Musicians And Sound Engineers Can Protect Hearing With Adjustable Earplugs From Minuendo
Along with our eyesight, hearing is one of our most precious senses, especially for professional musicians and those of us who love music. I can’t imagine what life would be like if I couldn’t listen to the music that has formed the soundtrack of much of my life. It’s unthinkable.
But what do you do if your work or lifestyle involves long-term exposure to louder noise levels? The development of some hearing loss can be cumulative over time. This includes something called Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Unfortunately, there are no current treatments that can effectively reverse NIHL. The only way to avoid this gradual erosion of hearing is to physically protect the ears from excess noise.
Even moderate sound levels in practice situations can be harmful over time. In some cases, just a single incident can permanently damage a person’s hearing. For example, take the case in the United Kingdom that involved the Royal Opera House and viola player Christopher Goldscheider.
The case ended up with Mr. Goldscheider being awarded damages of £750,000 for hearing loss suffered during a rehearsal. The court ruled that Mr. Goldscheider’s hearing loss was caused when he was seated next to the principal trumpet of the Royal Opera House Orchestra during a rehearsal of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in 2002.
The case eventually went all the way to the Court of Appeal and the judges ruled in the viola player’s favor. The result of that case means that not only are individuals responsible for protecting their hearing, but employers in the UK can be liable too. This means steps must be taken to protect hearing, even in situations where musicians and recording engineers still need to be able to hear clearly, albeit at a lower level, to do their job.
So how can the sound levels reaching the human ear be reduced without blocking out the sound entirely? The answer could be Minuendo’s Lossless earplugs; a product specially designed for use by musicians and live performers, giving them control over sound levels throughout practice sessions and rehearsals. The use of earplugs can prevent potential adverse effects from occurring because of excessive exposure to sudden noise.
Tom Trones is Minuendo’s Chief Product Officer and co-founder: “I was motivated to create Minuendo Lossless earplugs because I used to play guitar in several loud bands, but the sound quality of cheap foam earplugs just ruined the experience. There is a definite use for earplugs that are as transparent as possible, to meet the needs of both the performers, as well as the concertgoers who choose to protect their hearing.”
Minuendo Lossless are the world’s first adjustable HiFi earplugs. Using a patented membrane technology, they mimic nature by working a little like a second eardrum. The earplugs can keep the user protected while still relaying natural high-fidelity sound but with a seamless adjustment between a moderate -7dB and a more substantial -25dB reduction in sound levels. The amount of sound can be altered simply by adjusting a dial on the earplugs.
The Minuendo Lossless are supplied with a wide selection of ear tips ranging from memory foam type to triple-flanged silicone tips. Whatever the size of the wearer’s ear canal, the earplugs will have a tip to fit. The size and choice of tip design are crucial in getting the best acoustic seal. After a little experimentation, I opted for the memory foam type and was soon testing the effectiveness of the earplugs by turning up the volume on my H-Fi. These earplugs cut out a lot of sound, certainly enough to protect hearing and the small levers on each earplug can be adjusted to allow just the right amount of sound to be allowed through.
As someone who suffers from tinnitus, I’d recommend getting something like the Minuendo Lossless as early as possible in a career that involves high listening volumes. They are ideal for anyone involved in the music industry or where there are continuous sound levels that could cause cumulative hearing loss over time. For people working in a factory or a car workshop, there’s a definite need for ear protection but the Minuend Lossless enable this to be done without having to don a pair of industrial ear defenders. Unlike ear defenders, these earplugs are adjustable, enabling the user to listen out for important announcements.
Although the Minuendo Lossless are primarily designed for musicians and concertgoers, the company claims that early research results have shown that they can also be beneficial in situations such as clubbing, riding motorbikes, bartending, working with children, as well as hyperacusis treatment. Wearing the Minuendo Lossless is like having a gain control for your ears to protect them from sudden or excessive noises. When things are quiet again, the earplugs can be taken out and put back in their zippered storage case.
Verdict: If you care about protecting your precious hearing and you’re working in a situation where you encounter sudden loud sounds or cumulative background noise, a pair of Minuendo Lossless earplugs make an excellent investment. Yes, they are quite expensive but they cost less than a hearing aid. The design of the Minuendo Lossless has proven so popular that the product even received the prestigious Red Dot Design Award for Healthcare Brand, in 2020, as well as the International Sound Awards in four categories. If you care about your ears, try them.
Pricing & Availability: The Minuendo Lossless adjustable earplugs cost $159 / £128 / €149 per pair and come with a 10-year warranty. A list of retailers can be found here.
More info: www.minuendo.com.