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Just one more question... Earplugs?

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cheer_annie_08
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Just one more question... Earplugs?

Postby cheer_annie_08 » Tue Mar 15, 2005 8:53 pm

Okay I play piccolo quite alot in concert band and i'm concerned about my hearing. Since its very high and I don't have the greatest of hearing anyway, do you think it would be a good idea if I used earplugs? I've been playing it for a while tonight and my ears kinda feel like it would be a good idea.....
Thanks so much!! *annie*
If you ever thought you wanted to be a band teacher, just come to a 6th grade brass class.. It will make you want to work at the 7-11 gas station.

Burke
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Postby Burke » Tue Mar 15, 2005 10:03 pm

I'm going to take a crack at this and base it on time served in the occupational safety and health field during the last half of my career. I spent the first half riding underneath the sirens of fire department apparatus, where I wish I'd worn hearing protection. :oops:

If you're experiencing ringing in your ears, that's an indicator of nerve damage, however minor. If you're noticing this occurrence often, it would do you no harm to wear hearing protection while you're playing, especially if you've already incurred some hearing loss. You're right, as no one knows better than you. You don't want to lose any more hearing than necessary.

I wonder what your friendly, neighborhood otolaryngologist might have to say about this? I'd be inclined to check in with someone like that if you're having symptoms, just to be sure. I could be telling you the wrong thing.

If you do start wearing hearing protection, by the way, there is a proper method for inserting ear plugs that most people tend to ignore. I'm really not sure how serious this noise exposure issue is for you, but try to follow the insertion instructions that come with the ear plugs as best you can. If you were running a jackhammer instead of playing a piccolo, I'd be more concerned, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't help yourself by wearing the ear plugs correctly.

I hope this was a useful answer for you.

ick27
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Postby ick27 » Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:43 pm

I believe there are other threads on earplugs around somewhere.. I have earplugs which I where when practicing piccolo or when practicing the flute really high sometimes. I sometimes wear earplugs in rehearsal if I'm playing piccolo, depending on how much high/loud playing goes on (I really needed them for piccolo in March Slave for instance.) It might look goofy to be wearing earplugs in rehearsal, but it's much better for your ears! Many professionals use earplugs because you can experience hearing loss from prolonged exposure to these loud sounds. I say, if you notice that it's pretty loud or hurts your ear, wear ear plugs to protect your hearing.

MeLizzard
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Location: Mid-Ohio Valley

Postby MeLizzard » Thu Mar 17, 2005 9:49 am

Definately wear the earplugs!!!! :!: Even maybe just in your right ear, next to the piccolo. I continually admonish my picc-playing students to do so, but they usually don't quite believe they need to until it's too late. One girl, after five years of stratospheric tootling, during her junior year of college was told she would need surgery to correct whatever problem she had developed. I guess the WVU sectionals with the 20-odd piccs is a little punishing, eh? That's a significant, uncommon amount of damage, but smaller offenses over the years do add up. I occasionally notice a subtle buzz in my left ear :? (never really protected that one). Check with your local music retailer, as most carry some sort of ear protection, usually marketed to drummers, lol. I use the little squishy foam ones that conform to your ear, but there are more high-tech options available now as well. Drugstores often sell the small foam variety. :)

Starqle
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Postby Starqle » Wed Oct 12, 2005 8:43 pm

How do you find earplugs that still let you hear everything you need to (just quieter)? All the ones I tried filter some notes more than others and affect how well I hear tuning...

Band_Geek
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Postby Band_Geek » Wed Oct 12, 2005 9:46 pm

I admit it. Im cheap. I took a piece of tissue paper, bundled it into a ball and stuck it in my ears. Works very good. It isnt as loud but you can still hear the sound.

Burke
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Postby Burke » Thu Oct 13, 2005 6:22 am

I admit it. Im cheap. I took a piece of tissue paper, bundled it into a ball and stuck it in my ears. Works very good. It isnt as loud but you can still hear the sound.
Band Geek, friend, I'd like to ask you to reconsider this method. I have no doubt that tissue paper reduces the decibel level to a slight degree. You wouldn't use it otherwise! If your intended purpose is to guard against hearing loss, however, tissue paper will betray you in the end.

This morning, I discovered a wonderfully comprehensive treatment of this subject on the Larry Krantz website, entitled "FLUTES OR PICCOLOS COULD HARM YOUR HEARING" by Steven A. Wicks. I don't think you'll regret devoting a few moments to the link.

http://www.larrykrantz.com/flutesor.htm

Not to put too fine a point on it, but hearing impairment stinks. A noise induced hearing impairment is usually accompanied by tinnitus, and that really stinks. It will interfer with your peace of mind in ways that you can't imagine, and you won't be able to escape it.

And now, I must go and spread joy elsewhere. :lol:

Band_Geek
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Postby Band_Geek » Thu Oct 13, 2005 11:34 am

Yikes. :shock:

I have a question. Is having 4 piccolos in my schools honor band too much? Its loud enough when 2 are playing.

Starqle
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Postby Starqle » Thu Oct 13, 2005 12:28 pm

Personally, I think it is. For a concert band (esp. a select concert band), I think there should only be one unless a piece actually has two different picc parts written. That is, never double up on picc parts.

Band_Geek
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Postby Band_Geek » Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:49 pm

Im hoping my band director will realize this. Shes actually considering letting him play. This is my personal opinion but I dont think he should because theres already 3. Thats more than enough. Also, he isnt very good at the flute either. When I hear him play, he breaks every other high note and gets lost a lot of the time.

Starqle
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Postby Starqle » Thu Oct 13, 2005 7:11 pm

What some teachers do is rotate the picc parts so that everyone gets a chance to play it, but every song only has one picc player. You could suggest this to her... Since I don't know her, I have no idea if she'll actually listen to the suggestion.

Band_Geek
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Postby Band_Geek » Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:06 pm

Last year, we had 3 piccolo players. Devon, Colleen and Jessie. Colleen did the piccolo for Lord of the Rings. Im sure Devon played the piccolo on Flurry for Winds and Percussion and Jessie played Clarients on the Run. I think my teacher will realize this. Shes a very good teacher.

Starqle
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Postby Starqle » Sat Oct 15, 2005 8:50 pm

I went out and bought some earplugs tonight (NRR 33 dB for picc in the third octave, and some reusable NRR 26 dB ones for normal practice). I was surprised at the difference they made when practicing fife... it was actually easier for me to hear myself because I wasn't cowering from the high notes. That is, I could pay attention to the attack, timing, tone, etc. because the sheer loudness wasn't blowing me away. I did hear myself tonguing more - because I hear that through my tissues rather than through my ears and so it was proportionately louder than usual. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. Maybe it'll get me to be more aware of what I'm doing with my throat and tongue and thus help me become a better player. On the other hand, maybe it will just be annoying and/or distracting.

While this is good stuff, I doubt I’ll be allowed to wear them at a concert – or even a rehearsal. Guess I’ll have to ask...

Band_Geek
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Postby Band_Geek » Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:04 pm

I bought some green NNR 30/SNR 84 earplugs and it is a lot easier on my hears to stand the higher notes than an ordinary bundle of tissue paper. I agree with Stargle. I doubt my band director will let me use them in the concert. Maybe she will at least let me where one in my right ear since the way that I sit, the audience sees only the left side of me and its where the picc's sound is loudest.

Burke
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Postby Burke » Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:36 am

While this is good stuff, I doubt I’ll be allowed to wear them at a concert – or even a rehearsal. Guess I’ll have to ask...
Stargle, I was very proud of you and Band Geek when I read your posts this morning.

Regarding this last comment you made: Perhaps (if you are faced with opposition) you can show a copy of the Larry Krantz page I referenced above to the person deciding whether you can wear hearing protection during a concert or rehersal. I don't know the country of your residence, but the U.S. federal references (e.g. Occupational Safety and Health Administration) cited by Stephen Wicks have legal credibility in U. S. occupational settings goverened by federal safety standards. Obviously however, a hearing loss risk is a risk regardless of setting. Since Wicks specifically addresses the musician's setting, his work seems to me a good foundation to support your position.

In fact, this may be a good idea for general reasons, Stargle. My hope is that your desire to protect your hearing will be well-received. If hearing protection hasn't been a topic of concern for all of you in the past, however, this is an opportunity for you to make a positive difference for your fellow musicians.
Last edited by Burke on Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:13 am, edited 2 times in total.


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