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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    254

    Default ear plugs and slag

    Recently Ive been doing a good bit of overhead welding but have been using ear plugs b/c of shop noise. The subject of sparks/slag in the ears came up and a few guys said they use plugs all the time mostly to keep foriegn objects out. I wonder though how well foam plugs are going to do against slag. Ive had blobs go thru heavy pants like they werent there, wander down my leg and burn a big hole in my heavy socks. How really well is a foam plug going to absorb something like that? In fact it seems as though they might cause more trouble as they turn the foam to a hot liquid. Apart from muffs what really works?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Cave Creek Az
    Posts
    973

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    If you have a 3/16" ball of molten metal going into your ear you may want to work on technique. Foam ear plugs seem to work just fine at keeping sparks out. Also use your welders cap and spin it so the bill is over you up side ear. I have never had an issue while I had ear plugs in, or my welding cap on.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sweetwater, TX
    Posts
    201

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by walker View Post
    If you have a 3/16" ball of molten metal going into your ear you may want to work on technique. Foam ear plugs seem to work just fine at keeping sparks out. Also use your welders cap and spin it so the bill is over you up side ear. I have never had an issue while I had ear plugs in, or my welding cap on.
    +1 on turning my welding cap to cover my ear that is up.

    Never had a problem with sparks in my ear. I have never worn ear plugs while welding. If you have hot metal going in your ear, then you have a problem like Walker said regardless if you had ear plugs in or not. It helps to have a hood that provides lots of coverage. I have yet to find another hood that seems to provide as much protective coverage as the Jackson hoods.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    24

    Default

    Plugs are there primarily to protect hearing from nerve-damaging noise, but a side benefit is to block foreign object entry. This is especially important when the wind is blowing sparks in your face. Never had an ear plug light off in my ear, but plenty of holes in my FR clothes, gloves, hoods, boots, cape & bib, socks and even cap.

    Only slag-burn I ever had was a 7018 chip bouncing off the ceiling and lodging between a leather collar and neck meat.

    As always, just my humble experience.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Andover, Ohio
    Posts
    82

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    Very good tip Walker.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    northern NJ
    Posts
    1,841

    Default

    I always wear ear plugs with my engine drive for noise protection. The added benefit is stopping hot sparks from entering your ear. It only has to happen once to understand how painful it can be. In the shop I don't wear them unless welding out of position or doing something very loud. In my experience foam ear plugs work well & I've never had a blob big enough to cause the foam to melt.

    I also have ear muffs for heavy hammering because they deaden the sound even more but they wouldn't work with a helmet.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    asheville n.c.
    Posts
    618

    Default

    I wear earplugs connected to my phone. Listen to music

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Wa
    Posts
    550

    Default

    Getting slag and mig spatter in your ear is no joke. That hurts like a real man pain. Only happened once, and I sure learned my lesson. I try to not point any ears north when welding out of position now, but I would really like to get a new helmet with better coverage.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    254

    Default

    I had thought of radio plugs but didnt know how emitted welding radiation would play w/ the phone. Also they dont muffle loud noises well unless the music is up loud...and that sort of defeats part of the purpose. I think listening to music would be great instead of the voices in my head.

    Ive never had sparks/slag in my ears. Occassionally they run down my sleeves and Im not sure how they make their way in. Its certainly uncomrtable on the arms. Im sure in the ears would be really painful. I too keep my ears from pointing N.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sweetwater, TX
    Posts
    201

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HayFarmer View Post
    I had thought of radio plugs but didnt know how emitted welding radiation would play w/ the phone.
    The radiation from welding is not going to be high enough to affect your phone, I'd be more worried about the sparks and slag adding a nice crater to your phone case or screen. Now if your using high frequency tig, then the electrical RF could possibly couple to your long head phone wires like an antenna and cause noise in the music your listening to. I haven't tried it since I don't have a tig unit, but that would be my guess on it.

    As far as the radiation, I use my phone for calculating averages when calibrating radiation detection equipment and there are many times it is set on the range table in the field of the Cs137 source beam. If radiation affected my phone I'm sure my phone would already be experiencing the affects.

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