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Hearing protection

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Steven Forrest, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. Steven Forrest

    Steven Forrest

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    Folks,

    I'd like to revisit this recurrent topic. I am interested in improving my hearing protection while at the lathe. I wear a versaflow helmet, so muffs are not an option. Some sort of ear plug/ear bud, plus or minus noise cancelling. Any experiences/recommendations you can share about effectiveness, comfort, price? Thanks.
     
  2. John Walls

    John Walls

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    I either turn off my hearing aids which blocks alot of noise, or since they are bluetooth, I play some music at very low volume. Otherwise, I use cheap foam earplugs.
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  3. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    Little orange foam plugs. I buy them in bags of 500. NRR is very good for woodshop noise levels and I find them comfortable enough that I frequently forget I have them in. They are small enough that you can pop a pair of muffs over them when doing something really loud like setting ramsets. Every pair of pants I own has two or three pairs in the pockets so I always have them available (meaning I use them whenever I should), running them through the wash doesn't seem to hurt them.
     
  4. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Disposable ear plugs is the way to go, if you re-use ear plugs to many times you increase the risk of bringing bacteria into your ear canal.
     
  5. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    I used this style for a while, 3M ear brand. [​IMG] They worked, but then I found these,
    https://www.grainger.com/product/HONEYWELL-HOWARD-LEIGHT-Contoured-T-Ear-Plugs-6XF59
    The Honeywell's are (for me anyway) more comfortable and had a better Db rating. (32 vs 29)
    Interesting thing is you can still understand what people around you are saying, or pretend that you can't.
    Like Roger, I keep a few in pants pockets, a big handful in the truck, some in my go bag and a couple of pairs in my ditty bag, just don't want to be caught without.

    Ps. Proper insertion into ear canal is obviously important, to test for a good fit rub your thumb and index finger next to your ear, if you cannot hear the sound of the fingers rubbing together, you have a good fit.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2020
  6. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    Just a note about decibel ratings. The decibel scale is not linear - it represents order of magnitude....3 db increase in sound level represents a doubling of the actual "loudness" IIRC
     
  7. Josh Stevens

    Josh Stevens

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    I'm not sure which model of versaflo helmet you have but I have helmet mounted ear muffs on mine, they were relatively cheap from memory and they are a 3M part designed for the helmet. It might be worth looking into
     
  8. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Howard-Leight has foam earplugs with a 33 NRR. Get that online or at the Fastenal store.
     
  9. Steven Forrest

    Steven Forrest

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    Thanks for the good suggestions. Anybody care to weigh in re: noise cancelling technology? Emiliano Achaval, I know you like yours a lot.
     
  10. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Not long ago, I switched to the Howard-Light foam plugs in the softer material (green) and noticed they take about 30 seconds to re-expand and occlude the ear canal.

    Also, foam ear plugs need to be used correctly to get the advertised noise reduction. For me, that means rolling them into a skinny cigar with the thumb and index finger on the side of insertion, and while I'm rolling, I reach over the top of my head and lift my outer ear upwards which straightens the opening a little, and then insert the skinny cigar angled a little forward and a little upwards so it goes straight into the ear canal. Most folks have this same angle to their ear canals--they don't go straight in.
     
  11. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    I have a pair of Bose noise canceling headphones. They are fabulous on airplanes and other places with high levels of background "white noise". Not so good for percussive sounds or other acutely loud situations. I've never worn them in the shop.

    I just got a pair of isotunes wireless earbuds, I think I'm liking them a lot for both music and ear protection in the shop.
     
  12. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    My wife likes here Bose. Me...not so much. Likely because of how different we hear things. I bought a pair of Sony that were their best headphones at h time. The noise cancellation is simply unbelievable. I can use them under myPAPR, with eh lathe on, dust collection running - and receive a phone call, hold conversation and the caller is unaware of what I am doing in the background. I typically listen to Spotify while turning, and the bluetooth function works awesome.
     
  13. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    I have Bose noise cancelling earbuds which I wear with Comply ear tips (instead of the Bose ear tips). I am very happy with the performance and comfort. I had poor luck with simple foam ear plugs, and ear muffs don't fit over my PAPR.

    I have the wired Bose earbuds which ran close to 300, with another 25 for the Comply set. The Comply set comes in 3 sizes and are memory foam like the 3M earplugs so they alone give significant passive sound dampening. The Bose active noise reduction is very effective at dampening the constant or repetitve noises in the shop like the DC or air compressor. But active noise sepression is not so effective against percussive noises such as a hammer on an anvil.
     
  14. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I love my Bose noise-canceling Bluetooth headset. I got the QC30 I can adjust how much noise canceling I want. I can also connect them to my Apple TV and watch mindless shows on tv, or just watch some youtube music videos.
     
  15. Kent Jaffrey

    Kent Jaffrey

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    I like wearing my Isotunes pro earbuds so I can listen to music while turning.
     
  16. Damon McLaughlin

    Damon McLaughlin

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    I have a pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones that I like a lot. I don't wear them all the time as I like to hear what's going on but if I'm cutting a lot on the bandsaw or sanding or embellishing I put them on. I like that I can adjust the amount of noise cancelling. I also like that I can connect my phone via bluetooth and not miss a call. Not that I get any calls, but just in case :)
     
  17. Mike Adams

    Mike Adams

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    Wear as much hearing protection as you can manage. Even if you're wearing earbuds or plugs, also wearing sound attentuators are still a good idea.

    If you're relying on the sound dampening from a pair of over the ear headphones, consider pulling out their guts and installing them into a real pair of sound attenuators. They won't be as pretty, but they'll block more noise.

    Guard those ears, guys. You don't want to lose chunks of your hearing.
     
  18. Chris Edwards

    Chris Edwards

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    I use a Trend Airshield and use these behind the head ear protectors

    They have a velcro strap that goes over your head, that doesn't interfere with the Trend, but the ear muff spring sits behind you head.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009POJ1XY/ref=dp_cerb_3

    $25.

    3M PELTOR Optime 105 Earmuffs H10B, Behind-the-Head

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    Like Emiliano, I use the Bose Noise-Cancelling in-the-ear buds. However, mine are wired - that's how old they are. They work great! And I wear an Airstream helmet whenever I am at the lathe, turning and sanding. Last Christmas I received a pair of Apple Air Pods Pro. They have noise-cancelling as well. Because they're wireless, they are very convenient. But I find the noise-cancelling feature not as good as the Bose. So I wear the Bose when I'm sanding, to kill the sound of the dust collection and the random orbital air sander. The compressor is on the second floor, but the air tool itself makes plenty of noise.
     
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  20. Mike Adams

    Mike Adams

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    I have that in over the head. They're pretty good.
     
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  21. Steven Forrest

    Steven Forrest

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    Wonderful suggestions, folks! Thanks so much. I had never even seen those 3M muffs before. Aside from standardized NRR ratings, has anyone tried their own comparison between passive noise reduction (ear plugs, ear muffs) vs noise cancelling (active systems like the Bose or Apple) to see which they prefer?

    Also, I'm nervous about piping music into my ears, whether it's with noise isolating buds (isotunes) or noise cancelling (Bose, Apple, etc.). I'm afraid the music may compromise my focus and safety. Anyone care to address that aspect? The noise cancelling concept seems wonderful - minimize hearing loss, but still able to hear conversations, important sounds etc., vs the total muffling of passive noise reduction. But those are pretty pricey - do they really offer that much of an advantage over passive noise isolation products? (I note that the highest NRR is on the inexpensive disposable foam ear plugs...)
     
  22. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    That's exactly why some of the noise cancelling ear buds are useless on an airplane. I can tolerate engine noise; it's the screaming infant three rows back that creates the headaches. And the noise-cancelling of the BOSE doesn't do anything for that. The Bose are calibrated to eliminate certain noises, so machinery and equipment are deadened. I can't say what the iPod air buds will do, because I haven't been able to travel by air since getting them for Christmas in 2019. The COVID-thing.

    As for whether it will distract you, if you already listen to music (or books, PODcasts, etc) when you turn, that is already part of your environment. Like white noise. So if you don't already do any of those, trying to listen to something in your ear will likely cause a distraction. Me, I listen to classical, or instrumental jazz most often. Without words, the music is in the background, but doesn't prevent me from focusing on the turning, or hearing an odd sound that makes me stop the lathe and check BEFORE something goes bad.
     
  23. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    So nice to see you here Donna! Welcome to the forum. I'm the one who accepted your application, I did not need to search to make sure you were a valid woodturner! Aloha from Maui
     
  24. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Woodturning is like driving a car for me, I can listen to a podcast, usually Joe Rogan, LOL, and turn at the same time.
     
  25. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    The Comply ear tips I use with my Bose earbuds provide passive noise reduction. The passive and active noise reduction is additive. My subjective opinion is that total NR is about 50% passive and 50% active. In any case once in a while I forget to switch the Bose on and don't generally realize the mistake until I go to switch them off. But Bose on is substantially more effective.

    I don't multitask well and don't listen to any audio sources when working. The Bose input jack is not connnected to anything. In fact I keep the Bose's little box in a small Ziploc to keep away some of the dust.
     
  26. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    Actually measuring noise reduction is impossible outside of a laboratory. And results from any particular experiment may not apply to every ear cannal. All we can really go on is our subjective experience.

    To that end I tried to experiment with wearing shooters ear muffs over the Bose wired earbuds, but no matter how much I tried to put enough slack in the wires the muffs kept tugging the buds out.

    Yeah, worse than that, by selectively dampening the white noise, noise cancelling devices will in theory improve the clarity of child's cry.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020 at 8:51 PM

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