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Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Waterloo military band gets compulsory earplugs
Specially earplugs are specifically moulded to each individual

Musicians from an Abingdon-based military band are being ordered to wear earplugs while they're performing.

The changes are being brought in so that TA soldiers from the Waterloo Band of Rifles conform to health and safety laws.

Their instruments can reach volumes in excess of 100dB - the equivalent of a pneumatic drill at close range - and could damage hearing over time.

But some bandsmen are concerned it could impair their performance.

Lance Corporal Smith plays the trombone in the band, he said: "Over all I think it's a good idea because I think I was suffering the effects of the sound but playing with it, it's going to be interesting to see what it's like."

MOD's ruling

Euphonium player, Maria Paul, said: "I haven't heard anything good about them."

But having already suffered some hearing loss she is willing to give them a try.

"If it stops that from getting any worse then that's going to be a good thing."

The earplugs cost around £200 a pair.

Silicon wax is inserted into the soldiers' ears to create a mould; personalised earplugs are then made from that mould.

The MOD's ruling that all military bandsmen should "plug up" is being back by the Royal National Institute for the Deaf.

Emma Harrison of the RNID said: "We know from research how important it is to protect your hearing from loud noise.

"Many musicians who don't use earplugs are putting their hearing at risk because they are playing very loud music for long periods of time."




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