Darryl, I ALWAYS wear ear protection, even with just a DA or prolonged hammer and dolly. I do know how loud it is, the other guys in the shop told me.
I will work at practicing as you describe. I wasn't starting it at full speed prior to touching the panel. And the PDR light, yeah I have a feeling I am going to be getting me a full size after getting the hang of it with the little one. Remember, I am an old bodyman and the real PDR technqiues are not the usual for us. As you know PDR and "autobody" are really two different things. This is one of the reasons I WANT to be able to do it. I want to be able to do more than "just" bodywork.