Capturing concert drone footage but not going deaf

Hearing loss and tinnitus are really not very cool

One of my favorite assignments is to provide drone video footage for, is live concerts and music festivals. I’ve been very fortunate to have seen some great shows, while doing a job that I love. Recently I was at the BottleRock Festival in Napa getting the best drone footage for their social media, AKA drone footage Instagram and drone footage youtube. I am a musician so I learned about protecting my hearing the hard way years ago, but anyone who knows that hearing loss is a permanently progressive process should be careful with a sense that’s oft taken for granted. So needless to say, when I’m down in the pit, flying drones for concerts, I wear ear protection. I have always used the cheap foam ear plugs, but as I was going to see some of my favorite bands, Tom Petty and the Foo Fighters. I wanted to enjoy the music, not a muffled facsimile thereof.

With this in mind, I looked  around and found a new product on the market called EARacers. These are clear plugs, with an interchangeable filter so they cut the volume across the spectrum rather then muffle the sound.  Plus you have a 3 choices of how much attenuation you want: 5, 15 or 26. For BottleRock the 15db’s were perfect, but for something like the HARD Summer Music festival, I will probably kick up the protection to 26db on recommendation of the company rep Heather. And since they’re clear it doesn’t look like your mommy made you wear ear plugs. Because if you’re cool, you aren’t supposed to care about such details like going deaf or having permanent ringing in your ears.  Not that I care what anyone thinks, but given the choice I would choose something less conspicuous. I’ve had, and still have some slight tinnitus from my band days and there were nights I came home I was frightened that I might have to live like that. Something to note, if you hear ringing in your ears after a show, that’s irreparable damage. So take heed.

  • Affordable – $40 is nothing compared to the cost hearing aids, or being able to the hear!
  • Effective – They actually IMPROVE the sound because your ears aren’t getting bombarded
  • Discrete – You’ll hardly know they’re there, and neither will your friends who are too cool to care

I gotta tell you, I hardly knew I had these in and I wasn’t compelled to pull them out immediately when the bands quit as they’re that comfortable and I could still hear relatively well. Most importantly I was able to communicate to my camera operator who operates the drone camera A LOT easier! The foam ones, when worn correctly are supposed to be twisted and shoved down into your ear canal so they expand making a tight fit. This is quite uncomfortable to my ears. Because EARacers are conical shaped, they don’t apply that kind of pressure when sized correctly. I had some initial sizing issues and Heather who is part of the family run business was SUPER helpful!  I bought mediums since I’m 6’1″, and the dude at guitar center said “yeah man, medium” but found that your ear hole size isn’t proportionate to your body shape or size, and that small fit me just right. They truly offer a product that is head and shoulders above the rest (see what I did there?) and the price is right. If you enjoy live music, or value your hearing, or don’t like the idea of tinnitus (take my word, you don’t want to find out about this the hard way)  I couldn’t recommend these any more.

EARacers get the Dronewrx seal of approval and two props up. WAY UP!