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Practical TIG Welding: Hearing Protection

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Hearing Protection


00:00 - Our hearing is almost as critical to our everyday lives as our eyesight and while you might think that welding wouldn't require hearing protection, you'd be surprised at the noise level emitted by the process, particularly high frequency A/C welding.
00:14 Hearing damage is cumulative and the risk really depends on the noise level, the distance from the source of the noise and then how long you're exposed to that noise.
00:23 This means that damage may not necessarily be apparent immediately but over time can end up affecting your hearing with partial or even complete hearing loss.
00:32 There's plenty of fabricators, engineers and mechanics that have learned this lesson the hard way in later life at which point, it's too late.
00:40 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 this noise level rises to over 100 decibels, then we put ourselves in real danger of doing permanent damage to our hearing.
00:59 A good example of what creates 85 decibels of noise is a cordless angle grinder switching on.
01:04 Once grinding and cutting, the decibel level can easily exceed 110.
01:10 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.
01:23 Of course there's no sense putting ourselves in any risk though and it's always advisable to use hearing protection during our fabrication processes regardless.
01:33 One of the trickier parts to understand about the decibel scale is that it's logarithmic rather than linear.
01:40 This means for example that a 20 decibel sound is not twice as loud as a 10 decibel sound, it's actually 100 times louder.
01:47 This means that even seemingly small changes in decibel rating can actually result in vastly different noise levels.
01:55 The two most common types of protection are ear plugs and ear muffs or ear defenders as they're also known.
02:02 Ear plugs, also known as ear buds are little soft plugs that you insert into your ears and if effectively positioned, these can reduce the noise by over 25 decibels.
02:11 These are also comfortable and convenient to wear under your welding mask.
02:15 The most effective ear buds are those which are custom made to suit your outer ear canal and secured with a headband.
02:23 These are useful for the majority of noise emitted from fabrication processes but not all.
02:28 They're also comfortable to wear and relatively unobtrusive.
02:32 Ear muffs have a similar effect but are placed over the ears.
02:36 These are available in a number of different ratings and reduce noise levels by over 30 decibels.
02:42 My personal favourite hearing protection is a pair of class 5+ ear defenders from Peltor.
02:47 These are able to attenuate sound levels by over 32 decibels.
02:52 If you work in a communal workshop, it's a good idea to have the ear buds fitted permanently in your ears at all times and then double these up with ear muffs when you're cutting, grinding or hammering.
03:03 This will protect you from noise generated by others which you may not be expecting.
03:08 Both ear protection 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.
03:17 It's a great idea to have these placed with your eye protection at various locations around your garage or workshop.

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