Finding the right Hearing Protection

Key Points about Hearing Protection:

All quality hearing protection should protect your hearing by “attenuating” the sound. The word attenuate is used to describe the level of sound reduction provided.

To protect your hearing, your hearing protection must provide enough attenuation (measured in decibels). Attenuation is sometimes expressed as a single simplified noise-level reduction (SNR) figure.

Sound is made up of different frequencies and most hearing protectors will attenuate at a different level for each of these frequencies. These levels vary between manufacturers, so you should check the packaging to see what protection they provide.

Most hearing protectors give greater attenuation at the higher frequencies (4-8 kHz) than at the lower frequencies, and it is these higher frequency sounds that are potentially more damaging to your hearing. However sound levels and exposure time are the main parameters and frequency adds only a very small percentage to the risk.

Remember that in real situations, the attenuation is probably less than that measured by the manufacturer, as they will have tested brand new hearing protectors that fit well, and their tests will have been done in ideal test laboratories.


ETY ER-20 Generic Fit Musician Hearing Protectors:

The ER-20 is a “one-size-fits-all” re-usable high fidelity hearing protector and a low-cost alternative to the custom moulded ER-Musician hearing protectors.
They reduce the noise level that reaches your ear, usually by about 15-20 decibels, which means you can still hear the music – but at a lower volume and without cutting out all the good bits. Because of this they can be used as many times as you like and are ideal for those who enjoy gigs, music festivals and clubs!

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If you fit them correctly, they appear very discreet and people won’t even notice that you are wearing them. And for when they are not in your ears, ER-20’s are supplied with a carry case and connecting cord, so they can sit comfortably in your pocket or hang around your neck until you next need them again.

They are also very easy to look after. Simply clean them with a damp cloth and a small amount of soap, then rinse and dry so that they are ready before each use.

The ER-20 “baby-blue” is the smaller size. Recent studies of both fit and seal, conducted at Etymotic Research and an independent lab, showed that the smaller of the two sizes fits the majority of ears and is now designated as the standard fit, and perfect for smaller and children’s ear canals.

The ER-20 “white” is the large size and is available with the outer handle in a variety of colours to suit your style: clear, yellow, blue, purple or red.

Please click here if you wish to purchase a set of these.

Custom-moulded ER-Musician Hearing Protectors:

Superior to the ER-20, the custom moulded ER-Musician hearing protector has a revolutionary attenuator button which provides flat reduction of sound, or attenuation, over a frequency range of 125 – 8000Hz. As a result of the flat attenuation, the sound keeps its natural wave without any distortion, which is similar to turning down the volume of a stereo or radio.
Custom-moulded ER-Musician Hearing Protectors are made from a medical grade silicone for comfort and come with a 2 years manufacturer’s warranty against fit and sound seal and workmanship.

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Custom-moulded ER-Musician Hearing Protectors:

  • are the acknowledged gold standard for the music industry
  • use a genuine ER- broadband filter to attenuate the music without distortion so you can still enjoy it while protecting your hearing from excessive decibel levels without missing a beat
  • provide a 15dB flat attenuation as a standard
  • offer interchangable attenuation, 9dB or 25dB, which can be supplied as agreed or can be purchased in addition to the ER-15dB


They are highly recommended to:

  • all musicians whether playing in a band or in an orchestra
  • all DJ’s, who regularly play in clubs
  • sound and audio engineers
  • people working in the music industry, including lighting technicians and road crew
  • all rock concert fans who regularly attend live performances


Please contact us for getting a pair of ER-Musician hearing protectors as you will need to visit us for taking a set of ear impressions from your ears. Once this is done, we will fit you with your very own set custom ER’s in about 5 -6 working days.

In the article below Sarah Fox from Cobra Khan talks about getting a pair of Elacin ER-Musician Hearing Protectors from us.

Elacin Review


How to fit hearing protectors:

Inspect your hearing protectors prior to use – look for any cracks, tears or imperfections and make sure they are clean.
To assist with inserting your ER musician hearing protectors, reach one hand behind your head and pull your ear outward and upward to straighten the earcanal.
Sometimes it helps to open your mouth while you insert them.
When the hearing protectors are in your ears properly, only a small portion should be visible. You should always be able to grab the end with your fingers to rotate it and gently remove it.
When you have hearing protectors in your ears, you may hear your own voice as louder and deeper. This is a useful sign that the hearing protectors are properly positioned.


What are custom In-ear-monitors?

Finding the best audio monitoring solution has never been easy, and there are now a wide selection of In-ear monitors providing a generic fit and sound experience. In order to accurately portray frequencies on stage or in the studio, generic In-ear monitors can only do so much. The generic fit may cause discomfort after wearing them for a  while or they simply don’t fit well and fall out from your ears, which makes them a distraction, especially in live performing situations. For the sake of consistency, a perfect fit is crucial when performing live.

Custom In-Ear-Monitors are personalised earphones utilizing miniature balanced armature transducer technology to deliver the ultimate in detailed sound quality. Their tiny magnetic transducers, also called drivers, offer high resistance to mechanical shock and deliver smooth responses with very low distortion levels.

Custom In-ear-monitors are primarily used by performing musicians for live stage use and by their sound engineers for noise reduction as well as for mixing.  Individually handcrafted to the shape of your ears, tuned and calibrated to provide perfect sound isolation as well as an unmatched sound quality and detailed reproduction of music.

Available in clear or with a range of different coloured faceplate, there is the option to add artwork, jewellery or your name laser engraved to further personalise them.


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When connecting to In-Ear Monitoring equipment, MP3, HIFI and most other communication systems, these monitors reduce the ambient sound environment by approximately 26dB. This reduction of the ambient sound allows for a much lower and safer listening volume from the audio source, whilst at the same time delivering a superbly detailed sound reproduction.


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Why do bands need In-ear-monitors at all?

Until the advent of stadium rock, a live performance in any venue that required amplification used a public address system (or PA) that consisted of a series of microphones and loudspeakers, and a mixing board.

The first stadium performance of note occurred in August 1965 when, at the height of Beatlemania, the Beatles played Shea Stadium. The performance was notable for being the first concert at a major sports stadium, for drawing the largest attendance (55,600) to ever see a live concert, and by the fact that the noise from the crowd was so loud that no one in the band could hear the music they were playing.

As a result of the Beatles experience, bands began placing speakers (or wedge monitors) around the stage. For band members to hear what they and their band members were playing during loud performances, wedge monitors were a big improvement.

But wedge monitors present certain problems such as that they do not move with band members who often want to move around on stage, and they are not acoustically optimised, they just add to the total volume of sound from the crowd, the other musicians and the PA system.


Midnight Youth Homegrown 2215

Jeremy Redmore (lead vocal) – Midnight Youth comments:
“My live vocal performance has improved incredibly since using Ultimate Ears In-ear-monitors at every show. I could not imagine having to rely only on stage monitors ever again!”


Some key points about custom moulded In-Ear-Monitors:

In-Ear-Monitors are custom moulded and personalised earphones utilizing miniature balanced armature transducer technology to deliver the ultimate in sound quality.
Superb sound quality with low distortion and smooth responses.
Reduction of ambient sound by approximately 26dB resulting in a much lower and safer listening volume from the audio source.
Unlike wedge monitors, custom moulded In-Ear-Monitors not only deliver a mix and a superbly detailed sound reproduction directly to your ears, but they also go wherever you want to go on stage.
Custom moulded In-Ear-Monitors are available in different colours and some suppliers also offer in addition artwork, jewellery or your name laser engraved to further personalise them.

Perhaps the most significant benefit from custom moulded In-ear-monitors is the help they provide by protecting the hearing of the musicians. The use of monitor speakers which have to compete with drums and assorted amplified instruments can lead to ear-splitting volume levels on stage, so the use of custom In-Ear-Monitors allows for monitoring at a much lower volume level which can help lowering the risk of sustaining irreversible hearing damage.
From a performance standpoint, singers often find that they have fewer pitch problems and have to strain less to hear their own voice when using custom In-ear-monitors. This reduces vocal fatigue. With the help of a wireless In-ear-monitor set, custom In-ear-monitors provide musicians the freedom to roam the stage while still hearing their own custom-designed mix.

Custom In-ear-monitors are also more and more chosen over generic type earphones or headphones by the audiophile community.


Below is some relevant information about the products we fit:

Most of the products we fit are custom-made and moulded to your ears to provide a comfortable fit, a perfect sound seal and safer listening.
Ultimate Ears Pro custom In-ear-monitors are moulded to your ears, provide a comfortable fit, noise isolating and allow for a much lower volume level and safer better hearing experience.
As an alternative to custom-made In-Ear-Monitors, we can offer custom-moulded earplugs which attach to standard In-Ear Monitor earphones made by companies such as Shure, Ultimate Ears, Sennheiser, Sony, Etymotic Research and others. Should you have already purchased a set of these bear in mind that the acoustic properties of your generic earphones will change as well as the cosmetic appearance of them, which often protrude further from your ears.
In order to supply any of the above products, we will need to take a set of ear impressions of your ears. This only takes a few minutes and can be carried out during your first appointment with us.


On Ultimate Ears Pro:

In 1995, Jerry Harvey, a touring sound engineer, created a custom moulded In-Ear-Monitor for Van Halen’s drummer, who was frustrated with the quality of his earpieces.
As the demand for custom moulded In-Ear-Monitors rapidly grew amongst musicians, Jerry Harvey launched the company called Ultimate Ears.
Ultimate Ears Pro today remains the leading provider of custom monitor earphones. They are ” The No1 choice of the world’s top touring musicians and sound engineers” for live stage and studio performances.
Amongst professional musicians and audiophiles, Ultimate Ears has established a solid reputation for superior craftsmanship, unmatched sound quality and comfortable fit.

Acoustix® Hearing Technologies is the authorised dealer for New Zealand for Ultimate Ears Pro custom In-ear-monitors. We will help you with all your needs, including accessories, replacement cables and repairs.

All Ultimate Ears Pro custom In-Ear-Monitors are supplied with a gold plated 3.5mm right angle stereo connector, a personalised crush-proof carry case, a cleaning tool and user instructions. They come with a 12 months manufacturer’s warranty.
If you happen to be in Auckland, come and see us. We are the only supplier who have demo models of Ultimate Ears Pro custom In-ear-monitors available for you to listen to, so that you can hear for yourself what to expect, and what they are all about!


Midnight Youth HG


Midnight Youth won the ‘Best Rock Album Award’ and the ‘Best Group Award’ in the 2009 New Zealand Music Awards. We are proud to supply them and many other local Kiwi artists with custom built Ultimate Ears!

Noise Isolating Ear Phones:

In addition to their world class custom built In-ear-monitors, ULTIMATE EARS manufactures high quality noise isolating earphones for audiophiles and music fans.

Noise-isolating means cutting out unwanted background noise and letting you hear the good bits at a lower and safer listening level compared to your stock ear buds.


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We offer you the opportunity to listen to Ultimate Ears noise isolating earphones so you make the right choice prior to you purchasing a set.

(Images courtesy of Acoustix® Hearing Technologies, Midnight Youth/LTPS/ Logitech)


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