Discuss traditional rhythms, singing etc
By shorty
these tihgns are pretty loud

do u think regular practice and performance is bad for the hearing?

mine is tuned high and is a "master drum"

it is loud
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By Beerfola
Without a doubt it's harmful. My ears ring all the time. I haven't had my hearing tested lately but I'm pretty certain the results are not going to be encouraging. Djembes were meant to be played outside but most practice, performance and dance classes take place indoors. I've tried earplugs but I don't like the sound. I suppose I won't like being deaf even more. Playing softly presents technique challenges. Playing without bells loses an important element to the music. I've been looking for a middle ground but haven't found it yet.
Just this morning I was considering a setup for practice. Mic'ing the drums through a mic preamp and setting the volume on a pair of headphones to a safe level. Then I don't lose the dynamics of the slap and tone or my hearing.
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By Dugafola
mine is also tuned pretty high but is only an 'amateur' or 'student' drum.

play outside.

i used to wear ear plugs but got lazy about it.
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By bops
What you need are musicians' earplugs. Unlike foam plugs, they are specially designed to allow the entire frequency range to pass. So they don't muffle the sound, they just lower the volume to a safe level.

They are expensive, because they need to be done by an audiologist who creates a mold of your ear and makes custom plugs to fit your ear. It's an investment in your own health and your future. Do it - don't put it off!

And then don't forget to wear them. :)
By shorty
recorded music doesnt sound perfect to me unless it is very loud in a car stereo system or good speaker system for example. it sounds good, but when it is HITTING everything sounds sweeter, the vocals, the keys and guitars, and of course the drums

does this mean i already have hearing loss?

or does it just mean that i like it loud.

i generally think clubs are too loud

but as i grow older i am more and more used to the club volume, although it try not to go to clubs anymore especially because of that reason
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By Carl
A quick thought on hearing protection.

Get earplugs! - Even if they are not the professional level molded to the ear kind, get them. A little protection is better than no protection!

Upgrade when you can.

Practice with them. I've noticed that I have to listen differently when using ear protection. The energy of the music changes for me, probably just from the volume effect. Also, be aware that your drum will sound different to the audience (assuming they are not also wearing ear protection :-) ).

So I try to spend some time listening with the earplug out for balance and sound, then back in for serious playing. It's not uncommon for some us to pull out one plug in the middle of a tune to make sure things sound the way we want.

Finally, make a habit of it. This is my worst problem. I am only wearing earplugs about 60% right now. I started noticing a permanent ring in my ears about a year ago, very quiet so it is not a problem, but it is ALWAYS there! I had been playing drumset / classical percussion for 10+ years before going to the djembe... add 9 years of djembe to that and its been over 19 years of abuse! Fortunately I've always been a "little bit" careful and I got almost 18 years before any affect was noticed. So in the long term it is better to use protection BEFORE you notice anything.

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By jeffduyndam
I hear what you are saying about the real possibility of ear damage.

In this age of high performance djembes, with pulling machines and quality rope, and drumskulls, wula drums etc, djembes are screaming. I think that is why I am playing on a djembe with cow skin more and more. It seems like it has a lower frequency and doesn't hit me upside the head so much.

But the skin has to be a thinner cow skin or else I have trouble digging my slaps out.
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By the kid
1. dont do samba, :lol:
2. Wear ear plugs, moulded pro, plastic- wax cheap ones or bits of tissue paper :mrgreen:
3. I know it looks cool but dont stand on front of speaker stacks :ubergeek:

Tinitus or the ringing in the ear is caused by the hair sensors in your ears getting broken by the vibration of the air caused by loud noises. Generally it,s only high frequencies that cause a problem. Your brain is sending a signal to the sensors and the message it gets back is confused as the hair is now broken, this is where the buzzing comes from. What is worse is your hearing is less sensative and you won§t be able to hear the subtle characteristics of sound. you aint gonna get a job as a mastering engineer. Then again if you want to be an engineer you,d study accoustics and realise what damage can be done.
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By Dennis103
As far as I know, hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears, can be any noise in your ears) are two separate problems, and separate again from hyperacusis (over-sensitive to sound). I have a bit of tinnitus but no hearing loss. Unfortunately, both problems are permanent, incurable. Everyone knows what the ringing in your ears sounds like after a night at a disco or concert. There is only one way to prevent it and that is hearing protection. Yes, its expensive, but sustaining hearing problems is more expensive and severe tinnitus can drive people to suicide. So if you play really loud more than once a week, like if you teach or practice every day, get hearing protection. Don't go for all sorts of 'cheap' solutions that you don't wear because the sound is altered too much, get the proper type for musicians from an audiologist. I use Exinore with 15dB filters (they recommend 25dB but that is too much for me at this moment). Read up on the web, you owe it to yourself, and especially to your students if you teach. I regularly teach a very popular workshop about djembe tuning, wood problems, skin types and skin replacement, hand care and so on and so forth and hearing protection is always part of this workshop. Good hearing protection sounds like you turn the volume back from 12 to 9, without any loss of any particular part of the spectrum. I always have them with me - if I drift into a concert it is nice to enjoy the music without pain. And most importantly: the first part of the sound that is cut out via hearing protection, are all the high pitched reflections from the walls around you, so the music sounds clearer, and it is easier to be exact in time with other players. So inform yourself and put them on your wish list!
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By bops
These look like an inexpensive alternative to the custom plugs:

Etymotic ER-20 Hi-Fi Natural Sound Ear Plugs feature patented Hi-Fi technology that lets you hear all frequencies clearly, but at a lower volume level. Reduces sound levels approximately 20dB. ER-20 ear plugs are washable, reusable and durable. With proper care they will last for months even with daily use.

Color: White plug, clear stem
Price: $10.95 USD
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By e2c
Those are good plugs - even Mamady wears them. (Really - have seen him wearing them in several recent vids, although i think he uses the blue ones made by the same company.) Etymotics is one of the main companies here in the US for custom earplugs/stage monitors.

I have a pair, but don't wear them nearly as often as I should.

As for tinnitus, it is a separate thing. I've had it (fairly mild case) for several years now - probably as a side effect of an antibiotic that I was prescribed for an ear infection. (Of all things.) It bothers me more during the winter, when there are no windows open and no air conditioners running.

Other than drumming, I try to stay away from loud music and noise as much as possible. It seems to me that most *acoustic* bands are overamped, and have been for a long time. (At least 15 years, maybe longer.) I used to play regularly with some people who likely had hearing loss already and were probably unable to distinguish between over-cranking the amps and normal levels.

It gets pretty wearing after a while.

As far as super-high tuned drums, I think this is another reason why I don't like them - much too much high-frequency stuff going on. (I can't play most metallic percussion instruments because the overtones cause me severe pain... not unlike what dogs feel about dog whistles, I guess!)
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By Dennis103
e2c wrote:I have a pair, but don't wear them nearly as often as I should.
What is your impression of the sound quality?
(I can't play most metallic percussion instruments because the overtones cause me severe pain... not unlike what dogs feel about dog whistles, I guess!)
That is hyperacusis, when all, or certain sounds, become painful.

By the way, drummers and amplified band members are not the only ones suffering, it is a common ailment of all musicians, also violinists in classical orchestra etc. who have the brass section behind them for example, or even from just being so close with one ear to the violin.
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