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New 3M electronic earplugs enable communication in extreme environments

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article image 3M’s new Peltor OraTac earplugs
A range of electronic earplugs available from 3M Safety Products enables clear communication in workplaces exposed to high noise levels.

The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is widespread in most modern workplaces where workers are exposed to hazards such as noise, noxious gases, dust and fumes. Workers in these environments are required to wear PPE such as hearing protection, respirators, coveralls, gloves, goggles or visors and helmets.

While this equipment is necessary for worker safety, it can create secondary hazards including issues with field of vision, manual dexterity and discomfort.

Clear communication between workers can be impacted by PPE. In areas with high noise exposures, the correct use of earplugs or earmuffs reduces exposure and protects workers’ hearing. However, their ability to communicate with fellow workers can also be reduced, leading to additional problems.

Likewise, workers wearing respirator masks will not be heard in noisy environments, making clear communication more difficult.

3M Safety Products introduces the new Peltor OraTac in-ear system, a range of battery powered electronic earplugs that connect the worker via a push-to-talk module to a two-way radio and allow the wearer to talk to others on the network.

The microphone and speakers are both contained in the earplugs with the sound being transferred directly from the skull to the miniature microphones and directly into the ear via the speakers. This pathway reduces vocal distortion caused by the facemask. The volume can be adjusted and there is no boom microphone to get in the way of a visor or mask. The earplugs also give a rated level of protection (AS/NZS 1270) to protect the ears from the ambient noise.

3M’s new Peltor OraTac earplugs can also provide an ambient awareness function, enabling the wearer to adjust the volume to hear the ambient noise as needed (e.g. alarms, vehicles, announcements, etc.). When the noise reaches a certain level, the attenuation of the ear plugs will cut in and protect against these higher noise levels.

3M’s new Peltor OraTac earplugs are recommended for use with full or half face respirators, hoods, helmets and visor systems, helping to promote clear and effective communication between workers, and improving safety and worker efficiency.

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