violin 2, I was right next to the piccolo. Hard to win. The only good thing was that for our concert, for unknown reasons, the conductor put the violas opposite the violin 1s so the cellos had the location issue.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop



Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine