Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Tulsa, OK
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    Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    In the "grinding room" at school, hearing protection is mandatory. The grinders there are huge, though.

    When I use my own personal 4-1/2" grinder, I try to use the earplugs supplied by the school. I usually end up using multiple sets of earplugs because I take them out after I'm done so I can hear my instructor talking, or hear what the arc is doing.

    I have seen people use this sort of grinder without putting earplugs in (all the time back in high school, actually) but I was just wondering if that was really safe. If there's no possibility of hearing damage, that saves me some time, but if there is, I'll just be slow.
    Keeping it down in the hood...

    literally!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    Always use the ear plugs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Toronto
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    Most Health Safety organizations define safe noise level 80 dBa.

    Angle grinders exhibit noise levels from 85 dBa. Which means exposure to such noise is dangerous and leads to hearing damage. Furthermore, people exposed to such noise also exhibit some psychological stresses...

    So, there is no question of use or not to use hearing protection. It’s a must and most likely by-law…

    For myself – never used plugs – always earmuffs… Now I have them integrated with face shield... Feels safer…

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Midland, Texas
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    x2!

    I wear earplug for just about everything. Once you lose your hearing, it won't ever come back. I know a number of people that have lost their hearing from working in noisy environments. In the 'old days', it wasn't thought that hearing protection was necessary. Sometimes, people would stuff cotton in their ears (which doesn't do much at all).

    By the way, I wore earplugs at a rock concert that I went to recently. It was loud enough that I could hear the music just fine, and I could hear when it was over.
    America Needs AMERICA'S Oil!!!

    "Global warming is the greatest scam in history ...There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril."--John Coleman, Founder of The Weather Channel

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    The armpit of NJ
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    932

    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    In addition, if you wear full muffs, you won't get sparks in your ears. Plugs help with this, as well, but arn't as effective since a good hot one can burn through.

  6. #6
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    Dec 2009
    Location
    York, Pa
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    143

    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    I used to never wear earplugs. I wish I had, because I have slight hearing loss, nothing too bad, but I wish I had it back. I now use plugs for pretty much everything involving any kind of power tool, lawnmowing etc. I buy the big boxes or containers at Grainger and stick them on the wall in my shop. I they do take a while to get used to, but now I feel naked when I don't have plugs in. It's nice to have them around too for when the wife wants to chat.
    Just another clown trying to be cool

  7. #7
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    Feb 2008
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    North of Philly
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    After working for 20+ years I know I have hearing loss from working without hearing protection when I started when I was 18. Running big circular saw for 10 hrs straight would leave my ears ringing for hours afterwords.

    Now I won't mow the lawn or run a loud tool with out grabbing hearing protection. I keep 2 sets of top quality muffs in the truck and a big can of disposable plugs in case some one else needs a pair or the muffs just are too awkward for what I have to do. I hate plugs, but I'd rather use 10 pairs and toss them than loose any more hearing. I can see what it does as you get older in my father. He ruptured his ear drums multiple times as an old diesel submariner. He had no real issues until after he was 55 or so. Now even with expensive hearing aids he still can't hear a lot of whats going on.

    I've thought about the custom plugs and some of the electronic units that damp loud noise but allow you to hear softer ones. If I didn't work for myself, I'd probably invest in a pair. One of my biggest issues is I can't hear someone over medium background noise often unless the face me (multiple grinders running, saw or compressor in the background, large crowds etc),. I can't realize that they are talking to me.

    Do everything you can to protect your hearing.



    .
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

    Ronald Reagan

  8. #8
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    Jan 2010
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    Wear your hearing protection when ever you are around loud noise!! As said, once gone hearing loss cannot be reversed!

    One of my biggest regrets is not wearing hearing protection when I was starting in the trade. I pay for it on a daily basis now. It is slow to develop and you won't realize the damage until it is to late! It's sometimes a source of amusement, at my expense, to family and friends when I don't understand something and I make a stupid remark totally unrelated to what was actually said. Sometimes my wife will get upset and tell me "nevermind!" when I ask her to repeat herself too many times. At work, most everybody is in the same boat. The ones who aren't, are the ones that have worn earplugs!

    Other big regret was smoking. Gave that up 18 years ago this April 3.

    Moral of the story? Don't be stupid!
    "The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government." Teddy Roosevelt

    American by birth, Union by choice! Boilermakers # 60

    America is a Union.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    Hey Bob I like your sig line. Reminds me of one I saw on an electricians truck yesterday. "Hi Let us help you remove your shorts" I wish I had the camera to take a pict of the cartoon graphic that went with it.
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

    Ronald Reagan

  10. #10
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    Jan 2010
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    Central IL
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    Thanks, DSW. Got it from a sticker on co-workers lunch bucket. Wish I had a bumper sticker on my truck. Could be interesting!!
    "The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government." Teddy Roosevelt

    American by birth, Union by choice! Boilermakers # 60

    America is a Union.

  11. #11
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    Dec 2005
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    Midland, Texas
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    One more thing, Drake, not only might you lose your hearing, you might develop tinnitus. This is a ringing in the ears--all the time. I have a minor level, which really doesn't bother me. I think most people develop it to some degree as they age. For some people, it can be so loud it's debilitating
    America Needs AMERICA'S Oil!!!

    "Global warming is the greatest scam in history ...There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril."--John Coleman, Founder of The Weather Channel

  12. #12
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    Jun 2008
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    Vancouver, BC (formerly Cape Breton)
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    For grinding, I wear the helmet-mounted ear-muff-style protectors. A quick-slap and each ear is covered and I'm good to go. Then when I'm done snap, snap and I can hear again. Way less trouble than ear-plugs. I gave up on ear-plugs years ago. It might look a little silly wearing a helmet in my small shop but it keeps my eye protection (face-shield) and ear protection quick to access and that's usually the key to actually USING it.

    For other applications that don't require the face shield, I use a set of electronic ear-muffs. They block any loud noises like the grinder and amplify the softer sounds (like voices, arc-noise, etc) which you hear in the ear-speakers. They're great.
    Lincoln AC225 & MigPak 140, Lincoln Magnum SpoolGun, Miller Spectrum 375-X Plasma, Syncrowave 200 TIG, Millermatic 252 MIG, Miller Digital Elite, General 7x12" horiz/vert bandsaw, 3' box/pan brake, 20 ton press, milling machine, 12x28 lathe, etc.

  13. #13
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    Mar 2009
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    Ukiah, California
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    Construction is my trade and I never wore any hearing protection. I now have a constant ringing in my ears, 24 hrs a day. There is no cure and it is very annoying, to say the least. WEAR HEARING PROTECTION!

    Dave
    Hobby welder for 40 years.

    Miller Thunderbolt Arc
    Millermatic 180 MIG

  14. #14
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    Aug 2009
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    missouri
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    been tone deaf for at least 19 years due to shooting, heavy equipment and the such. wish someone would have told me about hearing loss prevention when i was young. i have to watch most folks talk when there is any background noise and small beepers mean nothing to me. use hearing protection even if its uncool! pigpen

  15. #15
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    Jul 2005
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    Davenport, Iowa
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    Huh?...

    what was that?......

    speak up, I didnt get that............

    one more time, please........

    what?............

    can you repeat that?...................

    huh?...

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    O.C. CA
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    779

    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    Depending on what part of welding you go into, safety is a big, things like ear plugs and other PPE is manditory. Working without them can get you fired from the job. Might as as well get use to them and the other PPE.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Sacramento, Calif
    Posts
    156

    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    ..Well.....I have a 80-90% hearing loss due to chemical poisoning...'Phosgene' gas from TIG welding in a tank with Tri-Chlorethelyne residue....but....
    I just paid $3,920.00 for my second set of hearing aids, they last 5-6 years if you're lucky....I also get tested (free) every year at the hearing aid store.....and...most of these providers will test and evaluate you for free.....you'll likely be surprised to find that you have a hearing loss you weren't aware of...
    If you even notice any hearing loss...you're already 30-40% gone there.....the 4-1/2" grinders are actually worse, in my opinion...than the 7-9 " units...due to higher frequency noise. I've noticed a lot of guys use the small grinders because they aren't wanting to pick-up the heavier units....and also these same guys seem to fell that the smaller grinders aren't going to make enough noise to be a problem.....well then....just wait a few years....you WILL be sorry them...I guarantee that....
    Dougspair

  18. #18
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    Aug 2007
    Location
    shreveport, la.
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    324

    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    I'm guilty. gonna keep some in my shop so I won't have to go looking for them. My chop saw is the loudest thing in my shop and I use it a lot. I have that ringing in the ears myself.

  19. #19
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    Sep 2006
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    Marlborough, The Peoples Republik of MA
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    3,572

    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    Huh, whadda say?
    Disclaimer; "I am just an a$$hole welder, don't take it personally ."

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    1,916

    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    for 20 years i didn't wear hearing protection due to it wasn't understood, practiced, or enforced. I always wear them now and try to save the hearing I have left. I just wish I would have done it sooner.

    In addition to saving your hearing, I hate having a spark go down the ear canal. Why is it that sparks can find the smallest places?

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    88

    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    Me mum used to tell me to "use the common sense God gave ya".

    Common sense tells me to wear hearing protection when running my 4.5" angle grinder.

  22. #22
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    Jul 2005
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    Sydney
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    I'm glad someone mentioned this.

    One more thing, Drake, not only might you lose your hearing, you might develop tinnitus. This is a ringing in the ears--all the time. I have a minor level, which really doesn't bother me. I think most people develop it to some degree as they age. For some people, it can be so loud it's debilitating
    Tinnitus would be way worse than losing your hearing. I had a friend with it. She thought she got it from loud music as a teenager. Hers wasn't so much a ringing sound, more like a high pitched static was how she described it. I remember when she was looking for a place to live she had to make sure there was lots of constant noise at night - she looked for busy roads to live on. Without the constant background noise, the ringing would drive her mad. She went away one weekend to the country and had to come back because it was too quiet. I've heard lots of people with tinnitus fall into depression and many kill themselves.
    I have a big home and always have projects on the go in various parts of it. I've got three sets of earmuffs around the place so there is always one where I'm working (also have several tape measures).
    Yeah, I carry.

    House keys, wallet, some change, usually a newspaper, maybe a pen.

  23. #23
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    Jul 2009
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    Sugar Land Texas/ NY harbor
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    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Aldan View Post
    ....... I try to use the earplugs supplied by the school. I usually end up using multiple sets of earplugs because I take them out after I'm done so I can hear my instructor talking, or hear what the arc is doing.
    Luckily you're young enough and smart enough to ask about hearing conservation
    before its too late like a lot of us older guys.

    If you are partial to disposable plugs Id suggest Howard Leight brand 'MAX' ,with cords; pop em out, they hang around your neck, no more fishing in your pockets for the pair you were using.
    If handled carefully, i.e., keep the foam clean I can usually go almost a full week on one pair.
    Theyre rated at 33 db, very comfortable.
    I also have regular ear muffs, mfg. by Peltor, again very comfortable, no issue wearing them 12 hours a day.

    I've grown accustomed to the ringing in my ears, now if I can just get past the voices in my head, I'd be good to go.
    What goes around, comes around.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    68

    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    I picked up a slight case of tinnitus from having ear infections as a kid, but its slight enough that I don't hear the ringing until I'm in a dead-silent room (I use a portable air filter to create white noise so I can sleep at night).

    However, I consider myself lucky to have it. It seems that normal people have to be around something WAY too loud (ie, a rock concert) before their ears will complain (ring), whereas mine will complain from something more mild, like using a lawn mower for an hour.

    As a result of this, I feel like I grew up with a better understanding of what can cause hearing damage in the long run. As a result, I'm pretty gaurded about my ears at 30 years of age.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    68

    Re: Hearing protection and 4-1/2" grinders?

    also, I'm a fan of "musician's earplugs" that are only designed to reduce the noise by about 10 or 15 dB (regular ear plugs are more like, what, 30dB?). they reduce the noise to a safe level, while still allowing you to hear what's going on.

    its like comparing a set of leather welding gloves to a pair of latex gloves -- you still retain a lot more "feel" with the latex gloves. I love driving my truck (http://bit.ly/b5LIYB) with the windows down, and musician's-style ear plugs still allow me to hear the engine, the turbo, and cars approaching in the passing lane on the freeway.

    the ones I use are the "hear-o's" silicone plugs with filters. you can get them at guitar center for about $15 (see http://www.amazon.com/Hearos-High-Fi.../dp/B0002CZYS4) (actually, it looks like you can get the same thing from etymotic research on amazon for $8. the hear-o's are likely just rebranded ety's).

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