Do you know the benefits of earplugs for piccolo players? Some advantages are obvious, but others are a bit less clear until you really think about them.
Before you decide you’re safe to play piccolo without them, consider how earplugs can help. Then, you can choose a good pair that meets your needs.
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1. Protect Your Hearing
The most obvious benefit of earplugs has to be that they can protect your hearing. When you play the piccolo, you can damage your hearing if you aren’t careful.
Even wearing one earplug in your right ear could help significantly. That way, you won’t have to worry about losing your hearing and not getting it back.
You need to protect your hearing now so that you don’t lose it in the first place. While you can play music without perfect hearing, the better your hearing, the easier playing will be.
2. Still Hear a Bit
Plenty of earplugs for musicians don’t completely block the sound. Instead, the reduce the noise just enough to protect your ears while allowing you to hear what you need to hear.
You can still hear yourself play as well as any musicians around you. Also, you should be able to hear the conductor or other musicians talking during a rehearsal.
That’s nice because you don’t have to take the earplugs out whenever you’re not playing. You can keep them in and keep from losing the earplugs.
3. Play Out More
I know that when I’m playing piccolo without earplugs, I feel the need to hold back. That’s my body’s way of protecting my hearing since I don’t have something external to help.
However, when I put my earplugs in, I feel like I can play louder and project my sound better. There are times when you need to hold back, such as when the music features soft dynamics.
But there are also times when you need to play loud, such as when you have a solo. Having at least one earplug in your right ear can make playing out more comfortable.
4. Have More Fun
Being able to play out also leads to another benefit of earplugs. Playing the piccolo can be stressful, and a lot of flute players avoid the piccolo if they can.
I love the piccolo, but I imagine people don’t like it because of how scary or stressful it can be. If that’s your reasoning for not liking it, wear earplugs so that you can play out.
Then, you might find you get a better sound and have more fun playing the piccolo. You can really hear yourself, and you can sound good on the instrument.
5. Play for Longer
If you can play out and sound good, you’ll have more fun and won’t want to stop practicing as soon. I don’t believe you have to practice for hours a day to be good musician.
But if you want to get better at the piccolo, you will need to practice. Wearing earplugs will allow you to do that without getting annoyed as easily.
Plus, you can help minimize the chances of experiencing ringing in your ears. When I don’t wear earplugs, I get a bit of tinnitus and feel the need to take a break, but that doesn’t happen as often when I wear hearing protection.
Do You Have to Wear Earplugs While Playing Piccolo?
No one’s forcing you to wear earplugs while you play the piccolo. However, I’d seriously recommend you do so to protect your hearing and have fun while playing.
There may be some pieces where you don’t have to wear them, such as if the piece stays in the low register. But for most piccolo parts, having earplugs on hand will help.
What Are Some Good Earplugs to Wear?
I have and use the Etymotic ER20 earplugs, and they work very well at minimizing the sound. However, I’ve also heard good things about Eargasm earplugs as well as Earasers.
Be sure to try a few pairs to see which you like. But the best of the best is going to be a pair of custom earplugs that you get from an ear doctor.
How to Choose Earplugs for Playing Piccolo
Even if you already know the benefits of earplugs for piccolo players, you might wonder which earplugs are best. You can choose from a variety of options on the market.
Here are a few factors I recommend you consider to choose your next set of earplugs.
Start With Your Budget
Some earplugs cost around $20 or less for a pair. However, others can easily cost hundreds of dollars, especially when it comes to custom-fit earplugs.
To help choose the pair that’s right for you, consider your budget. If you’re a student, you can get away with more affordable earplugs, especially if you don’t play the piccolo very much.
On the other hand, if you play the flute and piccolo professionally, you may want to invest more. You can usually afford to pay for better earplugs once you’re out of school.
Consider Your Ears
Another thing to keep in mind is the size and shape of your ears, specifically the holes inside your ears. To get the full benefits of earplugs, you need a pair that fits you well.
Custom earplugs will usually fit the best because they’re based on your ears. However, ready-made options sometimes come in a few sizes.
You can’t measure your ears, but you can ask your doctor if your ears are smaller or larger than average. Another option is to compare your ears to pictures of the models on earplug product listings.
Look for Noise Reduction
When shopping for earplugs for piccolo playing, make sure they reduce noise without blocking it completely. There’s a time and place for earplugs that block all sounds, but playing music isn’t the right time.
The earplugs I mentioned earlier all reduce noise just enough to protect your hearing. However, you can still hear yourself playing as well as other musicians if you play in an ensemble.
That’s super important because you want to make sure you stay in tune. If you get off, you can adjust so that you don’t sound bad during a rehearsal or performance.
Think About Other Factors
I’d also recommend looking at the other factors or specs you’d get from a pair of earplugs. One of my favorite things about the Etymotic earplugs is that they have a string that keeps them together.
A lot of earplugs also come with some sort of case, including the Etymotic ones. Maybe you want earplugs that are a fun color, or you’d prefer clear ones that blend in.
Consider the design and other elements to decide which earplugs are right for you. Then, you’ll want to use them so that you can tak advantage of the benefits of earplugs for musicians.
Enjoy the Benefits of Earplugs
Whether you play the piccolo once a year or once a day, you need hearing protection. There are many benefits of earplugs that can help you enjoy playing and sound better in the process.
Be sure to try a few pairs of earplugs to find what works for you. If you don’t know where to start, head to the resources page for more information on piccolo gear!