I have always been good about wearing a shield when I am welding. I usually use an auto-darkening unit, which works well in most situations, unless I'm in a tight spot. I don't usually have ear protection on unless I am going to be grinding for an extended period, but I may change my habits after what happened a few weeks ago. I was laying on a creeper under the humvee tacking exhaust pipes into position when a chunk of weld spatter popped off, went down my ear canal and began to sizzle on my ear drum. The pain was horrible, but I couldn't do anything but yell at that point. It has taken the better part of 3 weeks for my hearing to get back to normal in that ear. So, please be careful when welding in confined spaces. You may want to consider wearing ear muffs or putting in some plugs. I know I'll be using something the next time I'm welding under my rig.