drummer's headphones
February 9, 2011 9:13 AM   Subscribe

I want my son to protect his ears while drumming, but he wants to listen to music.

My son (almost 12) has taken up the drums. I make him wear earplugs when he's practicing, and he agrees, but he'd also like to be able to listen to his iPod while drumming so he can try to play along. I asked his drum instructor about over-the-ear headphones that will block out much of the drum noise while allowing him to use his iPod earbuds, and he suggested something like this: http://www.vicfirth.com/product/buynow/product.php?button=DB22. But now my son said he was thinking more along the lines of headphones that work as both noise-buffers AND iPod earphones -- that is, he'd plug them into his iPod and get the music through them but they'd also block out some of the drumming. Any ideas? I'm not willing to break the bank on this item, but I obviously want decent quality. THANKS
posted by wisekaren to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Something like this?
posted by ghharr at 9:17 AM on February 9, 2011

One possibility would be to use a regular stereo (no headphones) and hi fidelity earplugs.

But it's probably better to use a noise isolating headphone like ghharr suggested. I don't have a specific recommendation (just linked to the first one I found from a big name), but I'm sure someone will be along shortly with a suggestion. Totally doable for less than $50.
posted by jsturgill at 9:26 AM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, "isolation" or "isolating" is the term you need to look for. It just means that the headphones are designed to seal around the ear or into the ear canal. There are over-the-ear types like the ones ghharr just linked. There are also in-ear monitors / earbuds that are designed to isolate the user from outside sounds. There are a lot of choices out there. Be sure to choose one with a plug that's appropriate to whatever device he intends to plug them into.
posted by jon1270 at 9:26 AM on February 9, 2011

The Cheap Solution - Isolation headphones like the ones linked by ghharr (the ones that play music in addition to blocking out the external noise), plus foam earplugs. Yes, that seems weird. But it apparently protects the ears more. See my explanation below after option 2.

Even cheaper solution: Industrial noise protection ear muffs + a cheap pair of earbuds. The industrial ear muffs will block out external sound better than isolation headphones, and earbuds give you good sound quality without having to spend a whole lot of money.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:09 AM on February 9, 2011

If I may add, he probably wants to rock out all the time, but there is value in practicing quietly as well. If he only ever practices loudly he won't have any dynamic range in his playing. Also, he can always practice the louder hits on a practice pad or two (often they'll fit on drum casings).
posted by fantasticninety at 10:22 AM on February 9, 2011

If I may strike a discordant note... (pun intended) I've been a drummer for over 40 years, and I learned how to play whilst banging away with a stereo blasting as loudly as possible next to me. Then I worked in bands for many years, all with no ear protection at all. My hearing is quite good. Never had any problems with it... I enjoyed rehearsing with headphones on, but yeah -- you lose some dynamic sensitivity that way, as fantasticninety suggests. As with any instrument, you need to be able to hear yourself properly in order to adjust your dynamics. That said, the real point is, he most likely won't be playing in bands while wearing earplugs, and I can guarantee you that the band experience is one whole hell of a lot louder than the rehearsing experience.

And yeah, I rehearsed a lot; at least an hour a day, and two hours most days. This went on for years.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:36 AM on February 9, 2011

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