For most of my youth and
young adult life I didn’t really bother with wearing earplugs at a club or concert or festival or anywhere, where there was loud music. At part because I didn’t really mind the volume. At part because I always found it a hassle to take them along and as I’m a clumsy klutz, the foamy plugs often enough just slipped out of my fingers, when I wanted to pull them out or put them in my pocket.
As I wasn’t going out to clubs or concert that often anyway, it wasn’t really an issue, all the while knowing that every hour of too loud music could do damage to my ears. But just as with so many other things we all know could be bad for our health / would be good for our health, I didn’t bother much with either every time.
Due to my love for Frank Turner and his music and his shows I’ve been going to a lot more loud gigs in the last few years and I tried to remember to bring earplugs. Managed to remember it about every other show ;-) The usual cheap foam earplugs often suck at a rock show, because they filter out everything and you miss out on some of the great sound, so I sometimes willingly did not use them.
During the tour in January this year I saw a girl with ear plugs connected with a cord, which she wore around her neck. They seemed very sophisticated and I later learned that they were actually especially molded to her ears. I didn’t want to go that far, but the cord was a neat idea. And I was ready to invest a bit for reusable earplugs who probably then also were better suited for music events. If they were also easy to take out for a moment without having to fiddle around squeezing them in your pocket for safekeeping, all the better.
Google was my friend and I learned about musician earplugs, which reduce volume without distorting the sound. They are not simple foam thingys, but a sound filter in a tiny tube with silicone gills around it. I found some for about 20 EUR (£ 16/$23), which came with a cord and a small container to transport them in, so I thought I’d give them a try. I wore them at the last Frank Turner show in Cologne for the first time and was very impressed. So much more comfortable to use than the cheap foam earplugs and definitely with a much much better sound experience.
I also wore them at show in Stockholm, which was a good thing, because I was standing right in front of the speakers. Literally in front! They were great at the Biffy Clyro show as well, because that a loud one for sure.
Why am I writing about this so extensively here now? Because I’m not just a a clumsy klutz sometimes, but also a scatterbrain. And that scattered brain of mine made me forgot to pack these earplugs when I drove off to the Mumford & Sons show yesterday. At first I thought, I might still be ok without them, because I wouldn’t be at the front close to the stage. But of course in a >10.000 people venue, it’s loud everywhere. It’s supposed to be. And it was. Loud!
To protect my hearing at least a little bit, I had to resort to the old trick of putting tiny wads of Kleenex in my ear canals. The sound was not too muffled while it also didn’t feel too loud, so I thought I’d be ok. But when I was lying in bed hours later, my ears were still ringing. It still feels a bit weird even now, 24 hours later. I haven’t experienced that in long time even after shows I’ve been to without any protection for my ears.
I hope this will teach me a lesson to not be so scatterbrained next time, because a concert is so much more fun when you a) don’t have to worry about your hearing and b) can listen to all the wonderful sounds without the noise.
My earplugs were ordered online from Sonic Shop here in Germany, which had a great costumer service, so I can recommend them for that. But I guess there are a lot of equally good (online) shops elsewhere as well. You should really spend the money. And of course remember to actually take them with you! ;-)