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Euphonium is LOUD: How do I protect my ears?

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  • Friend
    Junior Member
    • Dec 2023
    • 12

    Euphonium is LOUD: How do I protect my ears?

    I sold my old Besson (circa, 1970), several years ago. That was a brass finish instrument with a medium (British) sized mouth-piece. It’s projection seemed mezzo, dark, mellow. I’ve recently purchased the Yamaha Neo and it sounds just the opposite of the Besson. The large bore and this silver-plated bell rings like a….well, like a bell even at ppp. My dog flatly will not tolerate the sound at any volume. My ears are ringing after practicing several days in my small (acoustically bouncy) living room. I realize the need to find a more acoustically favorable space to practice but I also wonder if there are any other ideas out there for how I might try and save my ears while playing as much as possible. After years of playing only the front-projecting trombone, I’d forgotten how much sound emits from that huge-belled euphonium. Is there any new technology in hearing aid/protection technology worth investigating? Is a silencer mute any good? Will the instrument’s sound mellow over time as I play it, as in, will there eventually be that biological/chemical process between bodily-filtered condensation and metal to create a unique sound hopefully a bit quieter (as it is currently a brand new condition instrument without a speck of crud inside)? Oh that wonderful crud. Cleaning a well-worn instrument is like cleaning a well-used coffee pot, you have to be real careful or you might just wash away all the flavor…guess I answered one of my questions…I just wonder how much this new euphonium will pipe down with a good coating of crud inside.
  • enhite
    Senior Member
    • May 2012
    • 270

    #2
    Hearing aid providers can offer appropriate custom earplugs. I was recently quoted around $120 for a set. A less expensive option can be music hearing earplugs from Amazon, such as Etymotic Research musician earplugs. Some universities with audiology departments offer custom hearing protection for a reduced price in their training of future audiologists. I don't have an opinion on your "crud" question.
    Last edited by enhite; 12-26-2023, 11:28 AM.

    Comment

    • RickF
      Moderator
      • Jan 2006
      • 3871

      #3
      I have a pair of Etymotic musician earplugs - the ER20 model which reduces the loudness by about 20db (each 3db is about half volume). I don’t wear them for my own loudness but sometimes wear them to reduce the volume of the loud trombones behind me.

      Amazon has them here:
      Rick Floyd
      Miraphone 5050 - Warburton BJ / RF mpc

      "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
      Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches

      El Cumbanchero (Raphael Hernandez, arr. Naohiro Iwai)
      The Cowboys (John Williams, arr. James Curnow)
      Festive Overture (Dmitri Shostakovich)

      Comment

      • ghmerrill
        Senior Member
        • Dec 2011
        • 2382

        #4
        Earplugs Recomendation (TromboneChat)
        Gary Merrill
        Wessex EEb Bass tuba (DW 3XL or 2XL)
        Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
        Amati Oval Euph (DE 104, Euph J, J6 euph)
        1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kelly 25
        Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K10/112/14 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
        1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

        Comment

        • SteveMcGovern
          Member
          • Mar 2006
          • 97

          #5
          Earplugs might work, but only if the dog will hold still long enough to get them in!
          Try standing in different spots around the room. There may be a sweet spot somewhere.

          I used to have a ceiling fan in my bedroom, but had to switch it off whenever I practiced. I could feel the fan pulse in my lungs and hear it in the sound.

          Comment

          • ghmerrill
            Senior Member
            • Dec 2011
            • 2382

            #6
            Well, if this is a problem because of the room you practice in, here's what to do: Eat a lot of eggs.

            Well, not quite ... but acquire a LOT of empty egg cartons. Then glue them all to your ceiling and see if that improves things for you. If not, glue more of them all over your walls. That should do the trick.

            Perhaps, less dramatically ... Get or make a "practice tent" that, you can practice inside, and set it up in your room or apartment. Be sure it's made of "sound retardant" material. This has the added advantage of being useable when you travel and want to practice.

            The dog clearly can't handle the more robust sound of your new instrument and yearns for the tamer sound of a "proper" Brit instrument. Dump the pooch and replace him with one who is capable of enjoying more modern-sounding euphoniums (hold dog auditions?). Possibly it's a breed-specific problem. We found that Labrador Retrievers never had an issue like this (possibly because they are naturally comatose most of the time), nor did German Shepherds (either because they enjoy such music or have immense self-control).

            I'd mention Yamaha Silent Brass, but I'm sure you've already thought of that and rejected it for some reason. Otherwise, you don't have to wait for crud to form naturally. Add some yourself until the desired effect is achieved. I'm thinking that peanut butter might be really effective.

            Okay, I'm pretty much out of good ideas now. Hope something works for you. But it's hard for me to identify with this (urban?) problem. I live in the middle of 6.5 acres in a large house and my practice room is an "open concept" 20'x20' with 10' ceiling. And no more dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys, or horses.
            Last edited by ghmerrill; 12-30-2023, 07:16 AM.
            Gary Merrill
            Wessex EEb Bass tuba (DW 3XL or 2XL)
            Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
            Amati Oval Euph (DE 104, Euph J, J6 euph)
            1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kelly 25
            Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K10/112/14 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
            1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

            Comment

            • MichaelSchott
              Senior Member
              • Mar 2012
              • 474

              #7
              The egg carton idea is on the right track. Buy some absorption panels for the walls. It sounds like the room is very live and reflective. They can be very reasonably priced and will help a lot.

              Comment

              • Friend
                Junior Member
                • Dec 2023
                • 12

                #8
                Haha!! That’s the spirit Gary. I think I’ll probably keep the dog as she’s been around for about 15 years now and I’m kind of attached. Sbe’s a Border collie who is smarter than me, so maybe she is trying to tell me something. She loves the trombone but would injure herself trying to get away from the euphonium. As far as the peanut butter idea; I had a jar of sourkraut go bad last summer, I think that might be closer to the consistency I’m after in terms of internal crud build-up. If I can’t practice as much as I’d like because of the ear issues with both me and doggie, then I will just sit here and look at that horn. It is a beautiful looking instrument.

                Comment

                • ghmerrill
                  Senior Member
                  • Dec 2011
                  • 2382

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Friend View Post
                  Sbe’s a Border collie ...
                  You have a border collie in an enclosed space? And you're playing trombone at it? I thought that was a violation of the Geneva Convention.
                  Gary Merrill
                  Wessex EEb Bass tuba (DW 3XL or 2XL)
                  Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
                  Amati Oval Euph (DE 104, Euph J, J6 euph)
                  1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kelly 25
                  Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K10/112/14 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
                  1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

                  Comment

                  • Friend
                    Junior Member
                    • Dec 2023
                    • 12

                    #10
                    She is 15…and half deaf!! Also, she’s taught me to play gently.

                    Comment

                    • comebackplayer
                      Member
                      • Feb 2022
                      • 86

                      #11
                      I live in a small urban apartment and I think you have basically three options:
                      (1) ear plugs [for you]
                      (2) practice mute [for you and neighbors]
                      (3) making room less resonant [for you and neighbors]

                      For #2, I often do boring sessions (kids playing in background, tv on) with a mute in. I am playing mostly for myself, and playing on a mute I can keep my lip up, practice basics, and work up some new music. I try to play repetitive practice (long tones, scales) with the mute in and then more interesting music without mute. I remember hearing that what will really drive neighbors insane is playing scales, long tones, and articulations for hours.

                      For #3, I think adding carpeting, bookshelves, or drapes all cuts down on sound. If you're in a rural area, you could also perhaps practice outside. For the neighbors, I try to put on fans when I am playing also, which adds some background noise.
                      Jupiter 462 & 470, XO 1270
                      Stork 4.5 mouthpiece

                      Comment

                      • ghmerrill
                        Senior Member
                        • Dec 2011
                        • 2382

                        #12
                        Originally posted by comebackplayer View Post
                        I live in a small urban apartment and I think you have basically three options:
                        If you're in a rural area, you could also perhaps practice outside. For the neighbors, I try to put on fans when I am playing also, which adds some background noise.
                        I've practiced outside on occasion, but I don't need to. It's just nice, and doesn't seem to annoy anyone (if they even hear it) -- although I think the bass trombone must carry pretty well. Sitting out on your deck and playing tuba pieces can be very enjoyable, modulo screeching of hawks.

                        But you may need to choose your practice times carefully since sometimes around here it gets a bit like locations in Switzerland. "The hills are alive with sound of gunfire" -- which can affect how well you hear what you're playing and also can act as a sort of uninvited percussion section with a highly non-traditional approach to tempo. So I've typically avoided Saturday mornings and standard vacation days. There use to be a kind of cultural agreement about not shooting until "after church" on Sunday, but that seems to have been lost over the past 30 years.
                        Gary Merrill
                        Wessex EEb Bass tuba (DW 3XL or 2XL)
                        Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
                        Amati Oval Euph (DE 104, Euph J, J6 euph)
                        1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kelly 25
                        Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K10/112/14 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
                        1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

                        Comment

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