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Heteromorph

I know that eye protection, padded gloves for hammering to reduce harmful vibrations, and many other safety measures have been oft repeated on this forum to guard against injury, but I haven't seen much about ear protection specifically in regards to fossil hunting.

 

First, an unnecessary backstory:

 

I recently came to the realization that I have tinnitus and, being a bit of a hypochondriac, got myself freaked out over it. But that is, of course, silly since I can remember having tinnitus for years but just not really thinking about it. After calming down and realizing that I have had it for years, that it's very minimal tinnitus, and that it's not as bad as cancer, I have been considering ways that I can avoid making it any worse. Along with wearing earmuffs while vacuuming, I have begun to look for other strategies to avoid hearing damage. 

 

Now, some of these may be stupid questions (don't let anyone tell you, "there is no such thing as a stupid question."), but here it goes.

 

The formation in which I hunt the most is the limestone/chalk Atco formation. One of my main means of finding fossils is just whacking on chunks of chalk, hoping to luck into some ammonites, echinoids, fish, or a perfectly articulated pterosaur clasping a new species of cretaceous mammal in its talons, and I have had much success (maybe not the last part). I mostly use an Estwing 4lb sledge and Stanely chisels with hand guards to do the job, but sometimes also use a 10 pound sledge for the harder and larger chunks. This works fine, but because I am dealing with relatively hard matrix the pinging of the sledge against the chisels can get annoying, but could it over time also cause tinnitus and hearing damage? Since I have gotten ear protection aware I have begun wearing EP3 Sonic Defenders when fossil hunting which have the great feature of allowing sounds like normal conversation and ambient noise in while reducing any noises above 85dB when the caps are off and greatly reducing all noise when the caps are in. Some of their other plugs like the EP4 and EP7 do the same thing and have more protection with the caps in, so I might get one of those too.

 

So, my questions are:

 

1-When is it appropriate to wear ear protection while fossil hunting?

 

2-Could the pinging of my hammer against the chisel and/or chalk chunks cause hearing damage and thus tinnitus over time?

 

3-What kind of hearing protection do you recommend? Is what I am using ok?

 

BONUS QUESTION-Any recommendations for padded gloves to get? 

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caldigger

1. When isn't it appropriate? Good practice anytime you are subjected to loud noises.

 

2. Any loud/sudden noise has the potential to do damage on some level. Hammer pings are no exception.

 

3. I am not familiar with the brand name of your product. I have used contoured expanding foam inserts ( ear plugs) for industrial use for years.

 

Bonus- I don't use padded gloves myself. Nitrile coated cloth for me. These I use for my gold finding trips underwater and need as much dexterity as I can get.

can see where padded gloves would be of use when dealing with hard sharp shales and such. However, the matrix I am in is a hard compacted sand so cuts aren't really a danger 

 

I unfortunately have severe Tinnitus. :( Have had it from childhood. Never have found anything that offered relief from it. If you do find something that works, I'd appreciate a notification.

Edited by caldigger

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CBchiefski

Very interesting @Heteromorph , not a common problem in the field. Personally, the only time I use hearing protection is when jackhammering, which depending on the site could last over 6 hours a day. One week I was jackhammering for about 7 hours each day for 6 days, hearing protection in such a case is vital.

1. I would say anytime noise levels above what you are comfortable with.

2. One would assume so, any loud noise could be damaging.


3. I personally use soft expanding foam earplugs, what you are using seems better than those.

Gloves use varies for me, I mainly wear them when using a sledge or rock hammer a great deal but otherwise use my bare hands, especially when prospecting I like to use my bare hands. To me, there is a texture to bone which can often be felt immediately, also the texture and feel of a rock helps to tell what type it is.

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Heteromorph

Thank you both very much! I am already using nitrile covered cloth cloves from Costco, so I guess I am good there.

 

21 hours ago, caldigger said:

I unfortunately have severe Tinnitus. :( Have had it from childhood. Never have found anything that offered relief from it. If you do find something that works, I'd appreciate a notification.

 

Sorry to hear. I have had mine since childhood too. Not really sure why, always used appropriate hearing protection when shooting and other such activities (I have only been using my chisels on limestone since Febuary, so that isn’t the cause). My father says he has had it since childhood too and his father made sure he always had appropriate ear protection. Genetic? Who knows. 

 

Like I said, mine is pretty mild so generally normal ambient noise is enough to drown it out. My father’s is more severe and seems to be hard to drown out. I hope it isn’t hereditary...

 

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UtahFossilHunter
22 hours ago, Heteromorph said:

Thank you both very much! I am already using nitrile covered cloth cloves from Costco, so I guess I am good there.

 

 

Sorry to hear. I have had mine since childhood too. Not really sure why, always used appropriate hearing protection when shooting and other such activities (I have only been using my chisels on limestone since Febuary, so that isn’t the cause). My father says he has had it since childhood too and his father made sure he always had appropriate ear protection. Genetic? Who knows. 

 

Like I said, mine is pretty mild so generally normal ambient noise is enough to drown it out. My father’s is more severe and seems to be hard to drown out. I hope it isn’t hereditary...

 

Soon there may be a cure for it so don’t despair.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180404154630.htm

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caldigger

UFH, thanks for the read.

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Ptychodus04

@Heteromorph. Hearing damage is caused by dB of 85 or greater. Steel on steel can easily produce 100 dB or higher so ear plugs are definitely in order if you are digging often and for extended times. Anything that is acceptable to use for hunting purposes would be equally effective for this purpose.

 

I have severe tinnitus and hearing loss due to a hunting accident almost 20 years ago and am very careful with sounds that will exacerbate my hearing loss. Mine is so loud it drowns out ambient noise (rather than the reciprocal) and I have to read lips when carrying on conversations in restaurants.

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caldigger

Kris, would it help if I typed louder? ;)

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Ptychodus04
27 minutes ago, caldigger said:

Kris, would it help if I typed louder? ;)

Possibly, but then I would put on my hearing protection.

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caldigger
39 minutes ago, Ptychodus04 said:

Possibly, but then I would put on my hearing protection.

Blinders!

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