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Workshops have 2 things in common, dust and noise and the more you can reduce both of these, the healthier it is. We all know that controlling dust is a priority, but we seldom think much about controlling noise. Audiologists and Eat Doctors tell us the noise above 85 decibels will cause hearing loss and even something like a 90 decibel sustained noise, like the sound of an idling motor, over time will cause hearing loss. And we all know the the louder the noise the more damage it will do.
I always wear hearing protection (and eye protection) even when I am just making a quick small cut. It does 2 things for me, if helps preserve my hearing, and it makes me slow down, take my time so I don't cause myself an injury.
When I am cutting wood on the table saw, planing wood or jointing wood, it is often in runs. There are normally several pieces so for those I don't mind using hearing protection, but when all the cutting and sanding and trimming is done and now it's time for the assembly, NOW is the time I don't want to have wear hearing protection any longer. I want to enjoy the assembly process.
But if I am using a compressor, and one of my favorite air tools, a 23 gauge pinner, if the compressor is LOUD it's still imperative for me to wear hearing protection. And THAT is why I have updated my compressor to one of the new Quiet Versions that have come on the market in the past few years.
I recently sold my older very loud compressor to a roofer, who uses it outside and doesn't care because it's far away from him and suits his work perfectly. For me, in my workshop it was way too loud ...