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Discussion Starter #1
I have very sensitive ears and I just want to know if I'll need one if ever I operate my future tractor. I'm planning to buy a pair of custom earplugs like this on the video below from these Big Ear guys my husband met at a motorcycle show last month. How about you? do you use hearing protection?

Thanks!


 

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Never been a fan of ear plugs. Just can't get comfortable with something stuck in my ear. I always use the 3M, Peltor or Howard Leight ear muffs. Have two types with radio so when I'm on the tractor or using brush cutter/trimmer I listen to tunes, but in shop just use standard muffs. Too much spinning, cutting closeup work to be distracted. Same with chainsaw work, Helmet with face screen and standard muffs. Know many younger folks don't like the muffs. Had my niece say they look dorky, but at 74, what the heck do I care what others think? They work for me.
MikeC
 

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Rich
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I wear hearing aids when I mow:) Probably if I used hearing protection when younger I wouldn't need them. Hearing aids do provide some hearing protection. Wear muffs sometimes when using something really noisy like a Cyclone Rake or chain saw.
 

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AmyJ23, it is always nice when you post something like this that you include the price tag, custom made implies a high price tag. Personally, I don't wear any type of hearing protection unless the noise levels are a constant high level that I intend to be working in for some length of time. As a former bicycle rider and currently a recumbent pedal tricycle pilot, I would never even contemplate using either hearing protection nor sound masking (radio or tunes) while traveling on the roads. Incredibly stupid idea akin to the Darwin Awards. Motorcycle riders are in a rather difficult position as they tend to be in two camps: One favors being heard and the other favors being seen. Neither one works 100% all the time especially with motor vehicle drivers having an active cell phone present in the vehicle.

I've also worked in manufacturing facilities as a maintenance mechanic repairing the machinery. Being able to hear the machinery is crucial to differentiate the sounds of normal operation and something wrong. Same applies to mowing. Mainly since I'm going to be the one to fix it as I don't have the money to have others do that.

A properly maintained push or riding lawnmower (tractor) will have neither the harmful noise levels nor the time of exposure to require hearing protection. AmyJ23, since you have stated that you have very sensitive hearing, you would likely need hearing protection to reduce or even block the noise levels.
 

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1horse
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Cheap $3.99 muffs over a baseball cap work for me. No sunburn ears, no wind whistling thru :tango_face_wink:, plus enough "light-duty" hearing protection with the ability to yet hear some.
 

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I like this type of earplug. They have a "handle" to put in and pull out. The cord hangs around your neck so they are always available. 3M E-A-R ultra. You can put them in for big noises and take them out for listening. I found them when working for the Forest Service flying around fires in helicopters.
 

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I always wear ear protection - trying not to be one of the older guys that is always saying "what???" or has tinnitis someday.

I'm not a fan of the in-ear plugs, so I wear ear muffs. It sounds like experiences vary, but I've found I can hear issues with machinery better with ear protection. I think they drown out the constant roar, so the squeaks, whines, and bangs are more obvious.
 

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The E-A-R plugs above are more comfortable to me than the expanding foam type. They are very soft and conforming. You can push them in as needed to vary the amount of noise reduction. I agree with TWG1572 that you can identify problem clunks and noises but reduce the constant roar when using earplugs or earmuffs.
For some reason Americans seem to have an aversion to safety gear that is commonly used in most other places of the world. I'm not sure why that is, maybe just the renegade pioneer spirit. But I know lots of people missing fingers and limbs and that can't hear a thing because they rejected safety devices. I was watching a reality show last night where a guy was using a table saw on a small piece of wood that I would have surely either sawed off my fingers or caught the kickback in my eye...AAArrrggghh! All the time he kept saying how he was not very good with power tools - DUH!
 

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The E-A-R plugs above are more comfortable to me than the expanding foam type. They are very soft and conforming. You can push them in as needed to vary the amount of noise reduction. I agree with TWG1572 that you can identify problem clunks and noises but reduce the constant roar when using earplugs or earmuffs.
For some reason Americans seem to have an aversion to safety gear that is commonly used in most other places of the world. I'm not sure why that is, maybe just the renegade pioneer spirit. But I know lots of people missing fingers and limbs and that can't hear a thing because they rejected safety devices. I was watching a reality show last night where a guy was using a table saw on a small piece of wood that I would have surely either sawed off my fingers or caught the kickback in my eye...AAArrrggghh! All the time he kept saying how he was not very good with power tools - DUH!
Aversion to safety gear? No, I certainly wouldn't say that. What I would say is that many companies here in the U.S. resort to the "one size fits all" in regards to safety apparel and that has to be the absolute cheapest in bulk. Does it fit correctly and does it actually work are concerns usually ignored by the company. Proper training is also a relic of the not too distant past.
 

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Aversion to safety gear? No, I certainly wouldn't say that. What I would say is that many companies here in the U.S. resort to the "one size fits all" in regards to safety apparel and that has to be the absolute cheapest in bulk. Does it fit correctly and does it actually work are concerns usually ignored by the company. Proper training is also a relic of the not too distant past.
Maybe "aversion" is the wrong word, but your company example illustrates what I am talking about. The difference between "this could really help me/my company/ avoid some hazard" and "we're doing it because OSHA says we have to" results in the attitude and management problems you cite. That bleeds down (pun intended) to workers that don't get the proper gear and end up saying "what the heck" and keep working.
The training thing is real, too. As a forester I have seen many a tree cut down for firewood by weekend loggers. Based on the observed falling technique, I am amazed there aren't more firewood cutters found under the tree they just cut. i.e. if you cut the tree on an angle facing the direction you want it to fall...NOPE!
 

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I like muffs. Plugs get lost or dirty from grubby fingers. Plugs are easily stored in a pocket when not in use. Can use ear buds or Work Tunes with muffs. Sometimes I use both, like operating ALL DAY or a loud piece of equipment or shooting my .50 cal. Muffs do suck on hot humid days, but they’re awesome in the winter. The only ear plugs I can use are the foam ones. I use the foamies at work all the time.
Another bummer with muffs is they hurt when wearing glasses, which I always do (prescription safety, standard safety w/ contacts, or regular prescription glasses).
 

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I wear hearing protection now while doing any loud activity--The above pictured plugs work best for me. Keep several sets and a set of muffs hanging on the wall right next to the weedeater and blower. Along with heavy gloves and safety glasses--
Have worn hearing aids for last 10/12 years because of loud noises and NO protection for years and years in the 'working world'--big trucks (no A/C back then) / metalworker machine in a shop--running heavy construction equipment--oh, don't forget the LOUD rock and Roll music in my youth. ...A/C-D/C just ain't right unless it's cranked.......

tango_face_sad: That's my own fault/stupidity.

glenn
 

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I like listening to music, so I have Airpods in my ears, then I have earmuff style hearing protection over them. I buy the ones with the highest DB reduction rating, that will fit on my head (I'm 6'5", with possibly a swollen head, or so I'm sometimes told, and some headsets don't adjust enough to comfortably go over both ears).
 

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I wear hearing protection now while doing any loud activity--The above pictured plugs work best for me. Keep several sets and a set of muffs hanging on the wall right next to the weedeater and blower. Along with heavy gloves and safety glasses--
Have worn hearing aids for last 10/12 years because of loud noises and NO protection for years and years in the 'working world'--big trucks (no A/C back then) / metalworker machine in a shop--running heavy construction equipment--oh, don't forget the LOUD rock and Roll music in my youth. ...A/C-D/C just ain't right unless it's cranked.......

tango_face_sad: That's my own fault/stupidity.

glenn
In total agreement, been wearing hearing aids for about 9 years now. Wish I had worn hearing protection and that the company I worked for had stressed it more. I lost about 60% of my hearing due to this.
Protect your ears, wear the muffs, plugs or whatever.
 

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I use earplugs or earmuffs all the time depending on the job and conditions. Hot and muggy? Earplugs. In the garage and cutting steel, or sharpening a chain? earmuffs.

I use these cheap earmuffs from Harbor freight and they work great.


My work gives out all different kinds of earplugs. I find these work best and feel the most-comfortable.


As with any earplugs, taking the time to install correctly is key, or you lose sound dampening and they can make your ears hurt.
 

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I didn't protect my hearing for too many years and now have loss and tinnitus. The audiologist said the range I am weak in is caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises. I don't like the plugs, they irritate my ear canal plus I keep losing the dang things, but used Peltors when running the riding mower. The deck had a whine that was the right pitch to be irritating. I could never get the cheap muffs to fit comfortably.
 

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I was never a fan of any safety equipment until we had a guy killed on the job...through his own stupidity...now I always use safety equipment...I won't even go to Lowes or Home Depot without steel toe shoes ( saw a guy wearing sandals picking through lumber smash his toes with a piece of wood that he dropped) ....I did tree work when I was younger and some of the guys I worked with continued doing it without hearing protection....they all need hearing aids and have tinnitus...eye protection and hearing protection may seem silly...but its importance can't be over emphasized
 

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I didn't wear any for mowing until I was in my late 20's (I'm 52 now). I first started wearing the muffs but eventually moved to the foam plugs for various reasons, some already mentioned (muffs got sweaty, cracked plastic cushion, slid around when wearing a winter hat, and uncomfortable with some glasses).

Since about 40 I've used the plugs for any loud equipment - power tools, chainsaw, weed whacker, even the air compressor. My ears have actually always been over-sensitive and as I get older it gets worse...I can't even be in the bathroom when my wife has her hair dryer on, LOL!

I also managed to get tinnitus somewhere along the line - about 10 years now, I think. It's not attributed to any specific event or habits I had - it just showed up one day. Some days I hardly notice it but sometimes (like now when I'm thinking about it), it's quite annoying!
 

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I attribute my tinnitus, which is definitely annoying, to my service days as a mortar gunner which included many loud explosions. Not to make it even worse, I always wear a 3M protective ear muff, which does a great job quieting all the loud engines I use.
 
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