What do you do to protect your hearing?

Many audiophiles worry about their hearing and will protect it at all costs: one <I>Stereophile</I> writer has even written about wearing earplugs while driving. What do you do to protect your hearing?

What do you do to protect your hearing?
Here is how I do it
65% (55 votes)
I don't worry about it
35% (29 votes)
Total votes: 84

Dave Bennett's picture

I wear Etymotic headphones on airplanes to both cut out the noise let me listen at lower volumes.

Michael Chernay's picture

Only times I am worried about protecting my hearing is at concerts, and working with my yard equipment. I have a set of Etymotic Research ear plugs for concerts and full ear muffs for working in the yard. Both help tremendously. It's wonderful to come home from a concert and not be kept up from the ringing in my ears

HH's picture

Fortunately for me, I've always worked in a quiet environment, and turn my system on quite loud, but only for 45 minutes or so (classical). So, at 75, I can still hear 8000 cps.

DAB, Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

I use my noise-cancelling earbuds when I know my wife is about to ask me to do (or not to do) something. Happy birthday, honey!

Al Earz's picture

The only measure that I take (but not religiously as I should), is hearing muffs in the shop when running power tools. When will I learn?

Paul J.  Stiles, Mtn.  View, CA's picture

If it is really loud, with significant high-frequency content, I will move away or put plugs in my ears, even if they are just wads of paper napkins. Of course, I try to avoid certain types of "music." You know, the kind where I be smackin' my hos.

Cihangir G's picture

Individual listening periods drop dramatically after marriage and children. I just pump up the volume (in those very precious times) for removing the rust from the ear!

Anoni Mouse's picture

I listen to my hi-fi at sensible levels (most of the time) and always keep the volume of my headphone amp as low as reasonably possible.

Sam Tellig's picture

I avoid Russian night clubs. I use flea watt amps, which force me to listen quietly. I turn off the system.

Tony P., Washington, DC's picture

Earplugs at some concerts, that's about it.

John V.'s picture

I stopped flying commercial airliners a few months back. More than likely permanently. It's a miserable industry. The side benefit is that my ears aren't assaulted every time I go to work. Even wearing hearing protection I noticed a difference in my hearing when the trip was over. After 20 years of flying, I know my hearing has changed, but it'still pretty good. Being a stay at home dad is not nearly as loud as the cockpit of an airliner!

Nodaker's picture

I think it's a little too late to start worrying now. Too many concerts, car stereos, home stereos, heavy equipment (when young) to think I can really save it now. Don't listen near as loud as I used to, though.

Mannie Smith's picture

I don't attend home theater demos, and I write movie theater chains endlessly to complain about super-loud "coming attractions."

Robert Hamel's picture

I use ear plugs at any live events and monitor my playback levels from time to time with an SPL metter. I have been doing this for over 35 years. It took one show, my first show, when I was 15 that left my ears ringing till the next morning and that was it. If I am doing driver testing, especially with compression drivers I monitor SPL as well. I am getting up there in age, so I am real careful. I am going to lose some hearing just from the natural way we age—I sure don't want to lose any more if I can prevent it.

JML's picture


Joe Hartmann's picture

I do not do anything at this time, but the general level of noise today drives me nuts. I know I have hearing loss and wish that I could hear what my son does. Recently, he was demoong the difference of a new ivory bridge on his Martin guitar over the plastic bridge.

Ernie P.'s picture

Avoid loud noises by covering my ears with my hands, bring earplugs to concerts just in case the music is louder than 120db and I listen to music at home at a reasonable level from my seated postion, although my wife thinks I am already deaf and the music is way too loud.

EG's picture

On propeller driven airplanes I habitually wear ear plugs. I also have the standard mufflers to use at home in the yard when I'm doing something that uses a loud engine.

Travis Klersy's picture

Etymotic earplugs at amplified live shows, and I don't listen loudly at home. I have no interest in car audio nor do I use any portable devices when I'm out of the house, so there are no problems there. I also have never been a loud car/motorcycle enthusiast. I've been lucky enough to avoid workplaces with significant environmental noise. I am more protective of my hearing than many, and it has paid off.

Clifton's picture

I clean them with Q-tips. When I hear sirens or jackhammers I cover them with my hands. Careful with those headphones! Clean 'em and protect 'em -- what else is there?

audio-sleuth@comcast.net's picture

It's not too loud, you're too old!

UN's picture

We all know that long periods of loud music will harm one's hearing. I never raise the volume of my music to over 75db. My tube and component selection is geared to low level listening.

Mike Agee's picture

Power tools, mowing the lawn, I use Etymotic Research earplugs. Sirens and fire alarms, I cover my ears, regardless of those around me who seem to think it is a sign of weakness. I confess I don't go to loud concerts anymore. Frankly, the excessive volume, as fun and "awesome" (old meaning) as it is seems childish and naive. It is no longer cool or outrageous (new meaning) to merely be loud, and it is no longer counterculture to suck watts from the nuke plant up-river to amplify your anti-establishment views (as valid as they may be).

craig's picture

This is a very timely and appropriate question to pose to Stereophile readers. It will unfortunately ever be the case that youth feel invincible and are more prone to emotional decisions than the

Louis P.'s picture

I don't have an iPod, and the one rock concert every year or two that I go to is going to be an older act that doesn't need to play at head-banging levels anymore (and Madison Square Garden's sound system has improved a lot over the years, much easier on the ears).

Al Marcy's picture


Anonymous's picture

Keep the volume down!

Jeffrey's picture

Yes! I ususally drive with one set of tires down the middle of my lane, with the other set right on the edge of my lane. This utilizes the less worn part of the road, and can decrease the SPL in the cabin by several dB on many roads!

r j driver's picture

I wear earplugs when using power equipment, at crappy loud concerts and events, and when around my parrots.

macksman's picture

I'm forty years in manufacturing and five years a skydiver. Both are intermittently really noisy. I wear standard, but very good, foam earplugs. I install them correctly and wear them a lot. Hearing in my left ear took a blow about 15 years ago and tinnitus is my companion. My concentration is unabated and I still hear things in life and in music that others miss. The emotional connection to music is still strong despite any diminished acuity. I recommend hearing protection to all of my young friends, especially.