For those who are friends on FaceBook, you may have seen this funny little photo up recently. I got a lot of “what the heck is that??” questions on it, as you might imagine!
Of course what it is, is an ear mold. It’s pretty funky; the audiologist mixed up a pink paste and a white paste with a putty knife, shoved the resulting mixture into a syringe, and then after carefully placing a foam tip attached to a long string deep inside my ear canal, injected the goop into my head. It took a few minutes to dry, then she coaxed the hardened mold out of my noggin’ and shipped it off to Etymotic Research.
Etymotic makes very high end audio monitors for professional musicians, as well as very high quality headphones for iPods and iPhones. I have a pair of their hf2’s for my iPhone and love ‘em to death. I beta tested a series of mushroom-shaped, no-squeeze-to-insert foam tips for Ety last year and have been extremely pleased with them, and at that point stopped carrying my Bose QC2’s. Anyway, for my next round of shooting gigs, I decided it was time for custom ear protection. Again Etymotic to the rescue. They make something called Musicians Earplugs, which don’t just protect your ears by muffling the sound, but quite literally lower the volume on all frequencies at the same level, effectively “turning down the volume”. This means I’ll be able to stand nearer the massive speakers at concerts and shoot without concern—and be exposed to the loud music night after night without worrying about my hearing. Anyway since the earplugs were being made, I also got custom tips for the hf2’s, and now my music sounds better than ever before. The package of tips just arrived yesterday; here you go:
Safety first! Mother will be so proud ;-)