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Thread: Hearing protection while welding?

  1. #1
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    Hearing protection while welding?

    I received an email from Miller today. In the email, there was a picture showing a welder (weldor) wearing ear plug hearing protection.
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    This got me thinking. Hearing what the weld is doing is important to me. Short circuit, I want to hear a specific "crinkle" (some call it frying bacon, but it sounds different to me) For spray, I want to hear the transition to a quiet "hiss".
    Sure, I am looking at the weld, but the sound is giving me a confirmation also.

    Maybe this should have been in the Safety forum, but I thought I would get better visibility here(?)
    I also get that maybe the operator in the picture was just grinding on something...

    The question is, do others rely on hearing the weld as much as I do? Do you wear haring protection for welding?

    Thanks for the input.
    Geoff

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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    I still wear earplugs because they do not block 100% of sound, nothing does. So I can still hear everything, just at a lower decibel level and that is enough for me.
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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    I pretty much put ear plugs in as soon as I go out into the shop. The time I spend using grinders, saws, hammering and using tools generally more than the actual welding.
    Plus when TIG welding, it is virtually noise free except for when doing aluminum.


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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Willie's post the othe day is typical for me.
    I am adlibbing his post but 4 hours of work to do 15 minutes of arc time is not far fetched

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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    similar for me too

    4 hours blank stare and head scratching / 5-10 minutes arc time / lunch
    :

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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Here’s the real question…..does arc welding on a regular basis produce enough sound to damage hearing? Has anyone measured the decible levels? It is obvious that grinding with a handheld grinder produces both decibel and frequency ranges that will be harmful, not to mention most saws like a portaband, cut off saw, etc. Just for the arc welding, I am more concerned about damage to lungs/sinuses because of fumes than the issues with hearing from just running a bead/beads on an average project.
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  12. #7
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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Only reason I can see for wearing the earplugs while welding would be to keep hot berries from getting in there. I've been using a headset/face screen for the grinding and beating part (although the screen still requires safety glasses during grinding) and I'm kind of getting to like it.... almost... much quieter...
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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Ever had a molten BB roll into your ear canal while you have your hear turned?

    Ear plugs reduce the damage of you, or someone else in the area grinding.

    Extremely loud industrial noise, then someone feels the need to make idle conversation, I can better sort human voice with ear plugs.

    Had I used ear plugs 50+ years ago, I bet I wouldn't have hearing loss now. I remember Lee Sonic Ear Valves. I bought a set for shooting at maybe age 13. They were supposed to react to loud noise but not restrict ordinary sound. They absolutely did NOT work. Aside from that, I never heard of hearing protection until age 30. I can't estimate how many rounds of ammo, chainsaws, cutting tools, grinders, motorcycles, snowmobiles. Let's not forget rock music!

    By the way, I'm NOT buying you can't hear sizzle with hearing protection. That, I call BS. With hearing loss & hearing protection, today I was thinking how satisfying the sound of a fresh roll of wire.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    only reason i can see for wearing the earplugs while welding would be to keep hot berries from getting in there. I've been using a headset/face screen for the grinding and beating part (although the screen still requires safety glasses during grinding) and i'm kind of getting to like it.... Almost... Much quieter...
    ^^^^^this^^^^^
    :

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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    Ever had a molten BB roll into your ear canal while you have your hear turned?

    Ear plugs reduce the damage of you, or someone else in the area grinding.

    and ^^^^THIS TOO^^^^

    didn't want wille to feel left out
    :

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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    I protect my ears with music. No buds or earphones tho.
    Now when I have to grind (a lot) I'll wear these.

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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Freebirdwelds View Post
    Now when I have to grind (a lot) I'll wear these.

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    i'm not posting a pic of my set. i'm
    assuming yours look like mine and others will question our sanity when they see how gross they look.
    :

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  24. #13
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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Standard getting dressed in the morning is a pair of loose earplugs in my pocket. They get nasty often. Between phone calls, I leave them in. I toss them when they look grubby, usually because my hands get grubby.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    i'm not posting a pic of my set. i'm
    assuming yours look like mine and others will question our sanity when they see how gross they look.
    Well I do have 2 pairs hanging in the cabinet in the truck. Really doesn't help when grabbing the cleanest pair when you need them.
    But letting them get rained on does help. lol
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  28. #15
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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Used ear plugs always in noise hazard areas an$ I’m still deaf, now have hearing aids in both ears. Long term exposure to hazardous noise above 128 decibels is harmful even with hearing protection
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  30. #16
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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Freebirdwelds View Post
    Well I do have 2 pairs hanging in the cabinet in the truck. Really doesn't help when grabbing the cleanest pair when you need them.
    But letting them get rained on does help. lol
    i snapped a pic of mine anyways. they don't look as bad as i thought....

    IMAGE CHANGED TO LINK TO ADULT CONTENT
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    :

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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Yea.... gross earplugs can be a chronic condition. I cure it by just having a clean tissue in my pocket and using chunks of that. Works, but probably not the best for dingleberry protection ...
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    i snapped a pic of mine anyways. they don't look as bad as i thought....
    LOL.... not gross at all..... heavy hauling or heavy breathing??
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Quote Originally Posted by RCWelds View Post
    not to mention most saws like a portaband
    Earplugs for a Portaband? Really? You must have some delicate ears!

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  38. #20
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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    I was thinking the same thing 🤔.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by StandarDyne View Post
    Earplugs for a Portaband? Really? You must have some delicate ears!

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  40. #21
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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    i snapped a pic of mine anyways. they don't look as bad as i thought....

    IMAGE CHANGED TO LINK TO ADULT CONTENT
    Yeah, without a doubt yours hang much nicer than mine. I'm going to have to rethink my whole hanging system on the truck now. Name:  sigpic67943_5.gif
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    Last edited by Tensaiteki; 08-05-2022 at 12:05 AM. Reason: quoted image changed to link
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  42. #22
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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    Wait what were we talking about again?
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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    The calendar 📅.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Freebirdwelds View Post
    Wait what were we talking about again?

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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    racing boats, airplanes, rebuilding diesel engines and grinding all lead to WHAAAAT !!!

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  48. #25
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    Re: Hearing protection while welding?

    My family has a history of hearing loss on my father's side, and since I grew up as a competitive shooter, flying airplanes, in the military, etc I learned to be careful of my hearing early on. I have a bit of tinnitus, that I'm pretty sure came from one event when I was in the military...we were training on movement to contact with actual opponents and our guns were all set up for blanks with MILES gear (lasers) and a guy let rip with an M-60 maybe two feet from my head...my ears rang for days. Other than that, my hearing tests for work are always pretty good, so whatever I'm doing is working.

    In the past handful of years they've done some new studies on long-term hearing loss due to noise exposure. One of the things they've found is that the threshold for damage is lower than they used to cite. It's also now a combination of decibels and time, so anything over 70 decibels for a long period of time can cause permanent damage (can, not will). A loud washing machine is 70 decibels. Also, people often don't realize the decibel scale isn't linear...it's logarithmic, so going from 70 to 80 is a huge jump. Your typical law mower is 80-85 dB.

    Plugs are good for most normal sources of noise, but not if there is a pressure element such as shooting a gun. There, the pressure is transmitted to the small bones of your inner ear through the soft tissue just at the back and base of your ears...that soft spot you can push in. Those bones are critical to hearing and they break down from the shock transmitted through the soft tissue. Most law enforcement agencies now require muffs that cover the entire ear for training for that very reason. That's also why so many law enforcement agencies are going to suppressors on their long guns...just a single shot near a partner can cause permanent loss.

    I wear hearing protection during anything loud...diesel tractor, skid steer, zero turn, leaf blower, string trimmer, chainsaws, grinders, saws, and often when I'm welding (especially AC TIG). Heck, even when I really have to hammer on something I'll put on muffs. When I fire up the forge to do some blacksmithing I immediately put on muffs...just the gas forge itself is loud. I'll even use plugs or muffs when I use the shop vac for more than a few seconds.

    My take is that it's all cumulative and if I don't want to be deaf when I'm 75, I need to be taking care of my ears now. I actually find that with many things it helps me concentrate...less noise = less distractions. I often find I've stopped the noisy activity and still have my plugs/muffs on.

    I keep plugs and muffs pretty much everywhere in my shop and vehicles. I recently got some custom molded acrylic plugs that have passive filters and I'm really impressed. I like muffs because they're quicker to put on and off and don't get nasty like foam plugs (well, if they do you can wipe them off easily) so I use those more than plugs.

    When I'm doing something like mowing with the tractor/zero turn or using my skid steer I wear noise cancelling ear protection. That way I am protected, but can hear if someone shouts at me, or if something is wrong like grabbing a piece of wire in the flail mower.
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