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Hey guys,

Looking for a few opinions.  Back in January I sustained a concussion while wearing my Mage (full kevlar made by Kustom Composites).  Loved the vision.  My doc isn't so much worried about the concussion as he is about the ringing in my ears.  I've twice, in 12 months, had a loud ring that lasted 24hrs before finally going away.  He believes my hearing is damaged because of it.  After the first time, I saw my ENT and he said not related.  That my hearing loss is due to hereditary.  I have 2 more Specialist appointments yet.  Hopefully they give me the green light to return.  So I started reading about ear ringing and doing some searches.  Talked with Shawn at Kustom Composites.  From what I've determined, alot of the ringing is caused by the mask moving when hit with the puck.  I'll be the first to admit that I never wore my old mask properly.  When hit with a puck it could almost bounce my mask up and off my head.  So this didn't disperse the impact properly.  My Mage sits looser than a regular mask and when I was hit in the forehead, it moved up.  During my searches, I found a bunch of posts from the GSBB that guys said wearing their combo they never got a ring but in their mask they do.  I was thinking that this might be because the helmet doesn't have a harness that flexes so the helmet fits tight on the head.  No give that way.  Shawn tells me he could build an inner shell on both mask and helmet which will help disperse impact.  I like the vision on the Mage but need to make a change.  I'm tempted to look at a SK2000 clone with something like an Itech RBE G cage (I know, cage wire thin) where my chin sits tightly in the chin cup since I really like the vision of a combo.  Guess the question is, am I better off getting a custom padded mask (narrowed down to Kustom Composites or Protechsport) or an SK2000 clone combo?  I will be using earplugs as well.  Thanks in advance for the opinions.

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 I am a Kustom SK2000 clone bloke! I love the vision, the back of the head protection, everything about it.

Get a modern cage. You can get a modern, beefed up version of the HM 50 or one of many others that allows you a chin cup.

My ears don't ring in my Kustom. I get pinged in the head a LOT.

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I have yet to figure out the cause of ringing.  I had a Fusion with Rubatex padding that would ring bad and a Hackva that would ring a little bit until I tore out the EVA foam and put in my own supply of Air2Gel.  Never had an issue after that.  The Air2gel is heavier and denser than EVA and the mask was heavier overall so there seemed to be less movement upon impact.  I now have a Sportmask VX-5 with Rubatex padding and there is no ringing whatsoever, just a thud.  I just placed an order with Michel for an all glass Protechsport, so I am interested to see how that one does.  

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To me, the ringing and reduction of impact forces are two different things, and are not mutually exclusive.    If your mask doesn't give or move upon impact, then all of that force will be transferred directly to your head/brain, which would likely increase the chances of a concussion.    This is no different than the "crumple-zones" that are designed into cars to reduce the impact forces on the passengers.   Therefore, IMO, it is better to have some give to absorb the puck impact.  

The "ringing" that you hear are sound-waves that are generally caused by the vibrations of the shell and/or cage after impact.   For example, if you put a metal pot over your head and hit it with a drumstick, it is going to cause very loud ringing, even though the pot may not have moved much, and the drum-stick certainly never came in direct contact with your head.   The key is to reduce the vibrations, or at least change the frequency of them.   Depending on where on the mask the puck hit, there may be different ways of doing that.   I would try putting some small rubber washers between the mask and the cage   Others have mentioned changing the foam.      

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My understanding is the mask shell is designed to prevent penetration and flex, which is why rigidity is key and why plastic masks don't work.  It is the foam that should be acting as the shock absorber(crumple zone) to prevent energy transfer from the shell to the head.  The right foam seems to also create the right amount of dampening to prevent the ringing and vibration from the shell impact, gel is great for that as well, hence the popularity of the overpriced gel padding kits out there.  

A lot of the research I read behind the foam aspect can be found on the Kemmler website. They make gel and air2gel foam and have done numerous studies on the compression aspects of different types of foams.  Where inadequate foams fail in protecting the head is when the foam can compress completely allowing the shell to reach the skull.  This is why gel is so effective, it will not compress all the way.  Coincidentally, I also play the drums and one of the most common items used to dampen drums to prevent excessive ringing and vibration(overtones) is gel.

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Thanks guys. I thought that if I make a comeback, that I should look at gel inside the helmet. I have gotten extreme ringing when the puck it's the cage and the mask has moved upward so from what I read, the mask should fit right and be worn right. Any mask I've tried I push it upwards so I think helmet/cage is the way to go. I had an ENT appointment today. He confirmed what my other guy said. Hearing loss not related to the impact of the puck but hereditary. He also said that wearing ear plugs in his opinion wouldn't do much. So the good news is I shouldn't have to worry about my hearing, the bad news is he thinks the ringing over the years has increased my tinnitus. 

On my Mage, I tried plumber washers and it didn't help. I think what I will do is go with a kelvar sk2000 with inner shell, custom RBE G cage with thick washers, tubing around top bar that may touch helmet and use gel foam. Hopefully I can eliminate the ringing. This combo would also force me to wear the helmet down the forehead properly as my chin would be tight in the chin cup. Appreciate the replies. I'll do some reading on gel foam as well.  

If this all doesn't work, i'll probably quit....tinnitus sucks....

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9 minutes ago, parebele said:

I've never had ringing from a shot to the head, and I get hit weekly. I don't think you can do much more than wear a mask that fits properly. Damn you tinnitus! You're a cruel mistress.

Lol, love the Archer quote!!  Yeah, that's just it.  I don't think I ever have worn a mask right cause I hate anything low on the forehead, that's why I thought the combo with Itech cage might be good.  Can't push the mask up on my forehead then.  

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I'm a bit Skeptical on this with masks.

Ive had masks where I got rings and masks where I didn't. I think certain masks and better than others and the fit makes a difference.

ive also noticed that masks have evolved with rubber pieces to help with ringing around fasteners and cages 

does the mage had any rubber pieces? 

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14 hours ago, daffy said:

...the bad news is he thinks the ringing over the years has increased my tinnitus. 

...tinnitus sucks....

Tinnitus is a byproduct of hearing loss - unless you are incessantly being exposed to ringing from external sources, that shouldn't be a cause of hearing loss.

 

And I agree - it sucks big time!

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1 hour ago, TheGoalNet said:

I'm a bit Skeptical on this with masks.

Ive had masks where I got rings and masks where I didn't. I think certain masks and better than others and the fit makes a difference.

ive also noticed that masks have evolved with rubber pieces to help with ringing around fasteners and cages 

does the mage had any rubber pieces? 

I sold my Mage now. I had put thick rubber washers on it and tubing around top bar. Got major ringing after a shot to the cage and the one that gave me concussion was right off the forehead.  

 

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I am a full believer that what finish you use on the inside of the helmet counts as far as noise reduction. 

I use Flexseal as the paint on my helmets and Shawn always used a ruberised finish on the inside of the shell. My ears DON'T ring when I get pinged in the head. Being a fun sized goalie- I get pinged in the head A LOT.

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On 3/14/2017 at 11:37 AM, Srsieve said:

To me, the ringing and reduction of impact forces are two different things, and are not mutually exclusive.    If your mask doesn't give or move upon impact, then all of that force will be transferred directly to your head/brain, which would likely increase the chances of a concussion.    This is no different than the "crumple-zones" that are designed into cars to reduce the impact forces on the passengers.   Therefore, IMO, it is better to have some give to absorb the puck impact...

I am not an expert but I think this is wrong.  You do not want the mask to be loose and have give.  THAT is what transmits the shock of the puck right to through to the head.  You want the mask to fit snug with no room for it to move around on your head.  This is what lets the shell and foam disperse the impact.  

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I think the same Richter - the impact of shot should be distributed to mask and padding, Mask must fit snug and must not move, otherwise it hits your head after impact. If you look at some slow motion video of puck impact, you´ll see, that "wave" on mask as the impact goes. Thats why sometimes even the clips on mask open after shot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Igdyp-Glxfk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8afunHBvhcI 

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I think we are all saying the same thing, just in different ways.   I am not suggesting that the mask be loose on your head, just that there be adequate foam, with enough give for it to absorb the impact so that it is not transferred to your head/brain.     Think about it this way, the very early masks were molded directly from the players face, so you couldn't get a more perfect fit than that.   However, they had little, if any foam between the mask and the players face.   Therefore, when the mask was hit by a puck, all of the force was still transferred directly to the players head.   Virtually nothing was absorbed by the mask, which can lead to concussions, etc.  

However, as time went by, and people continued to innovate, the shells became larger, allowing for a foam layer in between to absorb the impact.   Therefore, when a puck strikes the shell of a mask, the shell will "move" closer to the players face, as the impact is absorbed by the foam.    

I have seen masks where the foam is thick enough, however, it is so dense that there is no way it could possibly absorb enough impact.   On the flip side, I have seen some of the pro masks where they have installed foam that is super thin so that the shell of the mask is much closer to their head and the cage is almost touching their face.   I presume they do this for visibility reasons, however, they give up safety when doing so.   It is not a trade-off I am willing to make.   

Another good example of this are the new "concussion reducing" football helmets.    They have a plastic flap in the front that is designed to "move" or flex upon impact, absorbing some of the forces.   Make more sense now?

By the way, I have an engineering degree and a back-ground in product development, therefore, I am not pulling this out of my you-know-what.    There is actual data and physics behind what I am saying.   

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May or may not be relevant, when I put maltese in my sportmask ricochet, any head shot rang like hell. I used some 1/4" cross linked polyethylene foam in a 2 pound density to fill all the dead space between the maltese. Haven't had ringing since. 

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17 hours ago, Srsieve said:

I think we are all saying the same thing, just in different ways.   I am not suggesting that the mask be loose on your head, just that there be adequate foam, with enough give for it to absorb the impact so that it is not transferred to your head/brain.     Think about it this way, the very early masks were molded directly from the players face, so you couldn't get a more perfect fit than that.   However, they had little, if any foam between the mask and the players face.   Therefore, when the mask was hit by a puck, all of the force was still transferred directly to the players head.   Virtually nothing was absorbed by the mask, which can lead to concussions, etc.  

However, as time went by, and people continued to innovate, the shells became larger, allowing for a foam layer in between to absorb the impact.   Therefore, when a puck strikes the shell of a mask, the shell will "move" closer to the players face, as the impact is absorbed by the foam.    

I have seen masks where the foam is thick enough, however, it is so dense that there is no way it could possibly absorb enough impact.   On the flip side, I have seen some of the pro masks where they have installed foam that is super thin so that the shell of the mask is much closer to their head and the cage is almost touching their face.   I presume they do this for visibility reasons, however, they give up safety when doing so.   It is not a trade-off I am willing to make.   

Another good example of this are the new "concussion reducing" football helmets.    They have a plastic flap in the front that is designed to "move" or flex upon impact, absorbing some of the forces.   Make more sense now?

By the way, I have an engineering degree and a back-ground in product development, therefore, I am not pulling this out of my you-know-what.    There is actual data and physics behind what I am saying.   

I am not saying you are pulling anything out of your ass.  Just that the way you worded your first comment didn't sound correct, that's all.  You're last post is dead on.

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Totally agree with the last comments from Srseive and SBR.

Per Srseive: (from experience) back in the day the original full face mask, sat very close with minimal foam thickness (1/8” – 3/16”) – if you were lucky, you only felt the shots. When the mask flexed too much (which the plastic* and cheap fiberglass ones did) at the wrong point if the foam grabbed your skin, you also risked a tear of the superficial skin layer. Thicker resilient foam goes a long way.

I think it depends on how you wear your mask as well. For my Hackva, the only contact points are my sweat band and my chin sling. My sweatband is thicker than most and I am convinced that he resilience of the sweatband combined with whatever stretching occurs in the sling strap during impact go a long way to cushion the shock.

 

*My first (ice hockey) mask was a Cooper HM 6, only because the year I started ice hockey, they had just banned the super protective HM 7. If they hadn't, the HM 7 would have been my choice mainly because you could "mold" the plastic in the HM7 to your face by grabbing the edges and rolling them in or out - for that custom fit! That and the fact I had taken a jigsaw to my HM 7 to make it look like Dryden's pretzel mask - so yeah, pretty "cool"

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On ‎17‎.‎3‎.‎2017 at 8:07 PM, Srsieve said:

I think we are all saying the same thing, just in different ways.   I am not suggesting that the mask be loose on your head, just that there be adequate foam, with enough give for it to absorb the impact so that it is not transferred to your head/brain.     Think about it this way, the very early masks were molded directly from the players face, so you couldn't get a more perfect fit than that.   However, they had little, if any foam between the mask and the players face.   Therefore, when the mask was hit by a puck, all of the force was still transferred directly to the players head.   Virtually nothing was absorbed by the mask, which can lead to concussions, etc.  

However, as time went by, and people continued to innovate, the shells became larger, allowing for a foam layer in between to absorb the impact.   Therefore, when a puck strikes the shell of a mask, the shell will "move" closer to the players face, as the impact is absorbed by the foam.    

I have seen masks where the foam is thick enough, however, it is so dense that there is no way it could possibly absorb enough impact.   On the flip side, I have seen some of the pro masks where they have installed foam that is super thin so that the shell of the mask is much closer to their head and the cage is almost touching their face.   I presume they do this for visibility reasons, however, they give up safety when doing so.   It is not a trade-off I am willing to make.   

Another good example of this are the new "concussion reducing" football helmets.    They have a plastic flap in the front that is designed to "move" or flex upon impact, absorbing some of the forces.   Make more sense now?

By the way, I have an engineering degree and a back-ground in product development, therefore, I am not pulling this out of my you-know-what.    There is actual data and physics behind what I am saying.   

Exactly. I think we both mean the same.

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9 hours ago, daffy said:

Pic of my Mage after the shot that gave me the concussion.  

Mage1.thumb.jpg.c5434a6f26b627c6f4c1dc6dec8ac391.jpg

Damn! Took the paint right off! I think concussion would have been unavoidable.

I don't know if your injury could have been avoided if it was so hard that it took off paint. 

Good thing you weren't wearing an NME3!

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