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Hearing Protection

Discussion in 'SAFETY ISSUES & EQUIPMENT' started by Jamespvill, May 17, 2014.

  1. Jamespvill

    Jamespvill United States Active User Active Member

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    It's my opinion that a piece of safety gear that is sometimes overlooked is that of hearing protection. Growing up I was always told by my dad that "I'd sure as **** better keep what I got" By that he means fingers, arms, legs, hearing. and both eyeballs! Plus all the other meaty parts too. I'm glad he pounded that into my head since a young age, because now I do what I can to keep what I got...minus a little mishap while playing tug-o-war with some 304 swarf....

    Anywho, whenever I enter the shop my apron is hanging right next to the door and has my safety glasses and hearing protection on it. All in one convenient package makes for no excuses!

    This is the type I use, just put them around your neck until you need them! I hardly can tell they are there most of the time and they are much more convenient to put on vs fumbling around with those "squeeze, roll, jam into your brain" type.
    Ears.JPG
    I use them regularly whenever my compressor kicks on and also whenever I'm whacking metal on metal. I figure a little effort now will pay off in the future.

    So what does everyone else use? Or do you have some stories to tell about eardrums?

    Also, here's a link to what's pictured above, for $6.25 with free shipping too!

    Ears.JPG
     
  2. jpfabricator

    jpfabricator United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have been deaf in my right ear for as long as I can remember (inner ear problem from birth). I take exceptionally good care of whats left. I have from the squeeze plugs to over the head mufflers. I have been considering a hearing aid with a high decible filter.

    Jake Parker
     
  3. xalky

    xalky United States Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    I use the "squeeze, roll, jam into your brain" type of earplugs. I buy them by the jar full! I'd be lying if i said that I wear them all the time or as much as I should but I do wear them when I know I'm going to be in a loud situation. The thing that I like about the cheap foam plugs is that I have them scattered all over the place, so they're convenient to use. Theirs always a pair nearby to use when I need them. I've been known to ball up tissue paper and shove in my ear when I don't have plugs handy. It works! I have ear muffs too but I find them to be terribly bulky and sweaty for any thing but a short length of time.
     
  4. Ray C

    Ray C United States Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think it's very smart to wear hearing protectors. I wear foamies too but only when I'm doing something that's pretty noisy. In reality, I should be more diligent about using them...
     
  5. cazclocker

    cazclocker Active User Active Member

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    I use the headphone-style ones that shooters use. But yours look a LOT handier and lighter. Where did you get them?
    ...Doug
     
  6. savarin

    savarin Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I use large ear muffs. I lost all my high frequencies and developed very loud tinnitus in my left ear in the early 70s. (diving accident)
    I have just started wearing a hearing aid in that ear and was worried about working in the shop.
    The ear muffs fit over the aid and work well although I take it out for loud work.
    Its fantastic getting directional hearing back and hearing clear speech.
    Look after your bits you really miss them when they are gone.
     
  7. claudiorfernandes

    claudiorfernandes Brazil Iron Registered Member

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    I use earmuffs too. I found a model that has the arc between the shells made so it passes behind the neck instead of over the head.
    It alows me to use a face shield at the same time.
    I quit using the foam plugs while working after three infections inside the same ear... (sometimes I still use foam plugs, but only when sleeping with my GF, that snores a little loud ... :lmao::lmao:)
     
  8. Andre

    Andre Active User Active Member

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    I use the triple flange cheapies for shooting, and sometimes use them in the shop. But I don't have any loud machines so they don't get broken out too often.
     
  9. Reg09

    Reg09 Canada Iron Registered Member

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    I use the type in the picture below in this thread and use them so they go around the back of my neck. That way I can also wear safety goggles and/or full face mask. I also use a powered respirator when I am working with anything that is dusty such as MDF for patterns, mock-ups, etc. As a separate precaution (overkill maybe) I keep a pair visible by my lathe and mill so if for any reason I did not put on my shop pair I will be reminded to make sure have some protection - same for safety glasses. Protective aids are a lot cheaper that trips to the ER or hearing damage.
     
  10. PeteH

    PeteH United States Active User Active Member

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    I've got substantial high-frequency hearing loss, mainly in my left ear -- industrial explosion, about 40 years ago. So I do whatever I can to keep what I've got left. Generally -- which is to say running the lawnmower or rototiller, or the big blower -- I wear the "earmuff" type, although I must say they get sweaty in the Summer. My machine tools are pretty small, and don't make a lot of racket, so I'm less concerned about that. However, when I'm working iron on the anvil (and I have a very "ringy" anvil), I wear the earmuffs.

    I'm looking into getting some of the better (i.e. more protective) "earplug" types... the "roll and stuff" kind don't cut the anvil noise as much as I'd like, and I really don't like wearing the muffs in a forge environment.
     
  11. chainsawd

    chainsawd New Zealand Iron Registered Member

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    I've worn a combination of 'squeeze and roll' plugs and earmuffs for over 40 years in my occupation as a locomotive engineer.
    In that time I've found that hand hygiene is very important when rolling and inserting earplugs to prevent ear infections; the plugs can also push ear wax buildup into the ear canal causing similar problems.
    Similarly earmuffs during hot weather can cause sweating and fungal infection of the ear if the muffs are not cleaned regularly and noise damping foam in the muffs changed 6 monthly.
    Recently during a work medical test for my ears the examiner suggested I try molded earplugs., whereby a hearing specialist will take a mold of your ear and make an exact copy of a silicon type material to fit each ear.
    These type of plugs are very comfortable to wear, do not enter the inner ear are are easily cleaned.
    Also look after your eyes, I have several pairs of safety glasses around my workshop and reminders on machinery to wear them
     
  12. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Canada Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I lost a bit of hearing in my left ear from machine guns in the early '70s. Since then, i got through 9 years of mining and numerous other careers without losing any. In the shop, I use the over-the-ear type of muffs. I have several pairs hanging here and there, so they're always handy when I'm going to be doing something noisy.

    Incidentally, before I converted the X2 mini-mill to belt drive, I needed the muffs pretty much every time I turned it on.
     
  13. pdentrem

    pdentrem Active User Active Member

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    Earmuffs for me. Have one on the table saw, one on the snowblower or lawnmower depending on the season, and the last one in my shooting bag. Earplugs I use at times, but I prefer muffs year round. Glasses are on my face at all times, bad eyes. A couple welding masks, one spare if someone is around.
    I have always used muffs or plugs when shooting, and I am sure this has been important in the preservation of my hearing. I can still hear that annoying whine the CPU in the computer makes.

    At work, I have placed muffs at all the noisiest machines and earplug dispensers near the cafeteria. Grab them as you exit after break, lunch etc. I also have a set of muffs that I use a lot, as I have at times, sit between 2 CNC milling machines and the high speed screech/whine gets to me big time.
    As for eye protection, there are safety glasses all over the shop and a few face shields as well.
    Welding mask and gloves are on the welder naturally. The collection of gas bottles are chained to the wall. Exhaust fan runs from key in the door to exit.
    I try to make the shop as safe as possible but the employees need to use the stuff I put out for them.

    It is up to you to protect yourself. No one else can not do it for you.
    Pierre
     
  14. Cobra

    Cobra Canada Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    One of the most effective and most comfortable are custom fitted soft plugs. Not much more than a good set of muffs but way more comfortable, especially in the warm weather.
     
  15. savarin

    savarin Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Just a thought as I've never used them in this scenario but would noise cancelling ear muffs like those that shooters wear work for the percussive notes of the anvil?
     
  16. DMS

    DMS United States Active User Active Member

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    I have a couple pairs like the one pictured. They work quite well. I don't wear them all the time, but do whenever doing anythign loud, like using the grinder, circular saw, router. I also have a pair of the "earmuff" types, but I war glasses, and they become painful very quickly. With these, I can have them around my neck when not using them, and they are small enough that I can wear them under a full face shield, or with a dust mask.
     
  17. terrywerm

    terrywerm New Member Liaison Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I use the ear muffs, but have been known to use both the roll and squeeze foam plugs in tandem with the ear muffs in really bad situations. Typically, nothing that noisy occurs in my home shop, and the ear muffs are sufficient.
     
  18. GarageGuy

    GarageGuy United States Active User Active Member

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    I use the headphone/earmuff style hearing protectors. They hang on the Z axis of my mill. I'm subjected to loud noise at work, but I don't need to be at home.

    GG
     
  19. JohnG

    JohnG United States Active User Active Member

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    Excellent topic and lots of good posts. I hear you, DMS, about the pain of muffs and eyeglasses.

    Insert type plugs are the standard these days in plants that require hearing protection. They make the most sense when protection has to be worn all day. When I was back and forth between my office and the mill floor, I had to take them in and out so I could talk on the phone. I tried all types. The 3 flange plastic plugs on a string or band were easiest to take on and off, but the roll and stuff foam definitely worked best. Lower noise operations tend to offer a variety so workers have a choice; but the hard hat mill I spent time in, a higher noise environment, only offered the roll and stuff.

    In my own shop I make noise intermittently, and I prefer earmuffs which I take on and off. I also wear them when I'm running a chain saw. The type that puts the band across the back of your neck rather than over the top of your head works best in the cold with a hat. I could never get the hang of the muffs hung off a helmet.

    My daughter, a chemist, says she wears the roll and stuff when she's in a plant. My son, a geologist, says that roll and stuff plus earmuffs is standard in underground mines. It has made for lively conversation at family gatherings, and we all still have our hearing.
     
  20. Jamespvill

    Jamespvill United States Active User Active Member

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    This is all great information gentlemen! Whichever type of hearing protection you choose to wear; one thing is for sure, you are smart for wearing any type!

    Don't get me wrong, I use the roll and jam type quite often. I just prefer ones that are easier to put in and take out a couple of times. The type that I originally pictured are my favorites simply because I can hang them around my neck and they stay there.

    Stay safe and keep up the good safety practices folks!
     
  21. Rapscallion

    Rapscallion South Africa Active User Active Member

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    I use the foam jam-in-your-ear type, I often go to large factories that issue them to visitors as compulsory safety gear for entering the production areas. I keep them for use at home when making a racket.
    I haven't always played it that safe and have probably lost about 10% of my hearing to industry. I'm 46.
     
  22. zmotorsports

    zmotorsports United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I agree and I too wear hearing protection when warranted. I have been working in a professional maintenance shop since I was 19 years old and although I did not wear much in the way of PPE(Personal Protective Equipment) on the farm growing up prior to my career, I have been very pro-active with wearing all necessary PPE when called for both at work and at home since 19 years of age.

    I have enforced it with my son since he was old enough to be in the shop. My son and I even went to the extreme when we were racing two-stroke quads and hill-climbing snowmobiles that we had hearing protection to wear in the trailer when wrenching between heats.

    Mike.
     
  23. MikeWi

    MikeWi United States Active User Active Member

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    I use custom formed ear-plugs. You can get these from the local sports store now (finally) and mine cost $15 at Gander Mountain. It's some sort of two part silicone rubber that you knead together, split in two and stick in your ears. I forget how long you wait, but it's not long and you have custom fit earplugs that work better than the foam plugs, and don't get in the way of your face mask like the head-phone style can. I use them for shooting, mowing, and in the shop. Well I also use them for the 4th of July parade that goes in front of our house! :rofl:
     
  24. Ray C

    Ray C United States Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'll have to check this out, Mike. I have those foamie types all over the place but, they get dirty from handling them and swarf can get embedded in them. They used to have a booth at Camp Perry where they made the kinds you're talking about but, I never tried them out.


    Ray
     
  25. MikeWi

    MikeWi United States Active User Active Member

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    <sigh> When I shot Bullseye Pistol it was my dream to go there, but it never happened. Anyway, it used to be that you had to be at some special event like that or pay a vendor to come out to your club, but not any more!
     
  26. ome

    ome United States Active User Active Member

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    I lost my hearing in my left ear at 5 years old, so I always wear muffs when in my basement home shop and the shop vac is on or any loud machine.
    I also have tenitus , from menieres disease, which makes certain frequencies louder or lower.
    So i avoid anything that goes inside my ear, even An eardoctors probe , I have had my ear drum pierced with a needle filled with some cortisone, and the dr. Went a little to fast to deep, and :panic:That hurt.
    Nothin smaller than my elbow goes in my ear.
    Jon
     
  27. Vavet

    Vavet United States Active User Active Member

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    I started flying lessons at age 17 (I'm 39 now)and the instructor impressed upon us to wear earplugs. That was the start, although I still thought it wasn't terribly macho to wear them. When I was in basic training for the Army, I forgot to put in my earplugs one day on the rifle range. I shot 20 rounds without them and my ears rang for several days after that. That impressed upon me the importance of hearing protection, but one incident in particular made me especially cautious about earplugs.

    I went in for my annual hearing test while I was on active duty Army. I had been in my home shop cutting aluminum on the bandsaw the night before. The hearing test showed a significant shift in my threshold from the previous year. When they asked about activity, I mentioned the aluminum cutting. They asked me to come back the next morning after not doing anything loud that night. My hearing recovered, but it really impressed upon me how short exposures to loud noise can have a big impact. I now keep two pairs of muffs in my garage and they get used for lawn care duty, bandsaw/table saw, pressure washing and any time the air compressor kicks on.

    I also wear the roll-up foam type while I'm in the lab at work because it can be quite loud.

    I hadn't heard about the custom molded ear plugs. I'll have to look in to those.
     
  28. British Steel

    British Steel United Kingdom Active User Active Member

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    I ride large, fast motorcycles and already have tinnitus, so.wear the quietest helmet on the market (a Schuberth, German, about 800 USD new, ouch) plus soft.earplugs every time I.ride and I've noticed that even the.choice of.jacket can make a big difference. Exposure to loud noise seems to make the tinnitus worse temporarily and I'd like.to keep the hearing that's left! I.keep plugs.and ear defenders (Peltor muffs) handy for most metal and.w**d working, about the only thing that doesn't warrant them is a clicking ratchet, :)

    I've found its the high-frequency content that causes worst effects, e.g. the tinnitus started after taking my son to.see.a death-metal concert - it wasn't the volume, it was the.distortion that set it off, I've.seen louder before and since without harm that I can notice!
     
  29. MikeWi

    MikeWi United States Active User Active Member

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    got a tip from another shooter way back when that you can still get a lot of noise past any of the in-ear plugs because of bone conduction and that's why a lot of people shooting heavy calibers where both plugs and over the ear type muffs. If you've got ear issues, it's worth a try. Worked great for me at a certain small indoor range that had a guy who liked to shoot wildcat .44 mag loads "because he liked the boom". That guy would drive everyone out of the range before getting kicked out himself, but he'd always be let back in another day. LOL

    BTW it's been awhile since I mentioned the custom plugs. Anyone try them out yet?
     
  30. pdentrem

    pdentrem Active User Active Member

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    The 44 magnum is loud, but the little itty bitty 380 Auto in a Short barreled pocket pistol is LOUD! One of our members used to shoot one and drove us crazy. Here we are trying to improve our slow fire technique and he is blasting away rapid fire and less then 3 feet away from the next shooter. I'd rather deal with the 44 or 10 mm!
    Plugs and muffs required, especially in an indoor range!
    Pierre
     

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