Ear protection for concerts

I am going to see the Cowboy Junkies in a few weeks – can’t wait. Every time I see a concert my ears ring for days (and I’m sure I’m losing some hearing as well). I typically bring those cheap foam earplugs and tissue as a fall back. The earplugs sound terrible and I usually do not use them unless the volume is at “11”. I sometimes end up with tissue in my ears trying to tame the volume levels, the bad mix, and keep it listenable. Does anyone have any suggestions on audiophile or musicians earplugs at a reasonable price (nothing custom)?
I use the cheap plugs, lightly inserted.

IMO, one's hearing is too valuable not to invest in custom protection. Check out Westone plugs...they are affordable and well worth it. I own a pair due to hearing loss in my left ear and love them. BTW, they attenuate evenly and are comfortable. Way better than foam, etc.
I seriously doubt that Cowboy Junkies are looking for "11". You should be okay without any protection. To answer your question, there are no cheap good solutions. The only real step up is $200 custom plugs through an audiologist. As a drummer I tried them for a time and took them to a few shows as an audience member based on the representation that they attenuate all frequencies the same. I found that they were better than foam in that respect, but still rolled off the high end unacceptably. I have pretty much stopped using them.
The foam types are terrible for this purpose. The cheap solution is "musician" type earplugs, which theoretically decrease the total volume while preserving the relative balance of the sound spectrum. I keep pair in my car at all times. I got some at Musician's Friend on the web; I think Guitar Center may carry them in stores. Yes, they attenuate the highs, they do flatten the sound of cymbals a bit too much, but it is better than going deaf.
I can't imagine having to worry too much about the Cowboy Junkies either, but I usually just bring some TP to shows just in case. Your covered on both ends that way if the restroom is out! Is there a market for Audiophile TP I would think the expensive stuff would sound better than the the cheap ****!
Hmmm, might start considering cheap DAC's and "rolling" earplugs...
Hi, I just got back from an ENT. Complaining of ringing in my ears. Guess what? Tinnitus, and some mild hearing loss. 4-6 K minus 2dB. They recommended a company that custom fits earpieces for musicians that are designed to lower dB level without filtering out frequencies. I will try to remember to get the name of the company and pass it along.
Ringing in the ears is a symptom of hearing damage. After playing in a rock band for 10 years, I have had some hearing loss, and I am now assiduous in protecting my remaining hearing. I have the Westone plugs, the ones that are custom-fitted and attenuate sound uniformly across the frequency spectrum, so that music still sounds good. I wear them at every concert and most movies. I also wear them when I mow the lawn and on airplanes. I spent a couple hundred bucks, including the custom-fitting. And, I bought a pair of inserts that block even more sound, for REALLY loud aps...Spend the money; you'll thank yourself and enjoy music the rest of your life. By the way, I've read that the cheap foam plugs (and tissue paper) do not block sound that damages your hearing, even if the sound seems softer. And, as you said, the sound sucks through cheap plugs.
My son uses the Etymotic ER 20 for concerts.
Yep; Etymotic ER 20's are what I use, lightly inserted. Work very well!
Ear Plugs for concerts??? The Cowboy Junkies no less. Not The Who mind you,but man, those Cowboy Junkies really blast it! What's going on here? One of my favorite things to enjoy in life is live music. Pure clean in the air music. The thought of blocking any of the sounds and sensations from reaching my brain at a concert does not make any sense to me. It's like wearing sunglasses to the best Art Museums the world has to offer. Take out the plugs, especially Springnr's son, and enjoy every tasty morsel the musicians have to offer.
Any audiologist that fits hearing aids can make you a noise protecting ear plug. (like the rock stars use) Some plugs will attenuate only the high frequency sounds while others the entire frequency range. 4000hz is the most important area to protect. I googled one company that changes $125.00 for a pair. Reduces Levels throughoutthe entire spectrum by 15-25db. You can cheek it out at: http://www.earplugco.com/musician.htm
Good Luck
Richard (ENT MD)
Ear plugs for concerts is wise. I recently saw Rush. They were really loud and I use Etyomic ear restrictors. Worked great. I could hear full frequency but it reduced the SPL to a safe level. I also went to the Cowboy Junkies and had front row seats, so I was concerned about the sound levels and took ear plugs--I did not need them. It was a small venue but was at a proper level.
my wife and i once took her mother to see anne murray, and for weeks she complained about ringing. you'd have thought we took her to see blue cheer.
Dreadhead, my youngin is full growed, an charting his own course. He bought the Etymomic plugs after seeing the Black Keys at a small venue, with a big venue sound system. I think he sent me the link to Etymotic in a futile effort to keep me from wearing these to a concert. ;)

Live music today does seem louder than I remember from back in the day... or maybe I can buy better tickets now.
I've seen the Cowboy Junkies a couple of times. Not likely they'll require the protection you are anticipating needing. I know what you fear though. I once saw Beck, who's music I enjoy. That concert was amplified so loud I could barely understand a word of what he sang (solo), and had to leave midway through the concert as it was so disturbing to my ears. I don't think earplugs would have helped and if I had to wear them I don't think I would have wanted to go in the first place. That's like playing your stereo at ear bleed levels while wearing ear plugs to protect your ears - why bother? That said, I wear audiologist made earplugs for riding motorcycles. Very effective. I would not ride without them. Those are for maximum sound reduction, but they can be designed for varying levels of reduction and they form fit inside your own canals. Short of that I'd go the Etymotic route that has already been mentioned more than once.
I suppose if one doesn't plan on sticking around this rock for long ear conditioning devices aren't much of a consideration.... or the music enthusiast standing against hearing protection are dangerously shortsighted.

Oddly enough, aside from "The Who", Fleetwood Mac gained a rep for 'solid walls of sound' and enormous SPL's back in the '70s... I can atest to the fact that it wasn't unwarranted either.

Sit well back from those transducers, attend only acoustic venues, or take heed for these thoughts on SPL reducign ear conditioners are most vlid. (sorry, it just sounds better than 'ear plugs')

'Course, if you're planning on checking out soon, then by all means, turn it up... and like that little girl from Port Arthur Texas told us... "Get it while you can".
I've worn ear plugs on the job for more then 30 years. I had special ones that are molded to the shape of my inner ears and I've worn those yellow ones you roll and place into your ears. These are highly effective at work and are my only experience with plugs. If there is a different type of ear protection made for concerts that only reduces certain frequencies and you guys are comfortable with utilizing them then I say go for it. Who am I to judge what works for you and you hearing? Most important is that we enjoy ourselves.
The last three rock concerts I've attended were John Fogerty, Ray Davies, and Robert Cray / Bonnie Raitt. The last was in a moderate sized outdoor amphitheater. These are not exactly heavy metal acts but all three were so loud that the music was distorted to the point that you couldn't call it music, just noise.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I will investigate your suggestions. I does seem that the custom fit solution is the way to go (if not for the Cowboy Junkies, the next loud concert!).
i use the e 20 as well. Only problem is getting them to stay in...
i have the exact same thing the ER20's as i do DJ photography at festivals, i use the macks brand of those particular earplugs called hearplugs with my internet research they seem pretty popular: http://www.macksearplugs.com/products/hear-plugs-earplugs , i wash them with soap and water, or anti bacterial gel, cloth etc...
You won't need earplugs for the Junkies, but you may need something to keep you awake. ;-)

I go to about a dozen rock concerts a year. I find the best way to avoid hearing issues is to sit on the side and close to the stage. YOu don't get blasted and it is more enjoyable, for me anyway, to watch the performers. I'm 54 and have been doing this since I was 13. :-)

Tool has to be one of the loudest bands touring today. I found no need for earplugs. You certainly would never need a defibrillator while at a Tool concert.