Hearing protection
#1

I coincidentally had a hearing test done a couple of years ago, right about the time I started refereeing. Just had it re-done before this season and found substantial hearing loss. Doctor asked what in the world I had been doing, like going to concerts or working with loud machinery or something. I didn't put 2 and 2 together for quite some time but the only new loud thing I have added to my life is the ref whistle.

For some reason this is not a big topic around our local group, but i wish it would be, especially for the new folks. Earplugs should be a standard part of our kit just like the penalty cards, line flags, and whistles. 

Flents Quiet Please brand is what one of our guys use, with the plugs cut in half. He gave me a pair and they worked pretty well. My wife got me some eargasms, they are a bit nicer by lowering the overall sound rather than mostly cutting out the highs like the Flents. Makes it a little harder to hear conversation as R2 but not too much. Makes the whistle sound like it is coming from across the gym rather than right in front of your face. Also helps a great deal with the loud music they like to play and the scoreboard horns.
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#2

I've never been a fan of anything that has to stay in my ear. Over the last year, I have been able to tolerate ear buds, but only if the weight is outside the ear (wrap around the ear). I don't know how I'd do with ones that have to stay inside the whole time.

I do agree that it should be discussed more often. If you read information on Fox40's website, they gloss around the subject by saying that it should only be a concern when the noise is constant, which you don't necessarily get with a whistle. I don't know that I completely agree.
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#3

(09-04-2019, 01:06 PM)yawetag Wrote:  I've never been a fan of anything that has to stay in my ear.

Me neither, until I tried the eargasms.  They were sufficiently comfortable from the outset that I was abel to tolerate them until I got completely used to them.

Seems to muffle the whistle, but I can still have a conversation with them in.
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#4

I've never used hearing protection myself. But I have gotten into my car after a tournament and realized my ears were ringing from the constant whistles. I think I'd be afraid to hear a "time-out" or "sub" call if I wore plugs.
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#5

(09-04-2019, 02:49 PM)kylehutson Wrote:  I've never used hearing protection myself. But I have gotten into my car after a tournament and realized my ears were ringing from the constant whistles. I think I'd be afraid to hear a "time-out" or "sub" call if I wore plugs.

Scanning the floor before the whistle for serve will help here. If you're working alone, that scan allows you to make sure your line judges are ready, you have 6 on each side, and that bench people are where they should be. If they're trying a last-ditch effort at a time-out or sub after you've made that scan, then that's on them. Obviously working with a partner allows for more flexibility on the timing for that, but a scan still helps.
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#6

(09-04-2019, 04:05 PM)yawetag Wrote:  
(09-04-2019, 02:49 PM)kylehutson Wrote:  I've never used hearing protection myself. But I have gotten into my car after a tournament and realized my ears were ringing from the constant whistles. I think I'd be afraid to hear a "time-out" or "sub" call if I wore plugs.

Scanning the floor before the whistle for serve will help here. If you're working alone, that scan allows you to make sure your line judges are ready,

What's a line judge? Wink  (we don't use them here, for the most part).

Plus -- 99% of the time, you know when there's going to be a TO, and after the first time through the serving order, you know when to expect a sub.
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#7

We have line judges that are typically the other level's team members (JV does it for Varsity and vice versa). It can also be anyone else willing to do it for the team.

As for time-outs and subs, that's something I'm beginning to get an understanding of. In baseball, I can almost tell you without fail when a coach is about to come out for a meeting with his pitcher; I'm sure I'll learn those signs in volleyball as well.
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#8

@noumpere, what type eargasms do you use? Looking at their site, they have a few models to choose from.
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#9

(09-05-2019, 06:59 PM)yawetag Wrote:  @noumpere, what type eargasms do you use? Looking at their site, they have a few models to choose from.

The ones on the far left of the home page "Hi fidelity" (not slide; not transparent; not smaller ears) for $34.88
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#10

Interesting to jump on tonight and see this topic. Did my second match of the season last night (I try to hold off VB as much as possible until SB and BB are done) and left with a horrendous headache due to the gym noise. It reminded me that I run into that frequently, especially in the gyms that insist on overcranking music so bad that you can’t tell what it is.

I got to thinking about ear plugs and wondering if anybody uses them. I have never noticed anybody around here wearing them, so this is a good read! The whistle doesn’t bother me too much, it’s all the other noise. (Ashamed to admit this, but I can get manic/have a mild panic attack at times with multiple noise sources going at once. Never had it happen at a VB match, but I have felt the onset in the car on the way home.)

9 matches tomorrow in a dual-gym for a freshman tournament ... no time to seek out your suggestions, but I may try borrowing a pair of my wife’s earplugs. Although there will be less of a crowd and no music, so that will help.
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#11

We did a dual court varsity tournament this weekend so even though it was not the loud music of a typical season match, it was twice the whistles, twice the cheering players, twice the yelling coaches. I went back and forth with my eargasms while working R2. For regular stuff like subs and time outs they worked fine to leave them in because I was already expecting what they were going to say. Where it did not work at all is when they have something unusual to say. In that case have to rip one out and ask them to repeat. Overall ended up not using them much because of that. If I was R1, and therefore communicating much more with hand signals than talking, would have definitely had them in all day.
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#12

I agree that they are more useful for R1 -- more whistles; fewer words.

I do, however, find that I can hear 99% of what a coach / player / scorekeeper wants to say even with them in as R2.
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#13

My wife would tell you I don’t hear 99% of anything ...  Dodgy
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#14

(09-16-2019, 07:38 PM)The Man in Blue Wrote:  My wife would tell you I don’t hear 99% of anything ...  Dodgy

That marks our first SWMBO joke of the forums! Though, "S" here should be "Spouse".
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#15

After seeing this discussion last week, I bought some of these from Amazon and they arrived Monday. I wore them yesterday for my JV matches.

I had 3 matches, where was R2, then R1, then R2 (not sure if it's common to switch between each match, but that's what we all do around here). Varsity was playing on the adjacent court (also common, but not universal, here).

As R2 for the first match, I wore the earplugs. I heard subs fine. I had a hard time telling how loud I was being in return. Communication with the table was bad.

Next match R1, with the other court's R1 just a couple of feet behind me. LOVED having them on.

For the 3rd match, as R2, I left them out. I think I have a winning combination here: wear them as R1, but not as R2.
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#16

That's how I started out, and how I've seen others wear them. But, after wearing them as R2 during a couple of tournaments (multiple courts in the same gym with 80+ screaming teenage girls), I've started to wear them even as R2. Haven't had any real issues, but sometimes I need to look twice to be sure a coach is asking for a TO.
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#17

Next year I hope to get something out to the coaches pre-season to let them know that many of us are trying to save our hearing and wearing earplugs, so speak up, and don't take it personally if we don't hear your super secret last second time out request. That's especially true when you have been cheering on your team by saying "side out!" over and over for the last several minutes. Holy moly "side out" and "time out" sure sound a lot alike!
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#18

Last year I had an issue with one of my ears being completely clogged and I could barely hear out of it.  Through the duration, I let the coach on that side know “I am having some hearing issues in that side, don’t hesitate to tap me if I am not seeing you or hearing you.”  They seemed to appreciate knowing that up front.

Just give them bean bags already.   Tongue
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