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Motorsport Fabrication Fundamentals: Hearing Protection

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Hearing Protection


00:00 - Our hearing is almost as critical to our everyday lives as our eyesight and since many of our fabrication processes involve the use of noisy power tools, we need to use ear protection to minimise the damge done.
00:12 Hearing damage is cumulative and the risk really depends on the noise level, the distance from the source of noise and then how long you're exposed to the noise.
00:21 This means that damage may not necessarily be apparent immediately but over time can end up affecting your hearing with partial or complete hearing loss.
00:31 There's plenty of fabricators, engineers and mechanics that have learned this lesson the hard way in later life, at which point unfortunately it's too late.
00:39 It's for this reason that we should be prepared with hearing protection.
00:43 Industry standards suggest that a noise level of 85 decibels is the point where we need to have hearing protection fitted.
00:50 If the noise level rises to over 100 decibels, then we put ourselves in real danger of doing permanent damage to our hearing.
00:57 A good example of what creates 85 decibels is a cordless angle grinder switching on.
01:02 Once grinding and cutting though, the decibel level can easily exceed 110.
01:08 To put this into perspective, here's an image that shows some common sources of noise along with what sort of decibel level these sources will produce and how long we can be exposed to that particular level before risking hearing damage.
01:20 Of course there's no sense putting ourselves at risk though and it's always advisable to use hearing protection during our fabrication processes regardless.
01:28 One of the tricky parts to understand about the decibel scale is that it's a logarithmic scale, rather than being linear.
01:36 This means for example that a 20 decibel sound is not twice as loud as a 10 decibel sound.
01:42 It's actually 100 times louder.
01:44 This means that even seemly small changes in decibel rating can actually result in vastly different noise levels.
01:51 The two most common types of protection here are ear plugs and ear muffs or ear defenders as they're also known.
01:59 Ear plugs, also known as ear buds, are little soft plugs tha you insert into your ears and if effectively positioned, can reduce noise by over 25dB.
02:09 The most effective ear buds are those which are custom made to suit your outer ear canal and secured with a headband.
02:14 These are useful for the majority of noise emitted from fabrication processes but not all.
02:20 They're also comfortable to wear and relatively unobtrusive.
02:23 Ear muffs have a similar affect but placed over the ears.
02:27 These are available in a number of different ratings and reduce by over 30 decibels.
02:32 My personal favourite hearing protection is a pair of class 5+ ear defenders from Peltor.
02:37 These are able to attenuate sound levels by 32dB.
02:41 If you work in a communal workshop, it's a good idea to have the ear buds in your ears at all times and then double up those with your ear muffs when cutting, grinding or hammering.
02:50 This will protect you from noise generated by others which you may not be expecting.
02:54 Both solutions allow you to reduce or completely eliminate the damage that you'd be doing to your hearing if you were to go without them.
03:01 It's a great idea to have these placed with your eye protection in various locations around your garage or workshop.

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