Welding with ear protection?

steelsoldiers

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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.
 

armytruck63

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Having had a ruptured ear drum, I can only imagine how your ear felt.

I had a friend drip gasoline in his ear while removing a VW engine. He was in excruciating pain and had to be taken to the ER. They gave him some pain meds and flushed his ear canal with a mineral oil solution.
 
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doskiez

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Ouch, I cant imagine how much that would hurt as a fellow welder. It reminds me of the time I was drilling into an exhaust manifold to put a pyro gague in my old truck. I had a face shield and safety glasses on but some how a sliver of metal bounced around and made it into my eye. Luckily someone was there to pull it out for me.
 

dozer1

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That would be a terrible thing to have happen. I am glad to hear that your hearing has recovered. I have had chunks of dirt, rust, and whatever else fall in my ears while under a vehicle. Now at 46 I am finally learning to use ear muffs , not only for there intended purpose of saving your hearing from sound, but also debris.
 

DeucesWild11

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I have had many close calls with Chainsaws, weed wackers, etc. but the wakeup call for me was when I was cutting sheetrock with a dremel around some pocket lights and some metal shavings got in my eye not one.. three. Then after an agonizing eve I went to a doctor in the am and had her take them out. She kept telling me not to blink as she was poking me in the eye... yeah try and not blink when someone's poking you in the eye.. yeah i'll try and get my hart to stop beating for a min too! Needless to say she got it out and I am still 20/20.. Thank god.
 

deuceaid

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same thing happened to my friends brother... Also watch out wearing any poly blends of shirts, same friend had a co worker walk up to him and tell him his shirt was on fire... it was a thick shirt so he didnt feel the heat right away....
 

huntnfool

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I had a similar experience using a cutting torch underneath a truck. A piece of hot slag went into my ear canal , HOLY SH#T DID THAT HURT! My doctor said that it blistered my ear drum,but that I would be fine, but I have lost a small portion of my hearing in that ear. I now use ear protection when using the torch, welder, and grinder! I hope that my painful experience can save someone else some misery.
 

goldneagle

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I have had many close calls with Chainsaws, weed wackers, etc. but the wakeup call for me was when I was cutting sheetrock with a dremel around some pocket lights and some metal shavings got in my eye not one.. three. Then after an agonizing eve I went to a doctor in the am and had her take them out. She kept telling me not to blink as she was poking me in the eye... yeah try and not blink when someone's poking you in the eye.. yeah i'll try and get my hart to stop beating for a min too! Needless to say she got it out and I am still 20/20.. Thank god.
I had to have metal shaving taken out of my eye. The doctor used a numbing solution to kill the pain and I didn't even feel her poking into my eye to get the fine pieces out. Prettiest doctor I ever had. I told her she was a site for sore eyes!
 

Bill W

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Dang Chris
My ear hurts just from reading your post, especially the sizzling part !!
 

zout

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Yup - done that many a time and have survived the incident. Excruciating is a good word for it.

In my tool box I had a big jar of Silvadine Burn cream - it looked like I had leopracy some days after coming home. I hated wearing my leathers and usually only wear one glove (on the non stinger hand).

I am a perfect example of how not to weld for safety

When you are in a loaded garbage truck that has broken a crush cylinder pin or mount and you have to climb inside to make the repair - it is unwise to torch the maggots that are there cause believe it or not - it makes the smell even worse - but you should hear them babies sizzle an pop. The liquid that would drop from them is worse than battery acid and it takes a long time to get the stinch out of your skin.
 

Beerslayer

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I have had the hot slag in the ear too. Man, that's painful, and usually you can't get away from it. Never thought of wearing plugs, that's a good idea.

The first thing you learn when welding overhead is to tough it out and see if it is something really big that is going to keep burning, or something little that will just quench itself right away on your skin.
 

Welder Sam

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wear ear plugs and they melt when hot chunks get in there. i weld full time and have for 16 years. i wear foam plugs all the time but i also wear a real hood and keep my head back from the welding surface.
 

M35A2-AZ

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The same thing happen to me many years ago. From that point on I alway swear ear plugs. Can never be to safe.
Plus with the grinder you need them anyway.
 

F18hornetM

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Done the same thing. Have been welding for 30+ years and its not fun. With welding helmet doesnt happen much, but have done it more with spatter from cutting metal under something... Also had hot slag fall down the back of my boot once, wearing shorts squatted down, that was not fun..left 2 nice scars..the worst yet was run a 4 1/2 grinder up my left thumb, 10 sticthes later and lots of doc scrubbing grinding wheel particles out of nice trench in my hand, I always wear gloves grinding now. Truth of the matter is, the more you do, the more chances things will happen. But if you'll wear the personal protection equipment, like ear plugs, gloves, correct safety glasses, and not shorts..it lessens the chances and if something does happen, and it will, the damage will be less..oh yeah and metal out of the eyes..oh 3-4 times, and everytime I was WEARING safety glasses. I now wear face shields more than safety glasses..I have shade 5 for cutting with torch or plasma and clear for grinding. Just some thoughts, really cant be too carefull
 

tcody

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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.
Slag injuries to the ear can be a minor pain to a life long problem. If the slag only gets to the ear canal only - it is just painful, but will usually heal. If the slag hits the ear drum it will cauterize the ear drum as it goes through and often leave a permanent hole in the ear drum. By itself this may cause a little hearing loss or a lot of hearing loss depending on the size and location of the hole. A hole in the drum can also cause some long term problems with recurrent drainage or the development of a cyst in the ear that is a real problem to fix. If you are not lucky in addition to injury to the ear drum you may have permanent hearing loss or deafness and major problems with balance - although this usually goes away. Finally, depending on the type of welding, you may be exposed to noise over 85dB which can, by itself cause permanent damage over time. Best practice is to put some moldable plugs in the ears and wear eye protection. It just isn't worth the health risk IMHO!
 

steve6x6x6

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I have been welding for 40+ years in fab shops and my own shop, wish i had used ear protection. The mig i have is setup for spary transfer, three gas mix 225 amps of .035 at 480 inchs per minute of wire, it has a crackling sound. I now have tinnitus - ring of the ears- and getting worse. I use ear plugs now but it is too late for me, but not for you, cover up.
 

m16ty

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Slag injuries to the ear can be a minor pain to a life long problem. If the slag only gets to the ear canal only - it is just painful, but will usually heal. If the slag hits the ear drum it will cauterize the ear drum as it goes through and often leave a permanent hole in the ear drum. By itself this may cause a little hearing loss or a lot of hearing loss depending on the size and location of the hole. A hole in the drum can also cause some long term problems with recurrent drainage or the development of a cyst in the ear that is a real problem to fix. If you are not lucky in addition to injury to the ear drum you may have permanent hearing loss or deafness and major problems with balance - although this usually goes away. Finally, depending on the type of welding, you may be exposed to noise over 85dB which can, by itself cause permanent damage over time. Best practice is to put some moldable plugs in the ears and wear eye protection. It just isn't worth the health risk IMHO!
I've got a boilermaker friend that burnt a hole in his eardrum. Doc says he'll fight it all his life. Can't hardly hear out of that ear, drainage, it will get infected if he gets any water in there, and air blowing into his ear drives him crazy. He wears cotton in that ear to keep the air out.

Last summer I had a live Japanese beetle go into my ear while mowing the grass and it chewed it's way through my eardrum. Worst pain I ever felt. After that it got infected and after about 3 months my hearing was back to mostly normal. The Doc said I would have some permanent hearing loss in that ear but it's not enough to notice.
 

DHennon

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I, too, had gas drip into my ear while removing an engine from a VW. The pain was intense, and had the same hospital vist.

I always wear ear protection when working around cars and trucks. That was an experience I do not want to re-live.
 
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