All Replies on ear plugs?

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View cherylf's profile

ear plugs?

by cherylf
posted 02-21-2009 05:55 PM

35 replies so far

View Randy Moseley's profile

Randy Moseley

113 posts in 3439 days

#1 posted 02-21-2009 06:04 PM

I use the ear muff type hearing protectors when using most of my bigger tools. The router table is a good example. I swear that thing is louder than a jet engine when I have a cabinet bit in it. Also, the table saw has a whine that is tough on the ears so it’s good to wear ear protection as well. I don’t bother with protection with my drill press or hand drills or sanders. They’re not all that noisy. The ear muff type protection is easier to use since you can take them off and put them on very easily.

A side note – protect your eyes, too. And a dust mask when sanding is recommended (for me, especially when I’m sanding walnut!). Good luck, and good to hear you’re feeling better.

-- Randy, DeKalb, Illinois

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3815 days

#2 posted 02-21-2009 06:04 PM

I wear mickey mouse ear head sets. I have a couple of pair around the shop. They are easy to find and (usually) lying near the loud tools.

Router, Band Saw, Planer, Jointer, RAS.

My Cabinet saw isn’t that loud but I wear the ears anyway.

-- Scott - Chico California

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3815 days

#3 posted 02-21-2009 06:06 PM

Wow we were all typing at the same time. Looks like I hit enter last.

-- Scott - Chico California

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3680 days

#4 posted 02-21-2009 06:36 PM

Foamies are nice sometimes, I prefer the kind you get for shooting guns, that slip in and have a bit more protection, if I’m going that route. Mostly though, I’ll use full ear protection. Yes, as someone who didn’t start until this last year with ear protection around tools, it’s a must! My hearing has been terrible for the last five years or so, as a result.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4218 days

#5 posted 02-21-2009 06:58 PM

I have a set of muffs, but am guilty of not putting them on all the time. My hearing is already shot from too many years playing in a band when I was younger.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4161 days

#6 posted 02-21-2009 07:07 PM

I use the muff type ear protection when I am working in the shop. I do not like the ear plugs, just because they are uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. I use the muffs for all tools so I can protect my hearing as much as possible. Even with drill presses, sanders, etc. Having the same steady drone for hours can cause hearing damage as well as the very loud and high pitched sounds . Protect what you have for as long as you can is my motto.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4127 days

#7 posted 02-21-2009 07:17 PM

From the other side of LumberJocking:

My “shop” is mostly the great outdoors.
Most of my tools are me-powered.
That way I can enjoy the sounds of nature.
Besides, wood comes from nature and I want to meet it on its own terms.

Oh yeah, I do own several chainsaws, a band saw and a couple of drill presses.
When using these, milspec ear and eye protection are in order.

Heck when using a motorized log tenoning machine, I’ve gone to using a full face and head protector.
It was at the suggestion of my dentist after a minor accident. <grin>

Play hard but play safe.

-- 温故知新

View doyoulikegumwood's profile


384 posts in 3992 days

#8 posted 02-21-2009 07:30 PM

i wear my shooting ear muffs their the kind with sound so when i shut off what ever im useing i can hear agine their kind of nice but pricey i got mine @ just throwing that up incase you want a good deal on any pair or muffs thier like an online surplus store. one last thing the most profound thing i ever heard on safety the best piece of safety gear you can have is the one you’ll use.

-- I buy tools so i can make more money,so ican buy more tools so I can work more, to make more money, so I can buy more tool, so I can work more

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4053 days

#9 posted 02-21-2009 07:31 PM

I’ve got a set of ear muffs for shooting that I use intermittently when the planer is on. Intermittently means hardly ever…........excuse me,did you say

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View rowdy's profile


375 posts in 3442 days

#10 posted 02-21-2009 07:40 PM

I wear ear muffs most of the time, especially in the winter. They help keep my ears warm in my cold shop!

-- Rowdy in Kechi, Kansas

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3471 days

#11 posted 02-21-2009 07:45 PM

You only need ear protection if you want to hear what everyone else that wears ear protection hears when they aren’t wearing ear protection.

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 3888 days

#12 posted 02-21-2009 08:18 PM

I believe damage to hearing is a cummulative thing. I have always found the ear plugs that go into my ear to be uncomfortable and haven’t tried ear muff types. I got “ZEM hearing protection from the Woodcraft store. The protectors are comfortable to wear, can be hung around my neck when not in use and seems to cut down considerable on the noise.

However, wearing ear muff protection in a cold workshop a good idea.

Whatever device you get, the important thing is to protect your hearing.


View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3462 days

#13 posted 02-21-2009 08:20 PM

I use the soft plugs. After working around sirens all day I got in the habit. I usually use them whenever I have a tool on. It also helps to muffle the shouting from the LOML!!

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3691 days

#14 posted 02-21-2009 08:49 PM

i use muffs and plugs i like to hear things when i get older lol…......

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View Bureaucrat's profile


18339 posts in 3652 days

#15 posted 02-21-2009 09:42 PM

I use the foamys for any occasion where I will be around loud noises (keep them in the night stand in case the LOML has a loud night), When I turn on any of the high whine power tools, I use muffs as well.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3558 days

#16 posted 02-21-2009 09:50 PM

Well my hearing is shot anyway from all those years of running a lawnmower shop about 30 years ago. That’s why the LOML has to holler to get my attention. But to put it all into perspective, I should wear hearing protection more often than not. When around loud machines I do use ear muffs.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View lew's profile


12061 posts in 3755 days

#17 posted 02-22-2009 01:52 AM


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Quixote's profile


206 posts in 3638 days

#18 posted 02-22-2009 02:05 AM

Hey… Lew took my punch line…

Seriously though, what Barry has to say is excellent advice.

I am not afraid to “double plug”. that is to use foam and ear muffs with some equipment, it’s a habit I brought home from the firing range.

A side benefit is that plugs or muffs can keep debris from entering your ear, and while sawdust isn’t a big problem, it’s a good habit if you’re welding or grinding metal,,, hot sparks hurt…

I already have some loss from the cumulative effects of equipment and high impulse sound, I don’t want to lose anymore. The hearing loss I have could have been prevented with the use of a only few dollars worth of protective gear, but can’t be restored with any amount of money.

Be safe.


-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View pitchnsplinters's profile


262 posts in 3438 days

#19 posted 02-22-2009 03:12 AM

ZEM, simply the best.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3765 days

#20 posted 02-22-2009 03:30 AM

Years ago, I was fortunate to get assigned to shoot (that’s photograph) the Spring Nationals at Thunder Valley (drag racing). For you that don’t know, Thunder Valley is in Bristol TN. It’s right beside the NASCAR track. Anyway, before I left for the shoot, I picked up a pair of ear muffs. Very good idea on my part. I was on the starting line, less that 30’ from these monsters blasting off. I’m not sure how many events I worked at the track, but I’m sure there were many. I still use those muffs in the shop. I use the foam things too, but they don’t help near as much as the muffs. I’m a little (well a lot) deaf in one ear (too much rock n roll in the 70s), so I need to keep what I can. Protect your ears just as you would protect your eyes.
- JJ

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3988 days

#21 posted 02-22-2009 04:12 AM

I use ear muffs for anything that is loud or anything that is not that loud but I will be using for an extended period of time.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3787 days

#22 posted 02-22-2009 04:13 AM

I have a jar of the foamies for visitors, but I use good ear muffs. (Also have muffs for visitors that want them) Once you lose the hearing it doesn’t come back. I worked over 35 years on jet aircraft flightlines, and only suffered a little high-pitched loss from that (used foamies AND earmuffs for engine run-ups, etc, ) but I also lost 60% hearing in one ear thanks to a 120mm mortar back in 1969. Just the loss in one ear makes it hard to understand what people are saying to you, and it gets worse as you age.

Use whichever is most comfortable, but use something for any noise loud enough that you can’t comfortably converse with someone next to you.



-- Go

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3723 days

#23 posted 02-22-2009 05:20 AM

Depends on what I am doing: foamies if I am not too dirty and ear muffs when I am (it isn’t good to stick a dirty foamy in your ear.) I always use some type of hearing protection though when ever doing anything that is loud – a carry over from my Navy days.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4400 days

#24 posted 02-22-2009 05:32 AM

I use full ear muffs. I have about 5 pairs spread around the shop. I use them for everything, except talking on the phone. I might take them off when i go to the bathroom also. But, they are comfortable and I usually forget about them.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3892 days

#25 posted 02-22-2009 05:49 AM

I wear ear muffs when I’m running my planer.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3526 days

#26 posted 02-22-2009 05:55 AM

When I am at work (woodshop teacher) I have foamies in most of the time that my dust collection system is on. My shop is small but has a better then average dust collection system that is very loud. I always have foamies or full ear muffs when using the router or when more then one sander is running. Half-a-dozen palm sanders being used by 7th graders will give you a head-ache today and a hearing problem in the future.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1285 posts in 3737 days

#27 posted 02-22-2009 06:04 AM

I always wear ear muffs. Most tools will run at the level where ear muffs should be worn.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3761 days

#28 posted 02-22-2009 06:23 AM

According to OSHA, permanent hearing damage begins to accelerate at 85dBA. I think the key word that we have to emphasize here is “permanent” – it doesn’t get much more final than that! There are a great many tools and accessories in shops today that exceed that threshold level, especially those powered by universal type electric motors.

Peltor makes a good hearing protector, the Ultimate 10, that has a noise reduction rating of 30 decibels. the cost is around $22 at . Midway also has electronic type ear protectors that permit normal speech to be heard, but then electronically cut off noise levels exceeding 85 dBA. Foam type protectors are not nearly as effective. Good hearing protection is easily with everyone’s pocketbook.

One of the unique features of my “Workshop in the Woods” in the Upper Peninsula, is that I have a 100 yard rifle range right out the door. Therefore, I always have a good supply of hearing protectors in the shop, as friends and neighbors often stop by to sight in their rifles.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3442 days

#29 posted 02-22-2009 07:07 AM

For me personally a good set of earmuffs are better than plugs but make sure that you get a really comfy set that works with visors or glasses otherwise you tend to avoid using them. After I stopped working in furniture factories I spent some time in some really quite places recharging my batteries and was amazed at the ringing noise I could hear in my ears so I guess some damage has been done. pony up the cash for the best it,s worth it.

8iowa have you ever gotten pissed with a project and used it as target practice? just curious

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View raymo's profile


3 posts in 3650 days

#30 posted 02-22-2009 02:52 PM

huh what did you say 32yrs heavy const. commercial and industrial hardly ever wore ear protection bunch of sissys but then again can,t hear myself fart so maybe you should

View garysharp's profile


119 posts in 3480 days

#31 posted 02-22-2009 07:21 PM

Cheryl, I use Peltor 30 decibels ear protection ALLLLLLLLL the time and always have. I make everone in my shop ware them even the old guys. I make the old guys mad when I tell them that not only can I hear a pen drop on to a cookie sheet, but I can hear it if you make it roll! Oh by the way I was born in 1943.

-- Garysharp "When sharpening woodworking tools, good enough,...isn't" “Your life’s complete only when your knowledge passes on”.

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3924 days

#32 posted 02-22-2009 09:03 PM

I hate to say it but I had a set of ZEM and they were usless. I was around a Hydraulic presses and had to get ear muffs.

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3924 days

#33 posted 02-22-2009 09:12 PM

I was an OSHA coordinator and delt with this, its been a while, 10 years. But the 85bds that OSHA is referring to is on a time weighted average (85 db may be ok from a distance with short exposure). Its 110 db where you will get hearing damage for a short periods of exposure. But I always recomended just ware them all the time if you were going to run any shop equipment

View woodyoda's profile


117 posts in 3457 days

#34 posted 02-22-2009 10:28 PM

With all these posts, I think you get the message, If you want your hearing in the future, wear plug or muffs
or both.
since the work I do is based on relieving trauma, we have found that the trauma of loud noises causes your hearing to be “shut down” and not actually LOST. When you work around people say…..cutting steel stud material, after a while you don’t really notice how nasty that sound is…your body has shut down those sound receptors, so you don’t hear those sounds in that range…..Doctors will tell you, you have lost hearing in those ranges…..but by getting rid of the trauma from that brings the hearing back….. I’ve done this work with eyesight also…..they both improve…...............................yoda

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3526 days

#35 posted 02-23-2009 05:21 AM

Yes, wear hearing protection but also remember that you don’t get that “I am deadly” sound from your equipment that you would without them. Cover your ears, cover your nose and watch out where your fingers are, we like hearing from you!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

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