Please recommend hearing protection

My father is a professional musician. He plays sax.
He has been complaining to me that when he is working, he is frequently seated in close proximity to the drum kit and is beginning to notice some hearing lose on one ear.

He is asking me for an advise on hearing protection.

He has tried ear plugs, muffs and even Bose noise reducing headphones, but nothing really works the way he wants.

What he needs the hearing protection to achieve is the reduction of surrounding noise to an acceptable low level, without distorting/altering the sound of his sax. He still needs to hear himself and his concern with all the hearing protection he tried before is that instruments sound artificial and he can't really judge the sound he himself produces. He's a perfectionist when it comes to the sound of his saxaphones, so he's pretty frustrated at this point.

I suggested some sort of electronic hearing protection.

Would anyone know what is a good brand and model of an electronic(or regular) hearing protection device('phones, plugs) that can drop DBs and allow for accurate timbre of surrounding instruments?

Would an electronic hearing protection used for shooting work?

I would appreciate recommendations.
Thanks in advance!
Has he tried the Etymotic Musicians Earlupgs?
Hello Audphile1,

Mead Killion at Eytomic Research has various solutions that are a possible good fit for your fathers situation. He has several noise attenuating devices that will most likely address the problem that your father is asking you to research. The Eytomic devices that would appropriately address his problem will be passive solutions not electronic. Mead is a great guy and also a musician, feel free to call his company (888-389-6684) to find the appropriate referral in your area for his products. I am a fan and a user of his solutions. Good luck.
In some orchestras, glass panels are placed between musicians for this problem.
Thanks a lot for the suggestions. I will give Etymotic a call today. I was thinking may be a shooting earphones will do, but they will most likely alter the sound a lot.
We'll see what Etymotic Research says.
Another solution would be HEAROS which also do a broadband attenuation.
You could also checkout this site
I would echo the recommendation of custom molded ear plugs, and the Eymotic solution looks even better. I ride a motorcycle daily, and the wind noise through the helmet at speed is quite loud (anyone who rides would know this). The best solution by far is my custom molded (solid) earplugs. The only drawback is that they really don't let much in so you can't have a normal conversation once you stop without taking out the plugs. Soft or molded plugs let in more but that's a two-edged sword. I've used electronic shooting headphone-type ear protection when shooting, and they work great for that, but they are really tuned to eliminate very sharp and abrupt sounds, and not ongoing loud noise. Hopefully the Etymotic solution can combine the best of those two worlds.
Thanks Rushton. I'll find out if he ever tried these. He said he tried several different ear plugs but they alltered the sound too much. If he didn't try these yet, this may be a good starting point on the cheap.
I use the ones.
Jtwrace, which ones? Thanks
I use shooting headphones when shooting 8^). They have adjustable mikes on each side for normal sounds but block out sharp sounds such as gun fire. They work great for this purpose but I seriously doubt that their sound quality would be good enough for music.

10-02-08: Rja
I use shooting headphones when shooting 8^).

me too. I never tried listening to music with them on :)

Etymotic look promising but they're custom made. So i guess there is no way to try them before ordering. I'll give them a call though to see what they have to say.
I am a professional orchestral musician, and I can tell you that it has been proven that orchestral musicians will lose at least 20% of their hearing over the course of their careers on average. It is a very unfortunate side effect of the job, and it is therefore no surprise that your father is experiencing it, Audphile1. They do indeed sometimes use clear panels (plastic, not glass, though) in between musicians, but most of us actually do not like this much as it hampers visibility. I should wear ear plugs more than I do, and my orchestra provides us with the cheap foam ones - there is always a big box of them on hand. Of course, you can't hear yourself or your colleagues nearly as well when wearing them, which is why many of us don't much, despite the certainty of eventual hearing loss. I myself usually only use them for pops concerts when they amplify everything to ridiculous levels anyway. I really should go and investigate the more expensive types mentioned above - the orchestra has a deal with a local Jones outfit, I've just never taken advantage of it. I would add, though, that if anyone thinks ear plugs are necessary for home listening, that very probably they simply have their volume cranked way too loud.
I second the "hearos". Inexpensive and work well. It is very important that he install them properly if he chooses to give them a try. Good luck, Jeff
Thanks! We'll give hearos a try first.
Working around Jet Engines most of my life, I find that custom fit earplugs work the best. Some of my co-workers use these plus the muffs.
Musicians ear plugs are the best- available with 9,15 or 25db of attenuation they have a small metal chamber down the middle to allow HF and therefore have a much flatter response. Typical earplugs block the ear canal and kill the highs. They are custom made and you need to get an earmold made of your ears to send to them. Earmold design and lots of other places make them. Wholesale was about $40 so don't pay over $100.

I think we'll try the cheaper solutions first. For the price this would be an easy try.
Now that this thread is about done,I'd like to mention in a pinch,you can take the filters off a cigarette,strip off the paper and stuff the padding in your ear.Good luck,Bob