owwht

Historic Demo Ear Plugs

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Hello All,

I've been reading on the forum for a while but this is my first post. 

I work for a historic site where while demoing we need to be able to hear and talk to the public. I have been looking for some ear protection that will allow me to hear and speak with guests more easily, be discrete as we are in a historic space, and give me some protection from the anvil ring. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I have been looking at these but was curious whether anyone has had any experience with them. Earpeace HD - Musicians Ear Plugs

Thanks!

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Mute the anvil's ring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Use skin coloured foam plugs. Wear your hair long over the ears.

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The ring of the anvil you can easily control.  Couple of wraps of loose light weight chain to strapping the anvil to the stump, silicone between the anvil and the stump, bedding the anvil in some sand, and the list goes on and on.

You do not say what the source of other noises are. Please give us some details so we can address those.

 

Your hearing, eyesight, and safety (PPE) are more important than trying to be historically accurate.

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Note that silicone caulk can be hidden under the anvil and not visible to the crowd. Also a hand forged chain wrapped around the anvil's waist is also a display piece of what smithing was used for.  For 19th century demo's you may be able to get zero prescription poly carbonate lenses in 19th century styled glasses---not nearly effective as true safety glasses but every little bit helps!

Locations can often be fussy about PPE until they review their liability after forbidding it!  (Then they may be fussy the other way.)  Some places I demo I have a crowd rope to keep people from getting too close----make sure there is a lower one too to slow down kids!  Even better is to make up a set of wattle fence panels (hurdles). Easy and cheap to make; easy to haul and MUCH safer as  kids can't crawl under and they serve as barriers to dropped/flipped work and tools. (Will also work for iron age, medieval through modern times!)

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I wear foam plugs at work that are rated at 32NRR. You can get them in colors that are not noticeable when worn CORRECTLY..... I can put mine in deep enough that people don't notice the bright orange plugs. Too many just push them in, and do not compress them down before using them. There should be just enough sticking out to be able to remove them.

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One of the smiths at Colonial Williamsburg tells me that they are permitted to wear modern PPE, but most of them don't. The noise levels in their shop have been tested and are below the threshold for causing hearing damage (not having machinery helps), and those who wear glasses for vision can get them with safety lenses.

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4 hours ago, owwht said:

I have been looking at these but was curious whether anyone has had any experience with them. Earpeace HD - Musicians Ear Plugs

I looked those up and they are certainly discrete compared to my sound cancelling  earmuffs. Those plugs say they work with noise up to 110 db. 110 is not very high. If you have a power hammer they will probably not be enough. 

Another choice would be to look at what hunters use to cancel the noise and still be able to hear and talk. All of these gadgets are not cheap, but your hearing is worth it.

Do stop the anvil ring. You can have a ringing anvil to attract the crowd and then work on a silent one. And explain the difference and mention that Blacksmiths of old were all deaf and you want to keep your hearing, or words to that effect. :)

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To return to your original question, to this explanation about the possible use of otoplastics. These hearing protectors are custom molded plastics from your ear canal that are equipped with special filters that allow communication but attenuate the dangerous sound frequencies. I use these plastics in my workshop but also with other filters when riding a motorcycle. The great thing about these plastics is that they filter out the harmful sound, but make communication and perception of the ambient sound possible. To the fact that I have forged and grind 25 years plus without hearing protection, I am now partially deaf. In order not to aggravate this situation anymore, I have been wearing this PPE consistently since the last decades. In Belgium and Holland, the production of these customized plastics costs on average between 70 and 100 euros. But it allows you to continue to communicate and protect yourself.
With regard to the source control, I will certainly also use it, fully agreeing with the 'Rubber', 'Silicone' and 'Chain' method, but there are slight doubts about the 'Magnet' solution.

If the average noise level in your workplace is higher than 85 dBa, it is recommended to wear hearing protection anyway. There are currently lots of free Apps for your smartphone to download, so check out Play Store for an application, I compared these outcomes with a calibrated dBa meter and found that these apps are fairly similar.

Pluggerz-Pro-CF-GR-RB-A-tra.jpg

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Wear good hearing protection and lift them to answer questions and talk. If necessary hang a sign letting the audience know you're wearing hearing protection so shout at you or wave to get your attention. If someone at the historic site wants to argue tell them you won't work without PPE PERIOD. YOU aren't hurting for a place to work at the anvil, THEY need demonstrators. The scale is tipped in your favor.

If you don't have your own kit, we'll be more than happy to help you set yourself up. Never, NEVER risk parts of yourself you can't afford to do without. 

Camouflage is easy though, a bandana can be slipped over your ears and cover any plugs you wish. A period cap will cover some impressive ear defenders but you'd need an interpreter to sign spectator questions for you. 

If you really want to go period bees wax has been used for millennia as has wool and other stuffings. 

Quieting the anvil down is good for you and the audience, no sense making spectator's ears ring if you don't have to. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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image.png.1962c9ab52e994487ae3ad0997c36a27.png

I have used these for the past 20 years both in the forge, driving the tractor, shooting and other noisy places. They allow regular conversation and shut out the loud noises. They run around $10 U.S.

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I use the "active noise cancelling" headphones from KOVE. At $200 they are not cheap, but cheaper than those custom made ear canal plugs used by shooters. 

As a bonus they have a bluetooth connection and so you can listen to music, radio or audiobook and still make a racket and hear the music over the noise. Much lighter and comfortable than ordinary earmuffs, and way more effective. 

However ... anything is better than nothing, even cotton wool. 

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Marc1,

I have found that cotton wool alone does not cancel much noise. But in a pinch impregnating the cotton wool with ordinary wax works fine.

I would use it only as a last resort, as other dedicated noise reduction products work much better.

I discovered this when,  years ago,  I visited my beloved dentist and discovered,  to my horror,  that I had not brought foam ear 'stoppels' with me.

The dentist had both substances, in surgery.

I carry the former wherever I go, as I have super acute hearing.

I just learned that it is a recognized medical condition that has a name.

Namely,  "hyperacusis".

It can be a blessing, sometimes,  but more often it is a real curse.

SLAG.

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Just last night I walked into the house after loading till dark and my wife was using the speaker phone on her cell phone while loading the washer. She couldn't hear what her son was saying so from 30' away at the other end of the hall way I yelled what he had said...She damaged her hearing when young---working as a telephone operator with the BAD head sets from way back then and now in her 70's things are getting even worse.

Me I wore hearing protectors mowing lawns, woodworking, driving long trips in a noisy old truck and hear way more than I would like to at times. Ever notice that Doctors seem to think that being on a telephone puts them in a "cone of silence"?

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I've used those also IDF&C they work great for the price. I don't know where mine went but I'd like to get another pair. If I'm doing something that's extremely loud I use the old fashioned ear muffs but the seashell effect bothers me so if it's not necessary I use the soft rubber earplugs. When I was a Banbury operator at the rubber refinery and at the train yard I had to wear both. Earplugs under muffs.

Pnut

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Mr. I. Dragon,

Mr. Spock and  I,  ( a.k.a.  the SLAG),  are not ,  I repeat, not related.

I am an Earthling.  (how prosaic),  he is not.

Respectively submitted,

SLAG.

 

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My little wife has hyperacusis.  I swear, she can hear a gnat pass gas...............at 20 feet!!! :o  I'm really not even kidding.  I'm hearing impaired and she's super sensitive to noise.  We can sit in the swing on our back porch and she complains because the squirrel eating corn in the feeder over 50 feet away is annoying her.  Drives me nuts.  Causes a lot of problems between us.

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Mr. Powers,

I stand corrected.

But we are still not related.

Regards,

SLAG.

 

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On 1/30/2020 at 11:02 PM, SLAG said:

Marc1,

I have found that cotton wool alone does not cancel much noise. But in a pinch impregnating the cotton wool with ordinary wax works fine.

Wax impregnated cotton wool would work a treat of course. I had to resort to improvisation when required to shoot in a pinch, in circumstances that will remain untold, and used to make a plug with masticated paper. Worked rather well. 

I don't think the OP is interested in such last resort measure though. His proposed musician ACN plugs look the part. 

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I can't post a link because I'll be beheaded shortly after the firing squad.  I have some of the most comfortable wax impregnated cotton ear plugs I've ever worn.  Bought them because sometimes in RV campgrounds people don't honor the quiet time rules and get a bit rowdy.  I've a lot of different noise activated plugs I've used for shooting scenarios, but they wouldn't be comfortable to sleep in.  These wax plugs are so comfortable you don't even know you have them in and they work great.  They are made by a company called Beneficial Products, Inc.  (hope I don't get shot over that!)

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7 hours ago, Marc1 said:

had to resort to improvisation

My Chief, (rest his soul) would take 38 special ammo and use them for ear plugs in a pinch. He learned that as a rookie in Freemont CA back in the revolver days, when he & several officers became engaged in a long gun battle with multiple suspects.

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Yes that works too. 7.62 pistol ammo fits my ear duct perfectly ha ha. 

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