I've been drumming for a few years in my spare time for fun, and I've recently got issues with my ears.(I'm not playing live)

Although I've always been drumming with some sort of protection, I feel like I've never got it to work properly. I usually can get the drums volume lowered, but the cymbals still seem to go through.

Here's the main things I tried:

  • Vicfirth headphones(one side stopped working, and it always seemed like I couldn't ear much of the audio(drums were too loud)
  • In-ear headphones with the broken vic firth headphones on top(so I could avoid maxing the volume), pretty much the same issues as the setup above.
  • Using ear plugs and putting headphones on top of them. They aren't custom-molded ear plugs so I always feel like there's one that isolates less than the other.

I'm wondering if custom molded IEMs could be worth it? Or is there anything else I should look into ?

  • I guess you play acoustic drums, so hear those direct, but how do you hear the rest of what you play to? Only with cans?
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 8:52
  • Depending on your answer to Tim's question, there are also a variety of muting products that lay on the drum heads and cymbals to reduce their volume. If you're playing with others, then they can turn down their amplification and reduce the volume of the group
    – Alex Y
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 19:27
  • I'd suggest that not using broken headphones would be an excellent start :-) And joking aside, in my view IEMs are worth it, however it totally depends on your view of cost vs benefits
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 21:10
  • 1
    @Tim I usually just put headphones with the music I'm playing to(from a phone/computer) and hearing the acoustic drums through headphones & earplugs.
    – Hx0
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 21:42

1 Answer 1


Custom moulded IEMs provide ~30 dB of attenuation, so a bit more than the Vicfirth. The problem with non-custom IEMs is that they sit right on the end of the ear canal, so (depending on the geometry of your ears) they easily slip out and/or don't seal completely.
After years of fiddling with standard IEMs, I went to custom moulded IEMs and I never want to go back.

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