(Chicago, IL - July 10, 2020) With over 30 years experience, Chicago-based DJ Heather prides herself on precise mixing even in loud environments. She’s also smart and experienced enough to address the risks inherent in her profession. That's what brought her to Sensaphonics.
“I’m fortunate to have been playing this long and never had any major hearing issues, and never felt like I was blowing my ears out,” she says. “But I found that I was turning my headphones up to get more ‘in the mix,’ corny as that sounds. Then I noticed I was also turning up the monitor volume. So, just thinking about all my years of exposure, for my last birthday, I decided to stop putting it off and get my hearing checked.”
DJ Heather booked an appointment at the Sensaphonics Musicians Hearing Clinic with Dr. Laura Sinnott, who consulted with Heather. They discussed her work habits and lifestyle, as well doing a full-range hearing test. Instead of just an audiogram and some advice, Heather came away with a lot of knowledge.
“I found the overall experience to be just awesome,” she says. “Laura made me feel really comfortable and positive, explaining everything, even relating specific results of my hearing test to the way I DJ, like the side I monitor with showing signs of more exposure. But overall, my hearing is in pretty great shape – which was so great to hear! Actually, I was surprised there wasn’t more damage, just because of all the years of exposure, both from work and just going to shows.”
However, Dr. Sinnott didn’t stop there, offering Heather some techniques for preventing further loss by limiting daily exposure to loud sounds, especially when performing long sets. By using Musicians Earplugs with their flat response, Heather found she could reduce her exposure without sacrificing sound quality. She also decided to try replacing her headphones with isolating in-ear monitors.
She opted for Sensaphonics DJ Mix Pack, which includes both your choice of custom-fit earphones and a pair of Musicians Earplugs, making it easy to mix and match.
Typically, Heather uses one earphone and one earplug during performances, with a 2MAX IEM in her right ear for cueing up music, and a Musicians Earplug with 15 dB filter on the left to hear the room PA. She also keeps 9 dB and 25 dB filters on hand. DJ Mix Pack gives DJ Heather the flexibility to adapt to any situation, from clubs to festivals, in Chicago and touring internationally, without sacrificing her mix.
“I’m from the school where I have to hear the room and its reaction, so the change was a little daunting at first,” says Heather. “I just adjusted a few minor things in the way I work – mostly just learning to use the isolation to my advantage. The 2MAX lets me hear the song I’m cueing up clearly, but at a safer volume, and I have the filtered plug on the other side, which gives me a full, natural room sound. The Mix Pack gives me the flexibility to put on a great show, get into my mix, but still give my ears a break so I’m not blasting them the whole set.”
With all her normal gigs shut down during the pandemic, DJ Heather has been using the time to catch up on long-term projects like upgrading her home studio, soundproofing her vocal booth, and making her home space camera-ready in preparation for doing more streaming events. She also used the time to do her annual hearing test at Sensaphonics.
As a result of all this, DJ Heather has become a bit of a hearing health evangelist. “Sensaphonics has made a huge difference for me, and I know they can help a lot of other DJs," she says. "That’s why I’m telling people who’ve just started, in addition to friends who are OG in the DJ game, to consider at least getting earplugs. Custom plugs will change your life, and I’m just trying to pass this gospel along."