Anonymous asked: about the potential dangers to your most precious sense. Have you or would you ever consider mixing with ear defenders in? I've had a look at the ACS Pro line and some are very flat but the graph stops at 8k so I wonder what they're hiding. Just curious on your take on it and if you have an recommendations on protection. And to any other professionals with input if you'd like to comment to this ask so Id be able to read that I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks to all!
Of course I worry about hearing loss, I think anyone who works in this business (even those of you working as LDs or stage techs or backline or whatever) should always be aware of potential hearing loss.
I wear -9dB earplugs to every concert I attend (those I’m not working at). I think that’s a good place to start. I also wear them when I’m working as a system tech or any other position not actively mixing a show. Exposure is always #1, so if you find yourself at a loud club or bar without any protection, make sure you’re aware of how long you’re spending there. Any “loud” bar will probably be 100dB or more and you shouldn’t spend more than an hour per night (OSHA says 1 hour at 105 dB A, Slow).
Any time I’m mixing DJ shows, or mixing in close quarters, mixing in clubs or loud wedges, I have my earplugs in. They will save your ass.
If I’m mixing FOH at a large outdoor show, I will rarely mix more than 100dB, and I will rarely mix more than 1 set (I’m either mixing just the opening band, or I’m mixing a one-off single set) so I don’t usually mix those shows with protection in.
I think everyone working in audio should have a professional audiologist exam and really get the full picture of your current state of hearing. I’m aware of my dips (which aren’t really that bad considering my history as a musician) and I take care not to allow them to get any worse. Many audiologists will offer an “extended range” test which goes to either 16k or 20k. I know for a fact that I have a decent response and can still hear a 21k tone within a reasonable response curve. I’d argue that in live sound, ~16k is really all that matters. It’s those dips in the midrange that can really slaughter the audience if you aren’t correcting for them.
In the end, I think everyone should have at least some cheap ER20 plugs, they’re like $12 on amazon. I have “musicians custom molds” from Sensaphonics and I LOVE them. Well worth the $150. Get your hearing tested, get some earplugs, learn to mix at a reasonable level. That’s my advice.