Engine Room Deafness

Norm
12th May 2007, 04:04
I suffer from mild tinnitus. I believe it is from my engine room days.
I those days nobody wore ear defenders or ear plugs.
A common retort to my (at first) comments about the noise was "whats the matter with you?, ye'll get used to it"
I believe the stupid old sods were actually deaf by that time.
Anybody got any similar experiences?..Eh what??

Doug Shaw
12th May 2007, 07:45
What was that you said, Norm?

Yep, I have the same thing, though it is getting worse as time goes by. I call it the turbine in my ear. I had a hearing test recently and found my hearing is well down at both low and high frequencies and down across the board. I have no doubt it is related to my time in the engine room.

Best regards
Doug

J Boyde
12th May 2007, 09:02
Hearing problems may be from more than just enginerooms. I sent my apprenticeship on some time riverting boilers. The protection, cottonwell, and come home with my ears ringing, all before I went to sea. More or less of eight years at sea, some motors quieter than others, I do consider that I spent more actual time at sea on NZ ships than I did on British ships, there I did a lot more port time in. On to powerstations, and it is there where my worst damage was done, and that was in a water generation station(s). The worst was changing from a condensor to a generator and blasting the air out for the turbine. For all my working life, the worst affect was from my stroke, some thing I am still getting clear of. Better remember that I am getting older.
I did, before my stroke, talked to people about hearing and the damage that had been done to mine to let people know how easy it is to loose your hearing.
Jim B

allan besant
12th May 2007, 09:44
I believe what you are saying to be true, my late father spent the last 33yrs of his career at sea with Houlders brothers. He was below and Iwould think that untill his latter days no ear defenders would have been worn. When it became policy to wear ear defenders I'm afraid it was too late for him, but as you say he wasn't the only one to suffer from this. I remember some years ago working on vessels that were powered by two high speed turbo charged ALLEN diesels. On an occasion I would visit the engine room The noise was horrendous but all engineers on board wore ear defenders.--------Allan.

Kiwi Mike
12th May 2007, 09:58
I also suffer from Tinnitus and put down to my days at sea.
I have found that it is worse if my colestrial (Spelling??) level is up.
My doctor has also confirmed this.
Very active on quite nights after a big fed of crayfish, lamb or other high colestral food.

JoK
12th May 2007, 10:11
Hearing loss is also caused by the vibration. I have read that anyone who just wear earplugs will most likely also have hearing problems, that you need to wear a good set of ear defenders.
I am very lucky in that my hearing has no degradation after 16years on the ships. I wore ear defenders religiously and if I knew I was in for a spell around the turbos, I would put in ear plugs under them.
No one said "be tough", they were more likely to give you hell for not wearing a set. I never depended on the ship to give me a set either, I carried my own.
I couldn't even go to concerts or loud bars, I always figured if I was so careful in the E/R, why would I go to a concert that had sound levels higher then I worked in.
Saying all that, I don't know how you stood it. Standing beside a running engine is painful.

trotterdotpom
12th May 2007, 15:01
When the shipping companies first started supplying ear protectors I remember lots of engineers refusing to wear them, saying: "I can't hear the engine." I thought they were mad and no doubt they do too now. Dare I say that maybe it was a bit like when car seatbelts were introduced and nobody wore them because it looked a bit "cissy".

I seem to have a fair bit of hearing loss myself and I certainly can't blame engines, maybe it's just a thing that awaits us all. Judging by how loud my kids have the TV and whatnot, they're already deafened by those stupid MP3 players that they listen to. I can hear the tinny crap coming out of their ears from 20 feet away!

My mother had tinnitus for years until it finally rang "finished with engines" a few years ago. There's a theory that it's hereditary so maybe I'm heading that way too, hope not.

John T.

raybnz
12th May 2007, 21:04
I have what I think is called 'Selective Hearing Loss'. Usually when the wife wants me to do something.

Up until recently all my working career was always in a noisey atmosphere. First serving my apprenticeship in engineering ,then time at sea, operating heavy earth moving equipment; working on construction of a underground power station (try working amongst several rock drills)then operating on a hydro power station then helping to maintain a thermal station. Only in the later years did I wear any ear protection.

But yes I have ringing in the ears all the time now and I think I will end up with a hearing aid. But we didnt know the effect that certain noises would have on our hearing

benjidog
12th May 2007, 21:13
Before jumping to conclusions on this you have to consider how common this type of condition is in the general population. Only if there is a statiscally signicicant difference in incident rates between those who worked in engine rooms and the general population would you have evidence to confirm this observation.

I say this because I have come across a number of people with this annoying problem who have never worked in a particularly noisy environment.

Regards,

Brian

allan besant
12th May 2007, 21:39
Brain, are you refering to tinnitus or the damage done to peoples ear drums after being subjected to years of exposure to to very loud noises such as those found in engine rooms of ships, power stations and the like. My wife used to ask me how I could watch tv and listen to her at the same time. I used to tell her it was easy.-----------Allan

steviej
12th May 2007, 22:02
I can remember a second engineer in Houlders in the 70's who use to bar the watchkeepers from wearing ear defenders and if he caught you wearing them it was always extra duties and OT.
steviej

makko
12th May 2007, 23:03
I always wore my ear defenders and carried them with me from ship to ship. In my last ENG2, I scored very highly in the response to high and low frequency. As many have said, somehow I don't respond to Her Majesty's frequency - strange really!!LOL Although there is a lot of BS and BS'ers in HSE, I for one applaud it and respect it. I shudder at some of the photos on here of engineers at the Control Station sans ear defenders.

Regards,

Dave
Recently Back From Tornado damage Inspection!

billyboy
12th May 2007, 23:36
had an experience as a boy of 14 years. was allowed into the engine rom of an RAF (asr). 3 Napier sea lions screaming away, just a small bit of cotton wool for protection (no ear defenders in them days. Did a bit on motor vesels later in life too, including standing between 2 turbocharged caterpillars on a tug. The result...well, the engines have all stopped now, but, the turbos are still screaming away. Not much fun on a quiet night when you are trying to get to sleep. I also find that the higher cholesteral levels and consumption of alcohol seems to increase the sound of it.
Used to hear a high pitch whinning in the kitchen, but I keep her out of now...LOL

Paul J Burke
13th May 2007, 09:01
I also suffer from Tinnitus in the left ear only.we had to wear ear muffs in the engine room, but couldnt wear them on deck, as we had to be in radio contact with the Bridge. i put it down to the constant vibration on the Tug, when it was at "full revs", pushing up alongside a ship. it was that bad ,that you could see the mast "shaking and vibrating'!!!

J Boyde
13th May 2007, 09:04
I have used defenders for many years. Alright, it was probably a little late for my worst damage but I do not regret using defenders since they have been available. Having spent my later working time as a safety officer I learned a lot about noise and hearing. This included a number of University hours about noise. For all the effort you could pass on to others, there would always be some who would not use the available resources. I have the results of my tests for some years, defenders I believe did save me from further damage. I have just purchased a set of muffs that will allow my wife to look at the TV without being blown out of the room yet I can, using the muffs and I can hear what I am hearing, technology is great.
Jim B

Graham McMorine
13th May 2007, 21:55
I also have bad hearing loss which I have always put down to being in the engine rooms etc. I also have high colestrole (crap spelling), High blood pressure, and have suffered a slight stroke some three years ago.
I`m sure some one on this site would know if it is possible to make a claim for this occupational defect we all have to endure. We all make fun of it ,as the wife and myself often do, but at the end of the day it`s an ailment none of us wanted and as such we should be compensated in some way.
Regards to all.
Gra.(Thumb)

benjidog
13th May 2007, 23:16
I thought you might be interested in the following British Medical Journal URL: http://www.clinicalevidence.com/ceweb/conditions/ent/0506/0506_background.jsp


It says that "Up to 18% of the general population in industrialised countries are mildly affected by chronic tinnitus, and 0.5% report tinnitus having a severe effect on their ability to lead a normal life."

It also says that there are a number of possible causes including age and noise. I am not suggesting that experiences in engine rooms is not the cause - just that there are many possible causes including age.

I also note that there appear to be a number of law firms interested in taking cases on. Not quite ambulance chasers - maybe ear trumpet chasers? Those affected may wish to consider looking at the possibility of compensation but I have no idea what the success rate is.

Brian

K urgess
13th May 2007, 23:42
I knew someone who I was lucky enough to call a friend. He had been a Flight Engineer on Halifax bombers during the War and had been awarded the DFM. Like a lot of these Gentlemen, hes is no longer with us.
He was quite deaf and managed to get the RAF to acknowledge that this was caused by the noise of four Hercules engines not too far from where he was sitting on ops.
It only took him 40 years to get compensation.

J Boyde
14th May 2007, 09:27
In NZ I have been given hearing aides. They have recognised that I have a problem, caused by working in noisy conditions. They did the needed tests and ACC in NZ paid for the hearing aides. I am due for another check. No compensation.
Jim B

Norm
14th May 2007, 12:06
Why did the Irishman (no offence intended) wear condoms over both ears?
He was afraid of hearing aids....bottom of the barrel..sorry !!

Ali Bain
14th May 2007, 14:55
Like many others who worked in engine-rooms without ear defenders I now suffer from partial deafness, being 80% deaf in my left ear. This I believe goes back to the time spent in engine-rooms in the sixties, seventies and eighties. Steam ships and motor ships. We were not encouraged in any way to wear ear defenders and I certainly never saw any for use on the ships/boats I worked on. We have to accept some of the blame ourselves, however I think poor engine-room practice from the higher echelons down are mainly to blame.
These days you certainly cannot even walk out of the accommodation on an oil rig without wearing hearing protection, never mind down in the engine-room.
My own deafness was picked up during an annual medical a few years back, 50% down straight away and gradually getting worse since.
After a few years I thought to see if I was entitled to a claim for industrial deafness only to find that a claim has to be submitted within two years of the problem showing itself and I was too late. This has subsequently been confirmed by Amicus. So if anyone thinks they may have a claim please do something about it before the two years are up.
Ali. Bain.

Riptide
3rd March 2008, 23:33
Like many others who worked in engine-rooms without ear defenders I now suffer from partial deafness, being 80% deaf in my left ear. This I believe goes back to the time spent in engine-rooms in the sixties, seventies and eighties. Steam ships and motor ships. We were not encouraged in any way to wear ear defenders and I certainly never saw any for use on the ships/boats I worked on. We have to accept some of the blame ourselves, however I think poor engine-room practice from the higher echelons down are mainly to blame.
These days you certainly cannot even walk out of the accommodation on an oil rig without wearing hearing protection, never mind down in the engine-room.
My own deafness was picked up during an annual medical a few years back, 50% down straight away and gradually getting worse since.
After a few years I thought to see if I was entitled to a claim for industrial deafness only to find that a claim has to be submitted within two years of the problem showing itself and I was too late. This has subsequently been confirmed by Amicus. So if anyone thinks they may have a claim please do something about it before the two years are up.
Ali. Bain.
Please enlighten me,how do they know if it was more than 2yrs. before your claim.Unless of course you have not been in a industrial enviroment for more than 2yrs.British Rail inssurers accepted liabilaty for my problem & other Shore side industries,but shipping companys insurers said e.rooms were not noisy.Complete loss of hearing is a disaster,but there are other effects,tinnitus,muffled sounds & not knowing the direction a sound is coming from.there is another thread on this subject,maybe you can find it.Kenny.(Cloud)

Derek Roger
4th March 2008, 00:06
The first vessel I sailed on which had ear defenders was the M V Mahout . We didn't use them in the engine room as it was OK 130 RPM Sulzer . But we had Rolls Royce Generators ( Alternators ) which were in sound proofed compartments and they were very loud . We wore them when doing work on a machine with the other still running .

They had the drawback that in the tropics when one was sweating heavily they would fill up with sweat and some got ear infections .

We solved that by drilling 1/8 inch drain holes at the bottom and a vent at the top which seemed to cure the problem .

The ear naturally builds up wax to protect hearing when subjected to consistent loud noise and some partial deafness occurs .
This was corrected by going ashore every trip at some point and getting the " Quack " to rinse the ears and hearing was restored .
I swear that after the rinsing in Capetown We could hear a sardine " Fart " in Biscay .

The problem is that the ear will continue to produce wax for ever after the process is started and I have my ears done at least once a year ( specially before a long flight )

My hearing is still fine ; but would not be without the annual rinse out by a doc .

Cheers Derek

Riptide
4th March 2008, 01:39
The first vessel I sailed on which had ear defenders was the M V Mahout . We didn't use them in the engine room as it was OK 130 RPM Sulzer . But we had Rolls Royce Generators ( Alternators ) which were in sound proofed compartments and they were very loud . We wore them when doing work on a machine with the other still running .

They had the drawback that in the tropics when one was sweating heavily they would fill up with sweat and some got ear infections .

We solved that by drilling 1/8 inch drain holes at the bottom and a vent at the top which seemed to cure the problem .

The ear naturally builds up wax to protect hearing when subjected to consistent loud noise and some partial deafness occurs .
This was corrected by going ashore every trip at some point and getting the " Quack " to rinse the ears and hearing was restored .
I swear that after the rinsing in Capetown We could hear a sardine " Fart " in Biscay .

The problem is that the ear will continue to produce wax for ever after the process is started and I have my ears done at least once a year ( specially before a long flight )

My hearing is still fine ; but would not be without the annual rinse out by a doc .

Cheers Derek

I am lost here,drilling for what,?oil.Yes I went ashore in South Shields too get my ears syringed.Never had tinnitis untill then,but then the Dr. stuck,what could only be called a meat squewer into my ears.Ears hissing like a hose pipe,thought it was just the clearing of wax.Now 25yrs.later who is going to accept responsebiltey.Kenny

Derek Roger
4th March 2008, 02:20
I certainly didn't have a squewer stuck into my ears . Just a gentle flush after some drops had been put in for about half an hour .

After all these years I don' t know how anybody could make any claim of responsibility to these types of problems ; whether asbestos / ears etc .

Bear in mind all theses companies no longer exist and the doctor you mentioned is probably long since retired or passed on .

Loss of hearing also takes place with age for people who have never been subjected to noise .

Kids in a Disco I am told are subjected to massive doses of Noise Pollution ; more so than we ever experienced .

I'm afraid I haven't been much help but I think that is the reality of where we are .

Kind Regards Derek



I

Ali Bain
4th March 2008, 06:25
Kenny,
Appreciate your reply. The two years are from when the doctors first detect the loss of hearing. In my case no one told me about the two year claim period and I did not realise at that time how bad my hearing loss would eventually get. I have contacted the union and also a solicitor but they both agree that I am outwith the claim period.
Regards-Ali. Bain.

surfaceblow
4th March 2008, 15:41
When I started out as a Cadet there were no ear protection but when I started sailing as an engineer the ear protection were every where.
Part of the Marine Engineers Benefical Association medical plan physical is the hearing test and blowing into the tube for your lung capacity every second year you get a chest x ray. Plus the cost of the hearing aids are paid by the medical plan.
My hearing test shows that the left ear has lost a little bit of the low and high range. (Frogger) My wife tells me I have selective hearing loss. When she says something on her car does not sound right I can not hear any thing but when I hear something not right on my tractor I get right off the machine to take a listen. I am always turning down the volume on the TV because I do not like the noise but my stero is to high for her.

Doxfordman
13th March 2008, 23:29
Ear protection was rarely worn on most of the "older" ships (1949 vintage "H" boats etc), however on the newer tonnage ear protection was worn but was very uncomfortable as documented by Derek. We too had problems with persperation control within the ear cup. Could be very uncomfortable. We too drilled the cups for drainage. As to hearing loss, I had a test carried out where I work, this is done every 6 months for trending as this place has very high noise levels, which you expect from shipbuilding, although our offices are somewhat detatched from the "floor". Hearing is deteriorating but due to industrial noise, impossible to say. I have done and still do a lot of SCUBA diving in relatively cold water, which does not help, I used to go to lots of loud concerts and still do, at times, listen to loud music. As to compensation, no and wouldn't expect any. Would never be able to claim cause. another few years hearing aids will be required to restore what's left, but to my account. My problem!!

Derek Roger
14th March 2008, 01:17
Hey Dox ;
I think you and I are on the same wavelength .
I also did a lot of swimming / snorkeling and to be quite frank had more problems with that than the noise at sea .
Steam Turbines were fine as were slow speed diesels ; the Medium Speed needed ear defenders and they were provided in the late 60's in my company ( a lot didn't use them however )

My " lugs " need a clean as I write ; however I would not dream of trying to claim compensation from my days at sea .
The supers who were our bosses and had been to sea did not know what is known today ; how could we in good conscience attempt to make a claim at this late date .

I feel badly for those who have lost hearing but how could one try to blame the companies ( now long gone ) and expect to get some sort of compensation ( Money I think )

Notwithstanding the foregoing in any event any treatment in the UK and Canada would be covered by health care ; I am not sure of other countries ?

Regards Derek

Bob Preston
14th March 2008, 20:54
Been there got that! You name it, tinnitus, loss of hearing, weazy chest and have never smoked, hips and knees knackered, hair gone from the top of my head but plenty in places it shouldn't be! And there's me thinking it was just " maturity " but now I can blame a lifetime down the hole.

Bob

deegfaepd
30th March 2008, 22:00
ello folks.

iv met lots of older engineers and the bulk of them are deef!

i now work offshore and last time i was in for a medical,the doc asked if my window was down on the drive through...as this can affect your hearing,just goes to show,it doesn't have to be noisy detroits or storks to cause deafness

tarra folks

japottinger
31st March 2008, 21:48
In my time at sea in the engineroom 1957-62 no body wore ear defenders in Brocklebank as far as I can remember. Worst noise I recall was the infernal whine off the gearcase on the Matheran on a coasting trip, it was horrendous. Maihar (I) was a gentle whump whump from the triple expansion, Manipur double reduction gear was not too bad although the two Rustons were noisy but bearable from the platform, mind you the two Foster Wheeler D type boiler fronts abutted right on to the platform and had quite a roar from the furnaces.
There was an overall general noise level in the engine room which seemed to drown out any one particular source. Eh, Eh, what did you say.

Leccy
31st March 2008, 22:30
I have tinnitus after a working life in ships and power stations etc. but I recently learned that some arthritis drugs, Sulphasalazine for example if taken for a prolonged period, can leave you with tinnitus.

Philthechill
5th April 2008, 07:49
My hearing is a bit 10-1 (as we ex-CB users would have said!) and it's quite possible my engine-room time contributed to it but, as they would say in France, c'est la vie.
Of course things have moved-on since those days of basic safety equipment consisting of boiler-suit, a pair of shreddies underneath and a pair of oil-heavy shoes/boots as engine-room footwear.
I don't know about engine-room clothing, these days, but working shore-side, in heavy industry, means you've got to wear boiler-suit, ear-defenders, hard-hat, eye-protection, gloves and steel-toed foot-protection and, I suspect, it's very similar in engine-rooms.
I met-up with one of the 'elf and safety gestapo once, when they were gaining ever-more Draconian powers, but weren't quite at the stage where they could have you executed or sent to Alcatraz for misdemeanours like NOT wearing your hard-hat whilst walking across an open-air brown-field site!!
The following yarn concerns this meeting!
I was doing service-work on the fridge-plant at QK Cold Stores (for the benefit of UK dwellers, it's a big cold-storage depot beside the A.1 near Grantham) and was happily beavering-away, on an oil-filter change, when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
Turning, to see who it was, I was confronted by a bloke fully-booted-and-suited in the whole nine-yards of hard-hat, gloves, goggles, ear-defenders, shiny-new steel-toed boots, and gloves and armed with, I did not know what!
I asked what he wanted but he remained silent merely pointing at the plant-room door in silent invitation for me to join him outside.
I followed him and, after divesting himself of gloves, goggles, ear-defenders and hard-hat introduced himself as being from Health & Safety.
He then explained to me that I was in grave danger of permanent hearing-loss "because of the high noise-levels I was subjecting myself to IN THERE" (indicating the plant-room).
I must explain, at this point, that the entire installation was six Sabroe screw-compressors which are probably the quietest type of fridge-compressor around!
He said that he had been monitoring the noise-levels (the "armed with I did not know what" was his noise-meter) in various parts of the plant-room and it averaged-out at 65dB!
Despite my protestations about 65dB not being particularly high he was adamant that "constant exposure, to even that low a level, could permanently damage your hearing and I strongly suggest you get your employer to supply you with ear-defenders!"
He then went on to explain (quite courteously) that, at the moment he didn't have the necessary powers to enforce me to wear safety-gear "of all types" but the day was coming when he and his compadres WOULD have that power.
He has since been proven to be right, of course!
I did think, however, he was a bit over-eager when he was explaining the error of my ways, at QK, as even 65dB is considered very quiet!
More worrying, I think, is the threat of asbestosis hanging over us.
When I think back to manouevering on "Matheran"!!!
It was ok whilst going "Ahead" but, as soon as "Stop!" Full Astern!" was rung-------------Look out!!!
Once the prop had got-a-grip, and vibrations started building-up, there would be a constant "snowstorm" of bits of asbestos falling down on the poor sod on the wheels!
After any "multi-multi-engine-movements" docking, (most of them, of course!), the ag-wallahs would have to sweep the asbestos debris off the plates there would be so much of it!!
As I live near York I see a regular parade of people (in the local papers, "Hatches, Matches and Dispatches" column) who have succumbed to asbestosis as there was a massive use of asbestos at York Carriage & Wagon works!
And on that cheerful note I am now going to lie-down with a large G&T! (Yes! Even at 09.00hrs!!!!) Toodle-pip! Phil(Hippy)

twogrumpy
5th April 2008, 19:53
Other than the selective deafness that my wife accuses me of, after 18 years down the "PIT" all my hearing tests have been very reasonable.

As for wearing ear defenders up the Gulf in summer, would have thought they would cause more trouble than they were worth.

As mentioned previously, I think the asbestosis thing hanging over us all is the big one. Coming from a Portsmouth, the number of deaths put down locally to asbestosis is of great concern.
twogrumpy

Duncan112
5th April 2008, 20:19
Apropos Phils comments....It is wonderful how authorities use the dB scale to their own advantage, the HSE brigade point out (quite correctly) that a 3 dBa increase doubles the sound pressure whearas the planners at a recent public enquiry I was involved in got quite shirty when I pointed out that the mere 6 dBa increase that the new road would provide in increased noise for the residents was a quadrupling of the sound pressure. Seems you cant keep everyone happy.

PS at great cost the road was built - no one uses it!!! so there was no increase in sound levels, just a 3M hole in the borough accounts.

Duncan

billyboy
5th April 2008, 23:03
reckon the twin screw jobs were a big contributary factor. two diesels at full away fighting each other, turbo's whistling their lungs out. I have a high pitched whistling sound 24/7, never stops. add alcohol and it gets louder! oh what the heck, pass the bottle lads!
No. never thought about compensation at all. not even for the pretty snowstorms (asbestos) we had on the ss Londres when the main stop from the boilers was opened, not to mention the banging from the water hammers in the pipes. Do it all again you ask? ... too darned right i would!
last night the wife said are you going to sleep or what...I said "What" ...LOl

Philthechill
7th April 2008, 07:32
reckon the twin screw jobs were a big contributary factor. two diesels at full away fighting each other, turbo's whistling their lungs out. I have a high pitched whistling sound 24/7, never stops. add alcohol and it gets louder! oh what the heck, pass the bottle lads!
No. never thought about compensation at all. not even for the pretty snowstorms (asbestos) we had on the ss Londres when the main stop from the boilers was opened, not to mention the banging from the water hammers in the pipes. Do it all again you ask? ... too darned right i would!
last night the wife said are you going to sleep or what...I said "What" ...LOl Billyboy! All I can say to you being offered some "What" is lucky old you! My days indulging in a bit of "What" are long gone! As George Burns memorably commented (with slight modifications!!), "Having a bit of "What" at my age is like trying to play pool with a piece of rope!" Phnaar! Phnaar! Keep yer zip up! Phil(Hippy)

Rudolph.A.Furtado
7th April 2008, 13:38
i have been sailing for 23 years on ships as a "Hands-Down" engineer , last 7 years being on tugs and "Rig Supply Vessels". I don't have any "Hearing" disabilities and my habit of hearing music at loud volumes was before my shipping days and hence can't be labelled as a shipping sickness.
In Ocean sailing ships i rarely used "Ear Mufflers" but on tugs and supply ships i regularly used "Ear-Muffs" when in the Engine-room as 4-stroke engines are "Noise Disasters".
Ultimately,my opinion is that ships engine room employment is not the only reason for hearing deficiencies, other reasons could exist.

John Williams 56-65
2nd May 2008, 21:41
There seems to be many factors that can cause deafness and/or tinnitus that cannot be ascribed to any one cause. I think one of the major causes is hereditary. In my case I have spent many years of my working life in noisy conditions without ear protection. In my early working life, protection of any sort was almost unknown. Here I am now in my 77th year and my hearing is almost perfect. My wife who has never been where there there is much noise apart from crying babies in nurseries or shouting school children in schools is becoming quite deaf. My father who was a boiler maker all his working life was profoundly deaf. I spent the first five years of my working life on ships undergoing repair, and that can be hard on the ears as you may know. After leaving the sea I spent the rest of my working life in factory maintenance, also in noisy conditions. It would seem that much depends on the individual as to wether or not they develop deafness, as we all respond in different ways to noise.
So there are three individual cases. Myself who never became deaf in spite of spending a fair bit of time in noisy conditions. My father whose deafness was almost certainly down to his working conditions. And my wife who was never exposed to any degree of noise and who is now becoming deaf.

John Williams 56-65
2nd May 2008, 21:54
My hearing is a bit 10-1 (as we ex-CB users would have said!) and it's quite possible my engine-room time contributed to it but, as they would say in France, c'est la vie.
Of course things have moved-on since those days of basic safety equipment consisting of boiler-suit, a pair of shreddies underneath and a pair of oil-heavy shoes/boots as engine-room footwear.
I don't know about engine-room clothing, these days, but working shore-side, in heavy industry, means you've got to wear boiler-suit, ear-defenders, hard-hat, eye-protection, gloves and steel-toed foot-protection and, I suspect, it's very similar in engine-rooms.
I met-up with one of the 'elf and safety gestapo once, when they were gaining ever-more Draconian powers, but weren't quite at the stage where they could have you executed or sent to Alcatraz for misdemeanours like NOT wearing your hard-hat whilst walking across an open-air brown-field site!!
The following yarn concerns this meeting!
I was doing service-work on the fridge-plant at QK Cold Stores (for the benefit of UK dwellers, it's a big cold-storage depot beside the A.1 near Grantham) and was happily beavering-away, on an oil-filter change, when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
Turning, to see who it was, I was confronted by a bloke fully-booted-and-suited in the whole nine-yards of hard-hat, gloves, goggles, ear-defenders, shiny-new steel-toed boots, and gloves and armed with, I did not know what!
I asked what he wanted but he remained silent merely pointing at the plant-room door in silent invitation for me to join him outside.
I followed him and, after divesting himself of gloves, goggles, ear-defenders and hard-hat introduced himself as being from Health & Safety.
He then explained to me that I was in grave danger of permanent hearing-loss "because of the high noise-levels I was subjecting myself to IN THERE" (indicating the plant-room).
I must explain, at this point, that the entire installation was six Sabroe screw-compressors which are probably the quietest type of fridge-compressor around!
He said that he had been monitoring the noise-levels (the "armed with I did not know what" was his noise-meter) in various parts of the plant-room and it averaged-out at 65dB!
Despite my protestations about 65dB not being particularly high he was adamant that "constant exposure, to even that low a level, could permanently damage your hearing and I strongly suggest you get your employer to supply you with ear-defenders!"
He then went on to explain (quite courteously) that, at the moment he didn't have the necessary powers to enforce me to wear safety-gear "of all types" but the day was coming when he and his compadres WOULD have that power.
He has since been proven to be right, of course!
I did think, however, he was a bit over-eager when he was explaining the error of my ways, at QK, as even 65dB is considered very quiet!
More worrying, I think, is the threat of asbestosis hanging over us.
When I think back to manouevering on "Matheran"!!!
It was ok whilst going "Ahead" but, as soon as "Stop!" Full Astern!" was rung-------------Look out!!!
Once the prop had got-a-grip, and vibrations started building-up, there would be a constant "snowstorm" of bits of asbestos falling down on the poor sod on the wheels!
After any "multi-multi-engine-movements" docking, (most of them, of course!), the ag-wallahs would have to sweep the asbestos debris off the plates there would be so much of it!!
As I live near York I see a regular parade of people (in the local papers, "Hatches, Matches and Dispatches" column) who have succumbed to asbestosis as there was a massive use of asbestos at York Carriage & Wagon works!
And on that cheerful note I am now going to lie-down with a large G&T! (Yes! Even at 09.00hrs!!!!) Toodle-pip! Phil(Hippy)

Phil the Chill; Having been exposed to asbestos like most of us engaged in engineering I agree with you about excessive exposure to asbestos. But have you ever given any thought to the glass fibre that has been replacing it? In the right light you can see the fibre glass glittering in the air we are breathing. Is it possible that in years to come we may have a similar problem with that, as we did with the asbestos. After all it is not normal to fill our lungs with tiny slivers of glass,any more than it is with asbestos.

Derek Roger
3rd May 2008, 00:32
Agreed John ;
Glass fiber has another very irritating quality ; On the MV Mahout the generator flats ( Enclosed ) were insulated with fiber glass for sound and heat . It was covered with a light silver foil which over time became damaged . When one was working on the Generators our backs were to the wall ; with a sweat laden boiler suit the fibers became attached and permeated into the skin . It caused a very bad itch and irritation which lasted for weeks ( A bit like " Prickly Heat " )


Oh Happy Days

Donnie More
14th May 2008, 00:16
like many who sailed in the old 120 rpm engine rooms , ear muffs were never provided or seldom considered , as was the lack of dust masks until in the last twenty or so years ,before then it was usually up to ones self ,to self protect ,as I remember when blowing ferodo dust from cargo winch brakes with the "bandido " style face mask and often without .

swealer
22nd May 2008, 23:46
Hi all slightly deaf engineers...I also have tinitus,a high pitched whisteling all
the time,have had it for many years,got nothing to do with age,its all got to do with time spent in the pre ear defender years working with screaming
turbines,gearboxes and engines.People just dont understand or care about the
damage done whilst trying to earn a living.Another point is the damage done
to us all in working on asbestos lagging with no protection,poisonous fumes
etc. Asusual,we engineers,who keep the world turning,do not get the appreciation we deserve,engineering has physically wrecked my body,but
does anybody care????? dont think so.

swealer

W

pete
23rd May 2008, 09:32
Engineers moved 'em Us lot steered 'em. I got my tinnitus from standing on the bridge listening to the squeals from the Doxford as the scavenges caught fire. But on a more serious note I can understand why you are all concerned and I feel you should receive some form of compensation. I have asbestosis, probably caused by carrying Blue Asbestos in bulk. Compensation, yeah, right. Ahh well, nobody said life was fair............pete

gingerbeer73
24th May 2008, 23:03
Read with interest all the posts. I too have spent some years down enginerooms etc and didn't wear ear protection at the begining. I used to stuff cotton wool in my ears and one Chief eng told me to remove it as I couldn't do my job properly and hear all that was going on. I asked him if he had tried it, to which he answered no. Well, I said, if anything it helps to have it in as you can hear the lower fequencies better when some of the higher one are blocked out. Anyway, I said, I wasn't going to remove it and he could do what he liked. He said he would have me logged and I said go ahead. Never heard another thing from him.
On the subject of ringing in the ears. I get it some times and it either creeps in slowly or can come on in a rush. So far I have always managed to stop it ringing by tightly closing the ear off with the finger pushing the ear "flap" closed over the ear canal and holding it thus until the noise fades away. May be worth a try for some.
Cheers
Colin

spongebob
25th May 2008, 00:06
Always look on the bright side of life, so the song goes. I have asbestos related plaques on my lungs that were diagnosed 14 years ago and as they have remained benign they seldom cross my mind but the deafness problem cuased by noisy enginerooms is a continually worsening handicap under some conditions.
There are some advantages though, now in the early (3am) mornings we are having a flock of Kookaburras holding a concert in a gum tree outside the bedroom window which is driving my partner to distraction but I cannot hear a thing with the hearing aids out and can sleep blissfully on.
Another newly discovered joy is taking a trip to the movies, loud surround sound and good acoustics in the local modern theatrettes allow me to hear every word which is not the case with TV at home. Senior Citizen rates at $4,00 is a big attraction in Australia to

Harrisman
25th May 2008, 00:24
Pardon !!

kitchenmama
25th May 2008, 00:31
my great uncle was a cheif petty articiferon board hms orionduring the ww2 and he was deaf from when he was de mobbed or whatever it was called till he died in 1988 - any one who knows any one who knows any thing about the orion i would be glad to hear from them.

gingerbeer73
3rd June 2008, 08:28
Did anyone have any luck with the "blocking off the ear" method that I suggested in my last post. I am interrested if it works for others as well as me.
Cheers
Colin

gde
19th July 2008, 20:39
As being hard of hearing from birth,this did not hinder or stop me from serving my time as a mechanical engineer before going deep sea with the Bank Line.Iam now 60 years young and wear two hearing aids,but to hear the sound of a 4 cylinder opposed piston Doxford,starting as well as running would now be magic.

Deafness,no problem.(what ?)

Gavin

Shipbuilder
27th July 2008, 08:21
I was an R/O for 32 years & now aged almost 65 have had tinnitus for some years. Sometimes it is quite loud, but at the same time, I have very acute hearing that seems to disregard the noise of the tinnitus. If I listen to a talking book whilst I am working, the tinnitus disapears as long as the tape recorder is running. I sometimes wonder if it is something external to my physical self. I have noticed that when we go on holiday to the lake district, it stops. Also, we had a power cut here a few week ago that lasted all morning & during this cut - no tinnitus!

Apart from all the above, it has never caused me the slightest annoyance or concern - I am indifferent to it, although I notice when it stops! Am I alone in this? Can't help thinking that of all the things one can suffer from these days, this whistling noise is a very inconsequential thing!
Bob

gingerbeer73
27th July 2008, 10:23
Hi Bob,
No, you are not alone in your symptoms as I have had similar for many years. I have already posted my experience with this.
I would be very interested to know if my suggested "blocking the ear off" method (please see previous post) works for you as well as I feel that the eardrum has been driven into a vibration by some external source that suits the natural frequency of the ear drum. I bit like soldiers marching over a bridge and the reason they have to break step. Obviously the stimulation vibration must be high and could even be in the ultrasonic range. But, when you consider what we surround ourselves with these days in the form of electronic equipment - airborne waves of all sorts - and of course ultrasonic sounds which we can't hear but are non the less there, it does goes some way to explaining why you don't get it in a quite place like the lake district.
Like yourself, mine is lightly in the background which I am not aware of at the moment (on the computer) but at times "whooshes" in, usually in one ear - which is quite disturbing. Again the "Blocking" method works for that and after about 15-30 secs goes away completely. Lying in bed when it is quite I hear the "normal" ear noise but I can get rid if this as well by "blocking" both my ears until I hear it all go away and all is quite.
I thought it may be associated with Blood Pressure - but, if that is the case (I have mild Hypertension) then why can I switch it off with the "blocking" method.
Please let me know how you get on as most people think I am crazy including the doctor and nurse. "really, that's interesting" I get.
I would like to say that I have no idea if what I get is Tinnitus - but I often wonder if people diagnosed with Tinnitus would benefit from my "blocking" method.
Cheers
Colin

Shipbuilder
27th July 2008, 11:53
Hi Colin,
Tried it, but it didn't make any difference. Was closed up for about a minute. But I will give it a try later, maybe when in bed & see what happens. Sometimes it will stop quite suddenly for a while & come back just as sudden. Other times, I get definate sharp clicks, but they never last more than a couple of minutes. As it doesn't bother me at all, I am not actively seeking a cure, but just very interested what others are saying about it.
Bob

Ghost
14th August 2008, 01:56
I used to have tinitus, but I can't hear it now. Yes tinitus is common, but coupled with a high degree of hearing loss is noise related.
Certified as high frequency hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to high noise levels in employment, then handed a red ENG1.
Hearing defenders in the company I worked for did not appear until 1980, just when the ENG1 started real hearing tests. Education on the hearing protection was non existent. But they were crafty. When hearing loss was detected, I was sent to a specialist in park lane every leave for a check up. Nobody mentioned compensation, or lack of it after the two year deadline. Then after two years I was promoted "permanent". This left me wide open to " last in, first out". That is why company loyalty went down the drain.

Ali Bain is correct in all he has written in this thread, except that compensation may still be granted in a class action. Same as the miners with their white finger.
It may be O.K for people to say " I wouldn't dream of it" Perhaps they managed to finish there career's at retirement age and are able to enjoy the pension. Others may not be so lucky.

Ghost
14th August 2008, 02:05
Can you remember what a bird singing sounds like? Hope you can. At least I don't hear all those mobile phones ringing. Anybody else get disgruntled when in a conversation with someone, there mobile goes off and they just start talking to the phone, unaware that you never heard it! Really annoying.

I see Google are tapping into this thread and showing adverts for hearing teats and aids under post.

gingerbeer73
14th August 2008, 06:59
Hi Colin,
Tried it, but it didn't make any difference. Was closed up for about a minute. But I will give it a try later, maybe when in bed & see what happens. Sometimes it will stop quite suddenly for a while & come back just as sudden. Other times, I get definate sharp clicks, but they never last more than a couple of minutes. As it doesn't bother me at all, I am not actively seeking a cure, but just very interested what others are saying about it.
Bob

Hi Bob,
Sorry it didn't work for you. Must be different reasons and causes out there in ear land. Cheers for the reply as I have often wondered if it would work for others.
Colin

chadburn
14th August 2008, 10:18
Gingerbeer, you need to be careful with hearing problems and mild hypertension, like yourself I have the same problems, on a particular bad night when of course it is at it's worst the hypertension scale moved up and I ended up in Hospital with severe chest pain's. Asbestosis also has a cut off period of I think 3yrs from first sign's of showing, that's if you are around long enough to claim it. For Plural Plaques you get nothing unless there is severe scarring, then the Insurance Companies will still fight it tooth and nail. If only we had known then what we know now. As somebody said it was all kept very quiet about at the time.

CEYLON220
14th August 2008, 10:47
Just had my ears checked and find that I need a hearing aid for one ear, all this stems back to my navy days in the boiler rooms/engine rooms/ and diesal generator compartments plus being in charge of an engineering workshop full of automatic lathes and never wore ear protection at any time which I regret now--too late!

chadburn
14th August 2008, 11:52
I have in the past "floated" Safety Valves for the Boiler Inspector without any hearing protection so that I could hear them start to "Feather" first.

Ghost
14th August 2008, 23:14
Feather first?

japottinger
15th August 2008, 18:59
Funny how you do not actually sense any deafness in normal conversation, but to the annoyance of my wife have to have the TV volume up high!

John Williams 56-65
6th September 2008, 22:19
The question of asbestosis is a strange one. I have long wondered why some people get it and others don`t. I have a feeling that some people may have a predisposition to the condition. My reason for saying that is that we read of housewives getting it simply by washing their husbands overalls and having no contact with asbestos other than that. Others such as myself have worked with asbestos to some degree all our working lives yet have no problems,at least not yet. After working in ship repair and at sea removing asbestos covered pipes, and later on in factory maintenance work doing the same thing. In the sixties when we needed to remove pipework for renewal ,we used to take a hammer and knock the asbestos away from the flanges and brackets to undo them. We ended up with a snowstorm of the stuff all over the place. This was of course before we knew about the hazards of asbestos and the tight rules and regulations that were introduced to prevent such things happening. Such was our ignorance, that the younger members we worked with used it to have snowball fights. Later in my working life we couldn`t do a job that had asbestos lagging on it until it had been stripped by specialised teams, who took a long time to clear the stuff. A job that might have taken half a day thus became a job lasting a couple of weeks. I suppose as far as most of us are concerned, with all todays H&S at Work regulations it might be a case of locking the stable door long after the horse has gone. Still, although I have lost quite a few friends to asbestosis, at the age of 77 I have been lucky enough to have avoided it, so far. It is not easy typing this post with fingers crossed and touching wood at the same time,but I don`t want to tempt fate.

Philthechill
8th September 2008, 10:31
Feather first? Ghost! Hi! I was just having a wander through this thread and saw that nobody had replied to your "Feather first?".

When safety-valves had been overhauled, say, for example, during a Lloyds survey, the boiler would be brought up to the pressure-setting of the safeties and, just before the safety "popped" (lifted) you would hear steam starting to escape from the valve in a gentle sort of whispering ("feathering") and you knew that, seconds later, the valve would lift.

In essence the "feathering" was a sort of Early Warning System!! Salaams, (Deafened) Phil(Hippy)

Noddy-Billing
8th September 2008, 14:13
It was not only engine-room noise that caused hearing problems. I was a deckie ( principally on tugs and associated craft) and now suffer from Tinnitus and am deaf in both ears. When I made a claim against the British Ministry of
Defence ( my principal employer) I discovered that the compressed air fog signal had been sited in the wrong place on one tug I served on, and if sounded when I was working the forecastle, caused short term pain in my ears and, long-term, deafness. The MOD admitted responsibility and I received a small payout. But when I mentioned that I 'visited' the engine room, they denied it because I was hired as a Deckhand.
This despite the fact that often they only employed one 'Engineer' on a vessel and the regs said that he should be accompanied in the engineroom whilst the vessel was towing.

Jeff Partington
8th September 2008, 16:05
I have hearing loss in stereo caused by the engine room noise. The worst engine was the emergency generator on the Kentung of Elder Dempster's, Needless to say I only did 11 trips on her 1 out 1 return!! It took me 20 years to get compensation!
Cheers Jeff

bluenoser
8th September 2008, 16:33
hello All ;
I've also lost some of my hearing from operating machines on a can line for nearly 15 years most of that without hearing protection . now my wife got me cordless headphones so I can hear the t v without cranking it up .
It's the price we pay now for being careless when we were young . Bluenoser

eldersuk
8th September 2008, 23:26
I suffer from tinnitus and partial deafness and find that even with a hearing aid I have to turn up the TV. The problem is that the "background" music in the programmes tends to overwhelm the speech. Does anyone else find this?

Funnily enough the only time my deafness/tinnitus improves significantly is when someone says, "What you havin'?"

Derek

spongebob
9th September 2008, 04:37
Ghost! Hi! I was just having a wander through this thread and saw that nobody had replied to your "Feather first?".

When safety-valves had been overhauled, say, for example, during a Lloyds survey, the boiler would be brought up to the pressure-setting of the safeties and, just before the safety "popped" (lifted) you would hear steam starting to escape from the valve in a gentle sort of whispering ("feathering") and you knew that, seconds later, the valve would lift.

In essence the "feathering" was a sort of Early Warning System!! Salaams, (Deafened) Phil(Hippy)

Tell me about it, I am sure that most of my hearing damage comes from this one practice of floating safety valves on naval ships as an apprentice and also over my many years with Babcock.
In the eighties we were commissioning a new boiler fitted with a new design Hopkinson double spring high lift Safety valves that did not work very well and after a day of setting, floating and re floating I drove home 100 kilometers from the boiler site in complete silence. It was eerie, like living in a vacuum, no road or engine noise, no radio just total silence. Recovery to near normal took almost 12 hours.
Yes we were wearing hard hats and ear muffs but the constant bang of 40000 lbs of steam per hour venting at 250 pounds /sq in to atmosphere will penetrate any thing when you are standing along side

Philthechill
9th September 2008, 09:17
Tell me about it, I am sure that most of my hearing damage comes from this one practice of floating safety valves on naval ships as an apprentice and also over my many years with Babcock.
In the eighties we were commissioning a new boiler fitted with a new design Hopkinson double spring high lift Safety valves that did not work very well and after a day of setting, floating and re floating I drove home 100 kilometers from the boiler site in complete silence. It was eerie, like living in a vacuum, no road or engine noise, no radio just total silence. Recovery to near normal took almost 12 hours.
Yes we were wearing hard hats and ear muffs but the constant bang of 40000 lbs of steam per hour venting at 250 pounds /sq in to atmosphere will penetrate any thing when you are standing along side Bob! Reading your recollection of floating safeties over and over again reminded me of my (short!) time with the CEGB at Drax power-station.

When I was interviewed for the job by the Station Engineer (Malcolm Hill) he was made-up to see I was an ex-MN Engineer and, not only ex-MN, but ex-steam!

We'd had one of the main boilers shut-down for maintenance and survey and, came safety-setting day, Malcolm Hill had me accompany him ("You'll know all about this Phil!") onto the boiler-top armed with radio's (to talk to the Control Room) ear-defenders and copious amounts of orange-juice.

The boiler was brought up to pressure (2500 p.s.i.) on oil rather than pulverised coal as oil-firing was a bit more controllable than coal.

The noise when the safeties lifted was absolutely deafening (even with ear-defenders) and we had to do this several times before the surveyor was happy. After around three hours or so we were all covered in sweat, coal-dust and unable to hear anything at all!!!

As a direct result of our efforts, that day, attenuators (lifted onto the roof by the RAF) were fitted to the safety-valve waste-pipes as residents of a village (Camblesforth) a couple of miles from the power-station complained about the noise!!!! Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

Philthechill
9th September 2008, 09:30
I suffer from tinnitus and partial deafness and find that even with a hearing aid I have to turn up the TV. The problem is that the "background" music in the programmes tends to overwhelm the speech. Does anyone else find this?

Funnily enough the only time my deafness/tinnitus improves significantly is when someone says, "What you havin'?"

Derek I suffer from exactly the same problem, Derek! It's got to the point where I get seriously annoyed at the "idiot-music" which seems to accompany every documentary programme these days and I was even thinking about getting in touch with the BBC/ITV and asking exactly why they have to have this music playing to the detriment of the commentary!!

Now, in light of your comments, it's probably just as well that I didn't!!

The most notable/recent example, for me, of this "background" noise drowning-out the commentary was during the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics! I had to tweek the volume up on the TV to hear what they were on about! Luckily I live by myself so no one else had to contend with my TV cranking-out several billion decibels!! Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

chadburn
9th September 2008, 11:49
Ghost, sorry I missed your question regarding feathering but other's have explained it to you for me and I thank them, the setting of Safety Valves was alway's a "Heart Pounding" affair as the Inspector always wanted to repeat the exercise to be happy with them. Radio's? you were lucky, it was nearly always a matter of the "Hand signal chain" doing the Finger countdown from the Fireman watching the pressure coming up to the "Blood" the feathering gave you some idea that your initial setting was fairly close. Thank God for Power Station's a lot of ex Steamies found employment there when her indoors came out with the request of "Can't you get a Proper Job ashore"

spongebob
9th September 2008, 12:47
Another safety valve story, we had installed a new WT boiler in a very old NZ freezing works and as the old brick boiler house had a very high stud height the plant engineer insisted on venting the safety valves inside the building to avoid penetrating the old corrugated iron roof. No persuasion would change his mind and when the Marine Surveyor inspector came to witness the SV test he stood on top of the boiler so he could hear the feather and positive re seating.
Bang went the valve and 40,000 lbs/hr rushed up the vent to dissipate against the roof underside. Fifty years of accumulated soot, coal dust ash and animal life including birds nests was dislodged to completely envelope the hapless surveyor in a pile of debris that almost buried him on the spot while the rest of us stood well clear knowing that this might happen.
Only his pride was hurt and after a hot shower he gave the all OK rather than try again

three oh
16th September 2008, 15:20
during the fifties iwas an apprentice fitter at manchester dry docks.working on s.s.pacific fortune safety vv.s 440psi.the escape pipe had been removed but the foreman insisted that we float the safeties ! when the v/v lifted ,the foreman leapt down onto the shore donkeyman,s back.what larks,eh? from three oh.

ccurtis1
16th September 2008, 15:39
Its hard to decide which ailment is worse. I do not suffer from Tinnitus but from recurring infections in my ears caused I think from wearing ear muffs for several years. At sea when this earache and discharge occured it was usually referred to as "Tropical ear". The ear muffs filled up with sweat, and must have been an ideal breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria. Suffice to say, even with global warming Sunderland can not in any way be descibed as tropical and yet the gumming up of the ears still persists. Catch 22, ear muffs and lifelong recurring infections, or no ear muffs and tinnitus

Govanbill
15th October 2008, 17:37
Although the company concerned may no longer exist the claim can be made through their insurance company or successor of insurance also in a court of law it is deemed that exposure to engine room noise without protection makes the company liable as is the same with asbestosis

EdwardParry
23rd October 2008, 17:21
Ex- Blue Funnel Eng. here - I never wore ear defenders down below and I suppose that's why SWMBO gets annoyed now when I turn the tele up! Despite the noises particular from the "gearbox" (steam turbine power) I could still here other things going on. Did try the defenders but they were uncomfortable & sweaty so they got ditched by me. Our chinese crew never put them on aswell.
Your hearing did get attuned to what was going on or not as the case might be. Mind you if the main safetys did lift you heard all about it then - particularly from the Chief & 2nd Eng!

tuutuutango
6th November 2008, 22:32
I wanted to post this for all who may have tinnitus as badly as I do.

I was a machine-gunner in Vietnam and I was exposed to very loud sounds.

My tinnitus eventually became so severe when I was 54, I had great difficulty going to sleep at night and in concentrating during the day. I started have an occasional nightmare related to this ailment.

I found a place in Dallas, Texas associated with the University of Texas at Dallas called the Callier Clinic. The treatment consisted of a hearing exam with an audiologist, charting the severity of my hearing loss... I won't go into details here, but after two years of wearing what looks like a hearing aid, I am able to fall asleep easily and I am not as troubled mentally with this disturbing ailment. One problem associated with tinnitus is something called hypercrusis (I might have not spelled it correctly.)

I would encourage you to investigate this program, or others based on the same technique and therapy. I believe there are several clinics around the world who subscribe to the treatment method. You don't have to go through life being miserable with this problem.

I am happy to provide more details and information if anybody wants to contact me. I think you can send me an e-mail direct through ShipsNostalgia. I don't get onto this website very often. Here is a link to the clinic website. A lady there who assisted me is Anne Howell.
http://www.callier.utdallas.edu/tinnitus.html

Good luck.

swealer
22nd December 2008, 00:26
Anybody who worked down the pit at sea will remember the excruciating noise
and the screaming of turbines and turbocharchders before the advent of ear defenders and the ingress of asbestos with no masks,especially on steamers.
I myself have had tinitus for more years than I can remember,as for asbestosis,no problem yet,but always in the back of my mind.
The problem is that people just dont accept you have a bit of industrial deafness,especially your nearest and dearest,having been an engineer since 1954 I know where my hard of hearing and the tinitus has come from and the chances of any recognition or compensation are virtually nil,not fair if you ask me. SWEALER

Burntisland
22nd December 2008, 01:38
I have tinittus as well. Never really discussed it with anyone other than my doctor. She thinks it could well be from the mild hypertension I've had since the mid '80s. Funny thing about though...........my actual HEARING has been tested numerous times and it's 5X5. I spent 28 years in enginerooms. One audiologist told me she'd never seen anyone with hearing as good as mine so the tinittus doesn't affect my basic hearing......It seems to be something of an overlay of sorts AND the doctor says there's no cure. Anyone else heard the same?

spongebob
20th May 2009, 04:39
My loss of hearing came from ship's engine rooms and I took to wearing "in the ear" aids some 8 years ago. They were great at first but in the last twelve months their effectiveness seems to have deteriorated and every thing came to a head a month ago when one packed up and was declared obsolete and irreparable.

Tests showed that my hearing had not worsened very much and I was assured that the newest aids would walk all over the older models due to constant improvements so new aids were ordered. After a couple of weeks trial the new miniaturised behind the ear "Oticon" aids have given me a new world of sound, again I can hear the sharp crackle of paper, rain on the roof and the windscreen,the splash in the pan, water dripping and all the miscellaneous sounds that belong to normal hearing.
The TV volume used to be set at 24 to26 but it's now down to 19 to20, a level that does not blast others out of the room and the speach from various announcers and actors has improved a lot, no more do they mumble.
My partner is probably the most delighted one as she does not have to listen to so many "ehs", "what did you says" or the occasional "beg your pardon".

If your aid is an old one I definitely recommend an upgrade, like computers and digital cameras the acoustic world is moving on.

Bob

tsell
20th May 2009, 06:13
Billyboy! All I can say to you being offered some "What" is lucky old you! My days indulging in a bit of "What" are long gone! As George Burns memorably commented (with slight modifications!!), "Having a bit of "What" at my age is like trying to play pool with a piece of rope!" Phnaar! Phnaar! Keep yer zip up! Phil(Hippy)

More like trying to stuff a marshmallow in a keyhole these days!!

tsell
20th May 2009, 07:04
In November last year, I was talking to my wife on my mobile phone. Suddenly a very high pitched whistle came down the line. It was so incredibly loud that I dropped the phone.
When I picked it up and put it back to my left ear I found that I was deaf in that one, but the right was OK.
My wife asked what had happened and when I told her, said that she had heard a slight whistle at her end. Her hearing did not suffer at all.
I was completely deaf in my left ear for a couple of days, with gradual improvement over the next couple of weeks.
Thinking that it would slowly improve I did not seek help. I had called the mobile supplier who denied any responsibility - naturally!
Eventually, in March, I visited a hearing specialist. I was given a full test in both ears by an audiologist and diagnosed with 60% hearing loss in the left and perfect for the right.
Back to the specialist who said I had Tinnitus and nothing could be done about it. He said many mobile users and call centre people had the problem.
"Do you drink much?" "No, I spill most of it!"
Anyway he warned me off alcohol and tonic water (2 birds, 1 stone) and various other things. Didn't mention sex (Marshmallows don't have sex! )
Net result? Couple of hundred bucks out of pocket and sitting here typing this with a f*****g great screaming whistle still in my ear.

Anyway, as for the specialist, I'm drinking a schooner of Guinness, then I'll top it off with three or four gin and tonics. Stuff Him!!

Taffy R556959 (Pint) (Pint)

Klaatu83
20th May 2009, 14:34
A lot of working spaces on shipboard are extremely noisy, not just the engine room. Many of the newer ships are designed with enclosed spaces under the stern, and even under the bow, from which the crew handle the mooring lines. I have worked on a few ships like that, and the noise level when the winches are running is frightful. However, the worst I ever experienced was inside the cargo deck of a RO-RO. The combination of noise from the ventilation blowers, the diesel engines of the trucks we were loading and the rattle of the steel chains used to secure them in the hold actually reached the level of physical pain. On top of that, the chief Mate forbade us to wear hearing protection because he thought that would prevent us from hearing him call us over the VHF walkie-talkies we were carrying!

surfaceblow
20th May 2009, 16:52
The last few RO/Ro's that I have been on the engine department VHF radios had ear phones and boom mikes. The head sets seem to migrate into the cargo holds while discharging or loading cargo and had to be round up before taking on fuel. Most of the sounding tubes were in the cargo holds in the high traffic areas of the ramps and water tight doors so most of the time we would not try to bunker while moving cargo so most of the time there was no conflict in letting the Deck Department use the head sets. There was one Chief Mate that did not want the Mates to use the head sets because he said that it made them look goofy with Mickey Mouse ears and wearing a hard hat.

DWD
7th December 2009, 22:31
When the UK Health and Safety at Work Act came in, almost 40 years ago, I was 4th Eng on a BP tanker. A decibel meter duly arrived and El Chiefo sent me to carry out the survey in the engine room. When I produced my deliberations, which showed that the only place that exceeded the "Act" at 92 db was beside the running Turboblowers, he sent the 3rd Eng to check my results. When the 2nd Eng carried out the third survey, with a replacement decibel meter, The Chief accepted our readings and sent off a sarcastically worded report to Head Office. Head office did not feel it neccessary to reply.

If you do get to see a specialist concerning deafness, make sure you use the shipyard standard approach -
1) When the receptionist calls your name :- Stay seated and say nothing.
2) When you finally reach the consultant's office and he bids you "Good Day!" always remember to look at your watch and reply "Quarter past three, Doctor!".
You might get a few quid out of it.

Sometimes, you see adverts for lawyers who deal with Asbestos related claims in the "Marine Engineer's Review".

DWD

MarcelB
8th December 2009, 02:15
When the UK Health and Safety at Work Act came in, almost 40 years ago, I was 4th Eng on a BP tanker. A decibel meter duly arrived and El Chiefo sent me to carry out the survey in the engine room. When I produced my deliberations, which showed that the only place that exceeded the "Act" at 92 db was beside the running Turboblowers, he sent the 3rd Eng to check my results. When the 2nd Eng carried out the third survey, with a replacement decibel meter, The Chief accepted our readings and sent off a sarcastically worded report to Head Office. Head office did not feel it neccessary to reply.

If you do get to see a specialist concerning deafness, make sure you use the shipyard standard approach -
1) When the receptionist calls your name :- Stay seated and say nothing.
2) When you finally reach the consultant's office and he bids you "Good Day!" always remember to look at your watch and reply "Quarter past three, Doctor!".
You might get a few quid out of it.

Sometimes, you see adverts for lawyers who deal with Asbestos related claims in the "Marine Engineer's Review".

DWD

I will have to remember those tips next time i go for my medical.I started sailing in the eng.room in 1967 on a "laker" as a fireman.It was on an oldder ship and had a triple expansion engine.When i got promoted to oiler there where no such things as hearing protection.After that ship I sailed on a turbine and sailed on them until 1972.My 1st job as an oiler on a diesel powered ship was the Canadian Century it had a B@W main engine and 4 Ruston generators.There was hearing protection available but nobody wore them.I pretty well stayed on diesel powered ships and never wore any kind of ear protection until it became mandatory around 1980.By then I was sailing as 3ed engineer and when i was sailing on the great lakes you where on stand-by any time you where in confined waterways (rivers,canals or fog) which was 75% of the time.Even then when I left the control room I would forget to put them on.When I would be on leave people would always ask me why I was talking so loud,I never thought I was and on talking on the telephone was even worse.I now suffer from 60% hearing loss and wear a hearing aid in my right ear.I know a lot of people who worked in the eng.rm. that suffer from the same problem A lot of times I get a ringing in my ears and it drives me nuts.It is too bad we didn't use what protection we had at the time. I am sorry if I am typing too loud.(Jester) (Jester) (Hippy)

ray bloomfield
9th December 2009, 11:38
Just over two years ago I went to get my ENG1 renewed in Amsterdam, passed OK but was told I was suffering a hearing loss in my left ear and may not pass it again.
Couple of months ago I got it done again in Buckie and thought I would be in a room of my own to do the hearing test like A'dam and would be able to switch the headphones around when it came to do my left ear. No such luck the nurse was in the room. Dammit!!
Then the doctor asked me if I could hear all bridge alarms. ''No probs doc cos all alarms are very loud and must have visual warnings too''. He duly signed and stamped my ENG 1. On newer ships maybe but not on the old buckets I sail on.
I had no problem whatsoever hearing the receptionist asking for the 80 squids fee(Cloud)

( medical took 15 minutes that equals 320 per hour!!)

Satanic Mechanic
16th December 2009, 09:17
I have always been super careful with my hearing -always wore muffs(hate earplugs). Imagine my shock last medical to discover that I had a dip in my mid range sensitivity - don't get me wrong I was still above the threshold but the dip was as clear as day on the chart. The doctor just shrugged and said it was "absolutely typical industrial hearing loss" I told him about how careful I was and he was very understanding and advised me to take a closer look at he attenuation tables on the type of muff I was wearing - turns out most companies have supplied any old muff - usually the 'Bilsom comfort' - which is not actually up to the job in an engine room!!!!!

My Peltor black and reds (optime 3's)travel every where with me now. with the advent of compulsory wearing of helmets on many ships can I recommend the neck band model as being very good indeed. Now who remembers this sort of thing............


"Can I have some earmuffs chief"


"Earmuffs !! what do you need


earmuffs for - this is a steam ship -


there's nothing wrong with my


hearing is there


"errrrr - your shouting"


"I most certainly am not"

(Jester) (Jester) (Jester)

Peter B
16th December 2009, 15:13
I have always been super careful with my hearing -always wore muffs(hate earplugs). Imagine my shock last medical to discover that I had a dip in my mid range sensitivity - don't get me wrong I was still above the threshold but the dip was as clear as day on the chart. The doctor just shrugged and said it was "absolutely typical industrial hearing loss" I told him about how careful I was and he was very understanding and advised me to take a closer look at he attenuation tables on the type of muff I was wearing - turns out most companies have supplied any old muff - usually the 'Bilsom comfort' - which is not actually up to the job in an engine room!!!!! .......
As an apprentice I mostly served on diesel ships, but I had three months in the T/S Albert Maersk - containership with a 40000 shp General Electric turbine set, plus auxiliary steam and gas turbines.
Later, when I was "called for" by the forces, the physical examination revealed a significant hearing loss on both ears. My hearing was above average up till 4 kHz, then dropped steeply towards 6 kHz (where I did not sense anything below 84 dB), gradually increased again towards 8 kHz, above which it was normal or better.
Knowing I had been to sea, the doctor guessed two things (correctly): "You have been careful to always wear ear-protectors - and, sadly, you have been around turbines". Turned out the ear-protectors of the day worked well with noise below 3500 Hz, which were ok for diesels (perhaps except the turbo-chargers), but were absolutely useless with turbines.

Duncan112
16th December 2009, 16:56
- turns out most companies have supplied any old muff - usually the 'Bilsom comfort' - which is not actually up to the job in an engine room!!!!!

My Peltor black and reds (optime 3's)travel every where with me now. with the advent of compulsory wearing of helmets on many ships can I recommend the neck band model as being very good indeed.

SM makes a very good point here, I always used to try to specify the black and red Peltors and sent the comforts back when I was C/E, once I found out how poor the bog standard ones were, also important to renew the foam pads and internals every trip as the plastic hardens and fails to seal correctly (or maybe I had corrosive sweat)

Worth noting however that the attenuation figure drops significantly when the headband is worn in any position other than over the head, the Bilsom ones had a flexible plastic band to try to hold the earpieces in position but still gave a 10db drop in attenuation on the tables supplied with the muffs.

Also the ones fixed to helmets are again not up to the same standard as the ones with the over the head fitting.

Finally ear plugs although cutting down the percieved noise level still allow vibration from sound to pass through the skull bone into the inner ear whearas proper muffs offer a degree of protection to the bone around the ear reducing the transmitted vibration. Ear plugs are not really suitable for prolonged exposure to high noise levels.

Satanic Mechanic
17th December 2009, 00:35
Worth noting however that the attenuation figure drops significantly when the headband is worn in any position other than over the head, the Bilsom ones had a flexible plastic band to try to hold the earpieces in position but still gave a 10db drop in attenuation on the tables supplied with the muffs.

Also the ones fixed to helmets are again not up to the same standard as the ones with the over the head fitting.



Duncan

I don't usually wear a hard hat in the engine room if I can get away with it so I usually use the head band type. The Peltor neck band type are very worthy of consideration if hats must be worn - they are better than the helmet mounted ones and very close to the headband ones.

A wee note of interest to all of you that although companies must provide such PPE - if you are unhappy with it, the quality stuff is not expensive and in my experience most (though not all) companies are happy to pay for it on expenses

Burntisland Ship Yard
17th December 2009, 18:56
An interesting topic, and good that its being discussed. My first trip was in 1974, with a good old doxford opposed piston, need I say more. For a number of years there after I was on steam ships and as previous correspondants say at that time - 1970/early 80's hearing protection was viewed by seasoned engineers as for lack of a better word "Sissy" to use. However as younger engineers arrived the use of hearing protection became the norm rather than abnormal, and I must say, I became acustomed to wearing such, yes initially your awareness of pitch changes etc was not as good as having no hearing protection but like every thing else you become acustomed.
Suppose I am lucky in terms of my hearing is as close to normal {for my age]but I do know other who are less fortunate.
Great forum !
Finally Every one have a Good Festive Period !

Satanic Mechanic
19th December 2009, 03:39
BSY

I actually find earmuffs help me hear things in the engineroom, certainly the Peltor Optime 3s seem to attenuate the frequencies in such a way that any change in background noise is much more apparent - I suppose that by filtering out the real high decibels it may make other noises more noticable.

There are some really good regulations now and when I am doing new builds I am deadly strict about them. Thing about decibels is that they are logerithmic so a 1 decibel increase is a very large change in sound pressure. Its just one of my things together with lighting levels - now that is one guaranteed to put my blood pressure through the roof with Korean shipyards where it is one of their big blind spots.

steamer659
22nd December 2009, 10:55
Of course, there is a proven direct correlation to Hearing Loss and High Noise Environments- with the threshold value being somewhere around 80db.

I went to sea- in the engine room for 22 years (17 years sea time) and have been working ashore for twelve years, though my day to day duties keep me away from the engine rooms of my vessels, I still attend sea trials and sometimes get in the trenches during repairs and overhauls.

My hearing (especially the high frequency portion) has suffered TERRIBLY as a result of not having worn hearing protection when I should have... This was all medically documented.

My late Father In Law, though never having been to sea, suffered a similar hearing loss- he was a Master Carpenter for over 50 years and I suspect that all those electric hand tools and shop tools did this...He never listened to loud music..

ANY continuous noise environment which subjects us to noise levels above 80 db is destructive to our hearing and noise abatement measures must be employed to preserve our hearing.

THEDOC
27th December 2009, 15:13
When the UK Health and Safety at Work Act came in, almost 40 years ago, I was 4th Eng on a BP tanker. A decibel meter duly arrived and El Chiefo sent me to carry out the survey in the engine room. When I produced my deliberations, which showed that the only place that exceeded the "Act" at 92 db was beside the running Turboblowers, he sent the 3rd Eng to check my results. When the 2nd Eng carried out the third survey, with a replacement decibel meter, The Chief accepted our readings and sent off a sarcastically worded report to Head Office. Head office did not feel it neccessary to reply.

If you do get to see a specialist concerning deafness, make sure you use the shipyard standard approach -
1) When the receptionist calls your name :- Stay seated and say nothing.
2) When you finally reach the consultant's office and he bids you "Good Day!" always remember to look at your watch and reply "Quarter past three, Doctor!".
You might get a few quid out of it.

Sometimes, you see adverts for lawyers who deal with Asbestos related claims in the "Marine Engineer's Review".

DWD

We didnt even get that, we were told that merchant ships were exempt from the regs.

MWD
4th January 2010, 16:44
Interesting comments abourt turbine vessels.

The Union Castle Intermediate twin screw 1950's passenger steamships, Kenya, Rhodesia & Braemar Castles, all had one of the three diesel generators located in the main engine room between the two double reduction gear boxes. Some of the nastiest and penetrating noise I have ever encountered. On the Kenya guess which one ran every single bearing?

Nearly, 10 weeks in noisy hell on 6 on and 6 off! doing the rebuild and no ear defenders.

I can still enjoy classical music, However I don't know what this proves.

MWD.

Winebuff
14th January 2010, 15:51
Having spent nearly 10 years in and out of ships engine rooms some times with and some without ear protection, 25 years ago. I now find I have lost the ability to follow conversations in a noisy environment. In a pub, party or disco situation I struggle to hold a conversation. I a work situation where there is a background noise even radio music I often have to step outside to completely understand what is being said.
I had a hearing test about 3 years ago when I noticed the problem to be told there was nothing wrong. But they do not test in a "real" situation.

Peter B
14th January 2010, 16:50
Having spent nearly 10 years in and out of ships engine rooms some times with and some without ear protection, 25 years ago. I now find I have lost the ability to follow conversations in a noisy environment. In a pub, party or disco situation I struggle to hold a conversation. I a work situation where there is a background noise even radio music I often have to step outside to completely understand what is being said.
I had a hearing test about 3 years ago when I noticed the problem to be told there was nothing wrong. But they do not test in a "real" situation.
Following a conversation when there is background noise is exactly my problem too. Dinner parties are ok as long as people talk quietly to the person next to them on a one-to-one basis, but once the first glass of wine has been downed and people start to engage in random conversations across the table, I'm lost. I can't follow any of it or even speak to the person sitting next to me.
I therefore much prefer the company of a few select people over large parties. If I have to go, I always tell the people sitting next to me about my problem up front, as I may otherwise come across as rude later in the evening, as I just sit there, staring blankly into space, completely disengaged from any conversation. :-/
As I have explained in a previous post, my hearing is actually above average in the lower and upper frequency range, but severely damaged between 4 and 8 kHz.

greektoon
14th January 2010, 21:10
I am an ex deck officer with hearing problems. Its no joke. In normal circumstances it isn't a problem, but where there is background noise, such as in a pub or a party, I have great difficulty in following a conversation. It is not only an inconvenience, but can be embarassing and even humiliating when it can be misconstrued as stupidity or ignorance.

Winebuff
14th January 2010, 21:39
Peter B & greektoon - maybe we should meet for a quite pint and sit in convivial silence. You are right it is embarrassing to be considered rude.

spongebob
16th January 2010, 07:23
Winebuff,Peter B and Greektoon, you have no idea how much I enjoyed reading of your troubles in a noisy atmosphere, it all makes me feel less alone.
I have made a few contributions to this thread, #69,73,91. and what you describe hits the nail on the head.
A foursome chat in a quiet room or good music on its own still has the magic but get a few at the table with more than one under the belt and you might as well go home.

It reminds me of that old song;

Some enchanted evening
when you find your true love
when you hear her call you
across a crowed room
etc

Fat chance today!

Your post has been printed off and stuck on the kitchen notice board
just as a reminder to someone.

Bob

DWD
24th January 2010, 05:21
Interesting comments abourt turbine vessels.

The Union Castle Intermediate twin screw 1950's passenger steamships, Kenya, Rhodesia & Braemar Castles, all had one of the three diesel generators located in the main engine room between the two double reduction gear boxes. Some of the nastiest and penetrating noise I have ever encountered. On the Kenya guess which one ran every single bearing?

Nearly, 10 weeks in noisy hell on 6 on and 6 off! doing the rebuild and no ear defenders.

I can still enjoy classical music, However I don't know what this proves.

MWD.

It proves that classical music, and all other music, well some anyway, is God's gift. Remember, Beathoven was deaf as a post!


DWD
(Thumb)

spongebob
24th January 2010, 06:35
Deafness doesn't seem to kill your sense of tone or tempo, if you have one, though you may well lose touch with some of those higher notes, ala Uma Sumac of 8 octave fame in the fifties.
I cannot sing in tune but I can sure detect a bum note, perhaps that is why I seldom give voice
In fact you could well list good music and silence as two of the good things about deafness.

Bob

Dumah54
19th April 2010, 14:27
After 35 years in and around engine rooms, I'm convinced most of my hearing loss is due to Detroit converters, 71 series Detroit Diesels that convert fuel to noise, excellent gen sets at 1800 rpm if you can stand the scream. The quietest engines in my opinion would have to be Fairbanks Morse 38D8 1/8 or the 38D 5 1/4 opposed engines.; Just a softer whine as rpms altered, even under load were very quiet. I do have to agree, it wasn't macho when we old farts were "coming up" to use hearing protection. By the time I got over the mind block the damage was already done. Almost requires another thread on these lovely engines themselves.
Cheers and keep the yarns coming,
Dumah, Halifax, NS