My wife is a fairly accomplished flautist who has recently taken up the piccolo. Already practicing the flute is probably affecting her hearing, and the piccolo promises to be an order of magnitude worse.
She's tried earplugs, but she can't adequately hear the tone of the instrument when using those, so it occurred to me to try a microphone, small amplifier, and noise-cancelling earphones to allow her to hear the full tone of the instrument while protecting her hearing from the intense volume.
The problem is, I cannot find a suitable small (preferably battery-powered) amplifier. Standard mike preamps are both horribly expensive and quite bulky (and most seem to be tube type that wouldn't do too well on battery power), but otherwise about all I can find are "guitar headphone practice amps" and phono preamps.
Close as I can tell, the typical guitar practice amp is designed for an input level about 10x the typical mike input level, while a phono preamp (while it would appear to be sensitive enough) has RIAA compensation which I wouldn't want. Is there an obvious alternative to either of these, or is there a reason I've overlooked that either would work fairly well (with good tone quality, low distortion, and reasonably low noise)?
I was an electrical engineer in a former life and have considered building something, but I'd prefer to buy something in a nice package.
(It does seem odd that no one has designed a custom box for this use, perhaps with the mike built in.)
Update 2/27 Last night I jury-rigged a test setup (with a crummy, noisy amp) for my wife to try and she indicated that she liked it. Today I bought the rest of the parts I need to build something. We'll see if I ever get around to doing it.