As a DJ your most important pieces of equipment aren’t your mixer and your headphones, but rather your ears. Given how important our hearing is in everyday life and in DJing, it’s surprising how few DJs protect their hearing properly.
Occasional exposure to loud sounds is unlikely to cause much hearing damage, but regular exposure will. If you DJ for several hours a week, you should protect your ears with ear plugs.
When choosing ear plugs for DJing you have two main options: custom-made ear plugs and regular ear plugs. Custom-made ear plugs are much more expensive and will take longer to get hold of, but they will offer a better fit. Regular ear plugs are much cheaper and easier to buy.
Best Regular Ear Plugs for DJs
1. EarPeace HD High Fidelity Hearing Protection
These ear plugs are designed to protect your hearing without muffling sounds, letting you hear music with clarity. They come in packs of three, so you have a spare ear plug in case you lose one. They have two filters, one offering high protection and one offering medium protection.
The EarPeace HD ear plugs are available in three shades to match your skin tone, which means they’re quite discrete. They come with a small metal case in black, red or silver, which is useful for keeping them clean and safe.
These ear plugs are more expensive than plain foam ear plugs but much cheaper than custom-made ear plugs, so they offer a good middle ground if you want something designed with musicians and DJs in mind without spending hundreds of pounds.
Most people find these ear plugs comfy, and they don’t stick out much so you should be able to put your headphones over them easily.
2. LiveMus!c HearSafe Ear Plugs
The LiveMus!c HearSafe Ear Plugs are quite similar to the EarPeace HD ear plugs reviewed above. They’re designed to protect hearing without distorting or muffling the sound of music.
These ear plugs are sold in packs of two pairs, one with a higher level of protection than the other. The white pair has a Noise Reduction Ratio (NRR) of 29 dB while the green pair has an NRR of 23 dB.
Like the EarPeace HD ear plugs they come with an aluminium carrying case that you can attach to a keyring.
These ear plugs are relatively expensive compared to regular foam ear plugs but they don’t muffle the sound so they’re more suitable for DJing.
3. Senner MusicPro Hearing Protection Earplugs
These ear plugs are designed with musicians and DJs in mind, so they protect your hearing from loud sounds without dulling the sound too much. They’re made from a hypoallergenic material to avoid itching and come with an aluminium carrying case you can attach to a keyring.
One nice thing about these ear plugs is that they can be adjusted to adapt to smaller ear canals. They also have a transparent design which makes them very discrete.
Best Custom-Made Ear Plugs for DJs
ACS PRO17 Custom Ear Plugs
According to ACS, the PRO17 custom-made ear plugs offer “the most accurate response of any hearing protector in the world”. They cost over £100 at the time of writing, so they’re significantly more expensive than the other ear plugs reviewed above. They offer a flat 17 dB of protection across all frequency ranges, so they won’t distort or muffle music.
These ear plugs are made to fit the size and shape of your ear canal. To get a pair made you first pay online for a voucher which you then take to an audiologist who will take an impression of your ears.
Read more about these ear plugs on ACS’s website here.
Protecting Your Hearing as a DJ
Here are some tips for protecting your hearing as a DJ:
- Avoid the temptation to turn the volume up. As we get used to a certain volume it starts to sound less loud, so there’s a temptation to crank up the volume. Don’t second-guess the speaker system—if it sounded loud enough at the start of your set it will be loud enough at the end, it’s just that your ears have got used to the volume.
- Position your DJ booth behind the speakers. If you can set up the DJ booth yourself, position it behind the speakers in a quieter area of the room.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol temporarily impairs your hearing, so it’s best to limit the amount of alcohol you consume when DJing.
- Wear ear plugs before and after your set. Prolonged exposure to loud noises is what causes hearing loss, so you should protect your hearing before and after your set.
- Take breaks. Go outside to give your ears a complete break several times if possible. It’s also a good idea to take longer breaks from DJing every now and then.