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DJ Heather Upgrades Her Hearing Health with Sensaphonics

FOH Staff • News • July 20, 2020

DJ Heather has converted to Sensaphonics in-ears and Musicians Earplugs for both live and streaming performances.

CHICAGO – Sensaphonics noted that DJ Heather, also based in Chicago, took advantage of pandemic-related downtime to address the issue of hearing health, participating in the company’s Musicians Hearing Clinic and becoming an evangelist of sorts, promoting hearing health to others.

More details from Sensaphonics (www.sensaphonics.com):

DJ Heather’s 2MAX

With all her normal gigs shut down during the pandemic, Chicago-based DJ Heather has been using the time to catch up on long-term projects like upgrading her home studio in Chicago, soundproofing her vocal booth, and making her home space camera-ready in preparation for doing more streaming events.

Heather prides herself on precise mixing in even the loudest environments. She’s also smart and savvy enough to address the risks inherent in doing that for 30 years. She points out that pandemic-related downtime is perfect for addressing issues like hearing health. 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 in Chicago. Dr. Laura Sinnott consulted with Heather, discussing 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 [Dr. Sinnott] 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.”

But they didn’t stop there. Dr. Sinnott offered Heather some core techniques for preventing further loss by limiting daily exposure to loud sounds, especially when performing long sets. By using Musicians Earplugs with their custom fit and 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 custom-fit Sensaphonics earphones (choice of four models) and Musicians Earplugs (choice of -9, -15, or -25 dB filter strength), making it easy to mix and match in any situation. DJ Heather opted for the 2MAX in-ears and 15 dB plugs. Both feature the accurate sound signature she needs to work effectively.

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.Typically, Heather wears one earphone and one earplug while performing, using a 2MAX IEM in her right ear for cueing up music, and a Musicians Earplug on the left to hear the room PA. She also keeps 9 dB and 25 dB filters on hand, so she’s ready for the unexpected.

“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, 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. DJ Mix Pack gives me the ability 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.”

DJ Heather learned to embrace hearing wellness in the Sensaphonics Musicians Hearing Clinic. “It was really an awesome experience — first, learning that my hearing is actually still pretty good. Then, learning how to maintain it and still continue to do what I do. But the best part was coming back one year later, and nothing had changed. That just felt fantastic, because the numbers don’t lie.”

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.”

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