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Intelligent hearing protection

Connecting workers in noisy environments

In many industrial environments, especially in extreme noise or isolated environments, Hearing Conservation Program managers are trying to balance personal hearing protection with the ability to communicate.

The hearing capabilities of a worker are vital for communication and help to reduce the risk of other hazards or injury.

Too much protection and the worker cannot hear and is vulnerable to other safety hazards. Too little protection and the worker is at a higher risk for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

Good news is the technology to bridge this gap does exist: QPi from Howard Leight by Honeywell.

QPi can intelligently protect, but also connect workers in extreme noise environments. Originally used by US military and NATO forces, a QPi range was designed especially for
use in industrial environments.

The QPi is an exciting new range of intelligent communication devices and hearing protection systems.

It was developed for workers who must balance sufficient hearing protection and at the
same time manage two-way radio communications.

It is also ideal for workers who use passive hearing protectors with a radio and mainly need to intelligibly understand and communicate.

Common solutions generally involve electronic earmuff headsets with a boom microphone that is hooked up to communication radios.

While these protectors are perceived to enable workers to do both – communicate and protect their hearing – in reality they do not provide sufficient attenuation or ensure situational awareness, and are often misused.

Challenges with these set ups can be the lack of attenuation level achieved, the problems with not being able to adapt to varying noise levels, speech transmission, incorporation of additional PPE, dual hearing protection scenarios and of course, wear time.

Why you should choose QPi:

High noise exposures – Most communication headsets offer attenuation levels ranging from low- to mid-20 decibels and are not ideal for extreme noise environments (95 dB or higher).

Passive protection – Most communication headsets are designed for use in constant noise levels and only offer passive protection. Most do not adapt to changing noise levels (eg. intermittent or impact noise).

Difficult speech intelligibility – Communicating in high noise levels and risky environments requires a high level of concentration by the user. Without good passive protection, the worker may need to raise the volume of their headset speaker at increased risk for NIHL. Likewise, if a boom microphone cannot clearly transmit speech, the person receiving the communication may not hear the message in full and may put others in harm’s way.

Wear with other PPE – for any PPE to be effective, it must not interfere with other equipment worn. A respiratory mask for instance, blocks the boom microphone from picking up the voice, making two-way communication nearly impossible.

Dual protection requirements – Some companies require workers to use dual protection
in extreme noise environments (100 dB or higher). A properly fitted ear plug inhibits a worker’s ability to hear through a communication headset.

Improper use leads to unknown attenuation – It is not uncommon for communication headset users to place one earcup on the ear, and leave one off the other ear in order to hear their surrounding environment. There are all crucial things to hear in order to prevent higher risk of accident, but having one ear consistently exposed to hazardous noise, increases the risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

Despite all the best intentions, occupational hearing loss still happens.

Companies with zero-tolerance for workplace injuries still have not been able to eliminate NIHL as an occupational injury.

The QPi by Howard Leight from Honeywell balances workable noise levels with advanced
hearing protection and intelligent communication to ensure workers maintain complete situational awareness.

The robust yet lightweight QPi ensures that users are protected from hazardous noise while they remain aware of their situation with full directional hearing.

Integrating these capabilies with communication technology in one device ensures that the users of QPi perform effectively and safely on the job.

QPi greatly improves communication in noisy surroundings while protecting, but not overprotecting, workers from complex and damaging noise.

It “enhances” workers’ hearing where and when needed and is compatible with most two-way communication devices.

As important as hearing protection, as necessary as being able to communicate despite high noise, it is equally important and necessary for workers to remain in touch with their surroundings. Imagine the danger created by not hearing an alarm or the sound of nearby machinery.

QPi’s smart technology seamlessly reproduces sound, naturally and clearly, without affecting high noise attenuation. And it does so automatically, using ultra fast digital processing, that is hands-free to the user.

Sperian Protection
Ph: 1300 139 166
www.sperian.com