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Hearing Protection

Ken Coker

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We where on ER20's as well, and I still where them when driving the kitcar, they much more even in what they filter (so you can still hear, but not be deff at the end) but I wouldnt say they reduced the level any more than correcly fitted dispoable foam plugs, but see how you go.


When I worked at our students union they gave us our first set free, as well as as many dispoables as we wanted.




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I was in a similar position to you with regard to hearing protection, so earlier this year I bought 4 sets of plugs (about £50 all in) to test which was best for me.


Alpine Musicsafe (~£17)

Earsonics Earpad (~£20)

Etymotic ER20 (~£13)

EAR Clear 20 (~£2.70)


The EAR clear 20 and the ER20 both have 3 ribs per plug, rather than the 2 ribs of the other 2. This (I feel) helps attentuate the bass better.

Unfortunately, the Clear 20's got mislaid quite early on, but I found them really comfortable compared to the ER20, because they don't have the long 'handle' which rests uncomfortably on my tragus after a while. For the price, it's probably worth a couple of sets as 'quality disposables' if they fit you.

The Earsonics currently get the most use, purely because they have a lanyard, and so I find them about my person more often. I do like the Alpines too though.


I also bought a lot of pairs of E.A.R. FX foam plugs, as I use them when sleeping at festivals, and also on my motorbike. If you want ultimate noise reduction, these are the daddies, and fit really well (they're quite fat, but squeeze down well). They claim 39db SNR which I can well believe, and they allowed me to sleep for 4 hours later in the morning in a tent with my 3 year old daughter up and about inside (the ultimate test!)


Ultimately, if you just want it quieter, I think go for a decent foam plug like the FX, but if you want to still hear (enjoy?) the material then use one of the others.

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Wore the ER 20s all night and they seemed to work - comfortable too. I was in the smaller of the two venues so it's possible it was a bit quieter....but not by much.(I also had to concentrate on working an Azure, but that's another story!). I'll try and borrow a meter and do some measurements over the next few weeks.


Many thanks for the advice.



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I second the Alpine Musicsafe option. I've got the set that comes with three filters and I don't play a gig or watch a gig without them. I'm a drummer, I hit hard, we play loud, but I still get a relatively clear sound of everything, rather than the mush that you get with the disposable yellow ones.




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