Hearing protection when playing/listening

My partner is a brass musician and is concerned about her hearing as they rehearse in a small room and it gets incredibly loud when the full band is playing. I’ve got tinnitus from an ear infection and find loud sounds painful and distorted. I’ve started taking basic foam earplugs to gigs, but they won’t cut it for music rehearsals where being able to hear all frequencies clearly and equally is important, and it strikes me that gigs would probably be better if they weren’t muffled as fuck too.

So, anyone got any recs for good musician-type earplugs? I’ve seen those ultra-expensive molded-to-your-ear things but surely there’s something in-between those and yer basic foam jobs? Are those £20 Fender things actually any good?

Bonus difficulty challenge: my partner has teeny tiny ears and foam earplugs don’t fit. Do they come in different sizes?

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I’ve always used and enjoyed Elacin ER-20s as a cheap option.

But I’d recommend this


Was just gonna say, if your partners in tge MU look at those.

You don’t have to be an MU member for this, it’s through Help Musicians. MU members get an extra discount though.

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I have lost about 100 medium-posh plugs. The best ones so far (current) are those ‘loop/hoop’ ones which come with a bazillion different sized ear-grommets, and a few levels of attenuators. They are comfy and give decent sound.

Probably be rehearsing soon, so might buy proper posh ones.

You do seem to need to be a 'professional ’ musician! Disappointed!

She’s not MU, but looks like it might still be useful, thanks!

Ah, wait, she’s non-professional. Never mind. Still open to other suggestions, though.

Some good tips in this thread:


My ears are too small for foam earplugs as well and size small ER-20s fit me

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ER-20s are the ones. Mine are still going after probably at least 15 years. And they’re cheap.

The real deal are the moulded ER-15s. I had some once and they were amazing but also very isolating. The best for watching an extremely huge loud session by Mogwai say but not actually so good for playing live as it was hard to really get into the feel.

The ER-20s are different, they let you still be ‘in’ the music a lot more but they just kill the painful stuff.

I think the ER-15s are probably the best choice for serious musicians long term but I just don’t think it’s a huge extra margin given the price difference etc.

Ah balls - missed that!

I ordered these, but then lockdown hit and by the time gigs came back I’d lost one of the little filters

Then replaced them with these, bought impromptu in a guitar shop in Dublin before a Low gig

Generally find the latter pretty good - they take the edge off but can still hear everything pretty well. Occasionally, during Mogwai in particular, I felt like they were dulling things a bit too much and ended up taking one of them out, but at most gigs they’ve been fine.

I think both sets are basically the same but I never got a proper wear of the Eggz with both filters in so can’t properly compare

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