You are here

Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Customising, building or repairing your own gear? Need help with acoustic treatment or soundproofing? Ask away…

Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Postby Fronnopr » Thu May 30, 2019 2:59 pm

Hi, guys!

Some Background:

During my summers I mainly work with landscaping, hardscaping and metal fabrication. All have the potential to be extremely noisy at times. I work alone a lot of the time so tunes are always a good thing and make the day pass by quicker and is a hell of a lot nicer than listening to the drone of the equipment all the time.

I’m sure you all have done the old earbuds under the earmuffs bit, but that &*$^%@ cord always seems to find its way to wrap itself around anything and everything! I have used the 3M work tunes, which are fantastic for radio, but the auxiliary input kind of blows. There is still the problem with that cord. So if you are looking to listen to music from your iPod your kind of SOL. There is nothing really out there that allows you to wirelessly listen to music and still get hearing protection.

Yes, there are Bluetooth headsets out there that claim to be noise canceling, but that’s still not hearing protection.

So the big question arises: Why hasn’t someone combined a Bluetooth headset, good speakers, and a decent set of ear muffs and mashed them together? I want something that sounds decent, won’t get cords wrapped around things and yank earbuds from your cranium, and provide enough sound deadening so that way I won’t go deaf by 40.

Now to the real meat of the post:

I came up with a prototype of what I was describing above. I grabbed a set of 3M earmuffs and stuffed a Bluetooth headset in the lobes hooked up to two halfway decent speakers. I wired it up to two push buttons to be able to turn the headset on and play and pause the music. It has a built-in rechargeable battery that gets about 5 or so hours of being on before it needs to have rejoiced. The charger hooks up to a standard USB plug so it is easy to recharge.

Everything is going great at this point and the prototype works fairly well. But I have kind of plateaued on where to go with it. I feel like it is a neat idea that has the potential to be something that people would want to buy.
Is this something that you guys would have an interest in if it was to be developed along a little further? I’m thinking along the lines of making it water resistant and longer battery life to just name two things.

What are your thoughts? Is it a marketable idea?
User avatar
Fronnopr
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu May 30, 2019 11:55 am
Location: New York

Re: Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 30, 2019 3:19 pm

Yes, it's a marketable idea... but the market is necessarily very small. And there's also a potential health and safety issue -- playing music may well reduce the user's awareness and thus safety when working in a noisy environment. I know plenty of people do as you suggest, but it's something to consider if you're looking to make this a commercial product.

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27005
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Postby blinddrew » Thu May 30, 2019 3:35 pm

There's probably a much larger market if look at commuters as well. People who want to pop their tunes on whilst on the train/plane/bus but don't want to have to blast their eardrums out to compete with the conversation/neighbour's phone/screaming kids. :)

Hugh's H&S points are very important though - you'll probably need a list of disclaimers as long as your arm...
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10162
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 30, 2019 4:17 pm

blinddrew wrote:There's probably a much larger market if look at commuters as well. People who want to pop their tunes on whilst on the train/plane/bus but don't want to have to blast their eardrums out to compete with the conversation/neighbour's phone/screaming kids. :)

I think those people would probably be quite happy either with noise-cancelling headphones, or ear-buds -- the latter able to attenuate ambient noise by as much as 15-20dB if a good fit!

Proper industrial ear-defenders -- of the type the OP is describing -- all provide more than 20dB of broadband attenuation and some can approach 35-40dB which is a whole different ballpark.

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27005
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Postby blinddrew » Thu May 30, 2019 4:32 pm

I could survey my fellow commuters by shouting the question really loudly and seeing who gives me an angry stare? ;)
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10162
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 30, 2019 5:25 pm

:lol: :thumbup:
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27005
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Postby James Perrett » Thu May 30, 2019 5:42 pm

It may be worth pointing out that there are already earplugs with built-in transducers like the ones at

https://www.acscustom.com/ie/index.php? ... Itemid=106

The innovative part of your idea is to lose the cable by using Bluetooth. The main issue for sound engineers is that Bluetooth uses lossy codecs so the sound quality will suffer slightly.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 9195
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Postby Funkyflash5 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 4:46 pm

I'm also in the landscape business, and I use the 3m WorkTunes Connect which is exactly what you're describing, sound protection earmuffs with Bluetooth built in.
Funkyflash5
Regular
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:43 am
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Re: Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Postby hobbyist » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:03 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
blinddrew wrote:
some can approach 35-40dB which is a whole different ballpark.

H

Never found any in the states claiming over 33dB.
Most are typically somewhat less than that.

Can you cite a brand name and supplier for the larger protection ones?

Thanks.
hobbyist
Regular
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:52 am

Re: Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Postby Kwackman » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:39 pm

hobbyist wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:
blinddrew wrote:
some can approach 35-40dB which is a whole different ballpark.

H

Never found any in the states claiming over 33dB.
Most are typically somewhat less than that.

Can you cite a brand name and supplier for the larger protection ones?

Thanks.

There are a few on this page....
https://www.screwfix.com/c/safety-workw ... /cat850380
User avatar
Kwackman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1726
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Belfast
Cubase, guitars.

Re: Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Postby hobbyist » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:14 am

Kwackman wrote:
hobbyist wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:
blinddrew wrote:
some can approach 35-40dB which is a whole different ballpark.

H

Never found any in the states claiming over 33dB.
Most are typically somewhat less than that.

Can you cite a brand name and supplier for the larger protection ones?

Thanks.

There are a few on this page....
https://www.screwfix.com/c/safety-workw ... /cat850380


Thanks. Those are over the ear muff types.

Most were still in the range of 30dBish like the in ear plugs are:
2 were 35 one 36 and one 37.

While I use some like those and also in ear plugs most people do not want to wear the over the head strap and have their ears covered even if people in certain jobs do use them.
hobbyist
Regular
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:52 am

Re: Hearing protection and listening to music wirelessly at once

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:31 am

hobbyist wrote:Can you cite a brand name and supplier for the larger protection ones?

3M do several such as the Peltor X5A (37dB) or the Optime III (35dB). The Optime iiA claims 40.2dB. There's also the Howard Light Thunder T3 (36dB)


... but you have to be careful with the numbers because there are different ways of measuring and specifying the attenuation. The numbers above are SNR values (the dominant spec in Europe) which are always ~6dB higher than the NRR value (the dominant spec in the USA).

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 27005
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound