Lance, congrats on the respirator. Keep yourself healthy and you just might live forever... That said, I can understand using hearing protection, but you say your wearing 'noise canceling' earbuds and listening to music on them at the same time. Personally I can't see where that is safe. Having the 'buds' in your ears, and having music being pumped into your ear at the same time seems like it would keep out alot of important outside sounds. Maybe it's not so important when your alone, in your own shop, but what happens when someone else comes in and you don't hear them and know they are there? In a shop environment where others are definately present it would definately be something I consider unsafe. In the field, increase the unsafe factor at least ten fold.
I say this based on experience. I often work alone, and have had people 'sneak' up on me over the years when I was concentrating hard on something even when it was quite, but it was more likely to happen when there was too much noise to hear them. Fortunatly I never hurt anyone but there were times when I''ve turned around with a torch in my hand, reached to hang a stinger with a hot rod in it, shifted a grinder and threw sparks directly at them, etc, etc, and came close to hitting, or with the sparks actually did hit, the person because "they weren't supposed there"...and..."I was supposed to be alone"....
In a shop environment, where you know there are others present, it can be even worse. When someone else is moving a part, swinging something on a crane and needing to go overhead, etc, etc, and let their intentions be known verbally, it can put you in an unsafe place if you fail to hear them because of the earbuds and the music.
In the field being able to hear what is going on around you is even more important. One moving machine can not only ruin your day, it can kill you, and that's just the start of the hazards in the field. Personally I credit the fact I am alive to being able to hear a 'pop' and having the sense to know said 'pop' meant something wasn't right, and to run just before a 10,000 pound, plus, track frame jumped up and hit the side of the machine right were my head had been a split secomd before... Had I been wearing ear buds, and had music being 'pumped into my ears' I probably wouldn't be here today.
Maybe I'm not understanding things exactly right, and am being over cautious, or whatever, and I hope so. If not, nix the earbud music for a plain old radio to provide the background entertainment, and if you feel you need hearing protection, find something that will allow you to hear without putting 'good noise' (ie music) into your ear that just might be keeping other, more important noises out.........
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