It is hard to overestimate the importance of ear protection in clubs.
I still believe in not wearing them for short periods to experience the sheer tumult of load music as a physical experience from time to time, especially on a well-tuned sound system with no distortion (the main culprit for ear damage), but as a DJ, I wear them for five out of every six minutes, removing them only to hear the transition from one record into the next as the club hears it. Otherwise I wear them at all times these days in all clubs.
I have used moulded earplugs from Musicians Hearing Services for five years now. The sound reduction is pretty even across all frequencies allowing for accurate sound mixing. It also actually improves your ability to hear conversations as extraneous non-voice frequencies and distortion are reduced. I make use of the different filters too. 9db – 15db reduction in small clubs. 25db reduction for big systems.
If I could make one improvement it would be a modification where you could open and close the filter without removing the plug itself. This would make life much easier and prevent loss of both the plug and filter on the dark floor of every nightclub!
I would also like to see clubs obliged to provide improved and user-specific ear protection for all employees; bar staff particularly, who take orders from people shouting into their ear as well as enduring the loud volumes of the music. Foam plugs are not enough.
We live in an age where live music is loud and constant. Ear damage is for life once it strikes.
When you are young you expect the ringing in your ears will go away in the morning, but without precautions one day you will wake up and it won’t.
Everything But The Girl