Published on December 2nd, 2016 | by Jerry Doby


Get ready for 2017s musical ride with Etymotic ear plugs for your hearing health

Holiday season is on us and to be oh so cliché…give the gift that keeps on giving, hearing protection! From nightclubs to arenas and festivals, the Spring Awakening is going to include an amazing array of music events with almost endless choices in sound. Right after the GRAMMYs end the alerts start going out and music lovers start making plans. One of the essential pieces of gear for even casual concert/festival attendees is hearing protection. If you are a media person with a pit pass, this is an even more true statement.

This year as part of our editorial schedule The Hype Magazine team, myself included, have pretty much lived in a media pit at one festival or another like SXSW, OneMusic Fest, Vans Warped Tour, etc., etc. Trust me it’s survival of the best-fitted hearing protection. Personally, I’ve used “advanced” hearing protection most of my life as a Soldier…yup the best foam and rubber our tax dollars can buy. One of the most commonly issued of course is the squishy foam things that don’t hold up well to repeated use and the combination “combat” earplug with dual sides for different levels of gunfire exposure. Somehow I STILL ended up with tinnitus…go figure.

Standard issue military issue "combat" earplug

Standard military issue “combat” earplug


Over the summer and fall of 2016 I got a chance to use two of the Etymotic products, ER20•XS®earplugs and Music•PRO® electronic earplugs. Both of which were very effective at keeping my eardrums comfortable and safe while breaking my neck (and getting photos in the pit) to Ice Cube and WC at OneMusic Fest, to the stadium grounds of Vans Warped…Hip Hop, Rock, and EDM are the perfect tests for hearing protection gear especially from the front lines.

Remember I mentioned I have tinnitus from my military service, well, I’m happy to say that according to my latest government-sponsored hearing test, my experiments with the Etymotic gear have cost me no additional hearing loss! I’ve retained 100% of what hearing I had left, according to government sources and this pleases me to no end as music is my life and passion.

If you are planning ahead for the upcoming festival/concert season, the samples provided to me by the folks at Etymotic, held up to lots of travel, came with convenient storage and cleaning accessories as well as a plethora of options for just about any occasion. BIG SHOUTOUT on the spare parts and filters for the ER20 XS and included batteries for the Music Pro.

Here’s the official word on the new products from the folks at Etymotic:

Celebrity DJs and most local spinners playing electronic dance music, or “EDM,” know that ear-splitting volume is an occupational hazard, and they protect their ears accordingly. If fans leave the house without their plugs, it’s the rare festival or club that offers the purchase of good earplugs.

That appears to be changing, as concertgoers are increasingly seen sporting a variety of hearing health solutions. A 2015 World Health Organization study declared over a billion young people are at risk of noise-induced hearing loss, and some appear to be listening.

Depending on where you sit, any genre of music can reach unsafe volume levels:

  • A 100-decibel (dB) performance is safe for only 15 minutes without hearing protection
  • At 110 dB, hearing damage begins in as little as two minutes
  • At 120 dB and above, there is immediate risk of hearing damage
  • Daniel Johnson, a hearing conservationist, predicts that one loud concert can speed up hearing loss by more than 2 ½ years
  • An outdoor venue does not guarantee the sound will disperse down to a safe listening level

Etymotic Research, established makers of high-fidelity hearing protection and personal audio products, is at the forefront of this wave of new hearing health solutions. 

Their ETY•Plugs® and ER20•XS® earplugs are the world’s highest fidelity non-custom earplugs. They reduce most noise to safe levels while preserving the clarity of speech and the richness of music. Both products are configured to replicate the natural response of the ear canal so that when sound enters the earplug, it is reproduced unchanged, exactly the same as the ear would hear it, only quieter. The newer ER20•XS earplugs have a discreet, stem-less design, which allows them to be worn with hats, headphones and other headgear.


Professional musicians, serious concertgoers, and others who want a more long-term solution invest in custom Musicians Earplugs™ or in Music•PRO® electronic earplugs, which automatically adjust output levels as sound input levels change.


The Etymotic line of hearing protection is increasingly showing up wherever DJs are rocking the rafters, or outdoors keeping the wildlife far, far away. From behind turntables to the spaces in front of speaker arrays, Etymotic is helping EDM DJs and their fans turn thumps down, so they can wake the next morning fresh and ultimately dance another day.

About Etymotic

Etymotic is a research, development and manufacturing company that designs high-fidelity personal audio products and hearing wellness solutions to assess enhance and protect hearing. For over 30 years, innovation and education have been central to Etymotic’s mission. Etymotic is one of the most respected leaders in high-fidelity audio and hearing conservation. For more information about Etymotic, its hearing wellness mission and its products, please visit www.etymotic.com.

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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.

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