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Headsets and ear plugs?


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#21 palmfish

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 22:35

More information about "masking."

I am music lover and audio enthusiast and coincidently happen to be reading a book by Floyd Toole titled, "Sound Reproduction: The acoustics and psychoacoustics of loudspeakers and rooms."

It's primarily a book about how loudspeakers interact with rooms in home theater installations, but Toole does briefly discuss hearing and loudness in the book. In Section 19.1.4 , Toole states, "Masking occurs when the presence of one sound inhibits the perception of another. The most common is that of simultaneous masking, when both sounds coexist." He later describes this with an example of a pure 500Hz tone masking a lower-level 2 kHz tone. The accompanying chart shows that this 500 Hz tone masks a range of frequencies - all lower-level than the masking tone.

This discussion leads to an interesting study (and chart) that illustrates masking - that while driving in a car, "music loses much of its bass, timbral subtlety and spacial envelopment. Only in a parking lot or in stop and go traffic can good car audio systems reveal their true excellence."

#22 Tarantula

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 11:57

I think ANR is great stuff. Fascinating technology, and effective for what it was designed to do. That said, I do not think ANR is the best thing to use for flying in a helicopter. To quote from this USAARL study

www.usaarl.army.mil/TechReports/98-9.PDF
ANR is a means used to reduce noise levels in a personal hearing protector by measuring the noise in the earcup and reinserting a processed and out-of-phase noise signal back into the earcup through an earphone. The reinserted sound signal combines with the noise originally measured and causes it to be canceled. This out-of-phase canceling technique usually is very effective for low frequencies, below 800 Hertz, but generally is ineffective for higher frequencies. In some designs, the ANR device increases the noise level inside the earcup in the region where ANR crosses zero attenuation.

Also, this website from Lightspeed states:

www.lightspeedaviation.com/content/lightspeedaviation/CustomPages/ANR-101-A-Tutorial-on-Active-Noise-Reduction/Section-3-Airplane-Issues.htm
Remember (from Section 2) that active cancellation works well only in the lower frequencies... it doesn't provide a noticeable dB reduction at frequencies over 500 Hz. Recall also that active systems require some tradeoffs in passive attenuation to support the needed modifications inside the domes. As such, they are not quite as effective in blocking out the higher frequency noise.


As a result, I opted for a helmet with CEP. Compared to just a regular headset, it is much quieter. Compared to ANR headsets that I've flown with (Lightspeed Zulu) I would say the CEP is overall quieter. With ANR I hear a high pitched whine in the background, sort of like when someone leaves an old tube TV on. Not many people seem to be able to hear those frequencies but that was a large deciding factor for me to go CEP over ANR. Because I can hear those frequencies, I would like to protect that part of my hearing as much as possible as well, and CEP provides the best overall protection.

Lastly, ANR sets take batteries. Even if you fly with spares, how long does it take for you to change them out, and how much hearing damage are you getting while doing so?

#23 aeroscout

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 12:49

Another excellent informative thread.

#24 palmfish

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 15:07

I think ANR is great stuff. Fascinating technology, and effective for what it was designed to do. That said, I do not think ANR is the best thing to use for flying in a helicopter. To quote from this USAARL study

Also, this website from Lightspeed states:


As a result, I opted for a helmet with CEP. Compared to just a regular headset, it is much quieter. Compared to ANR headsets that I've flown with (Lightspeed Zulu) I would say the CEP is overall quieter. With ANR I hear a high pitched whine in the background, sort of like when someone leaves an old tube TV on. Not many people seem to be able to hear those frequencies but that was a large deciding factor for me to go CEP over ANR. Because I can hear those frequencies, I would like to protect that part of my hearing as much as possible as well, and CEP provides the best overall protection.

Lastly, ANR sets take batteries. Even if you fly with spares, how long does it take for you to change them out, and how much hearing damage are you getting while doing so?


Interesting articles, I would like to read the full Lightspeed document.

FWIW, I use both types - CEP + helmet in helicopters and ANR (Bose A20) in airplanes. Both seem very effective, but as has been discussed many times, they are different. When I wear my helmet, I can definitely hear the low freq sounds getting through. Interestingly, out of curiosity, I once tried wearing foam plugs inside my Bose headset and I didn't like the results. It seemed that low freq sounds that are normally attenuated by the Bose were increased by the foam. My only explanation is that the foam plugs somehow increased bone conduction - at least, that's what it felt like.

I'm very interested in this subject and always trying new things. I have significant hearing loss already and am very sensitive to noise as a result. Anything I can find to help save what hearing I have left is worth it's weight in gold.
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#25 Tarantula

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 16:54

I left the link in my quote but here is a link to the whole series of pages they have on how ANR works. http://www.lightspee...e-Reduction.htm
They have another tutorial and a FAQ at http://www.lightspee...-Technology.htm

Its too bad that in addition to showing typical plane sound levels/frequencies they don't show R22/44 or S300 sound levels/frequencies. I can't seem to find those anywhere on the web.

#26 Gomer Pylot

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 17:11

It's interesting that they don't provide any information at all on helicopters, which have much more high-frequency noise than airplanes. I've never been able to wear ANR headsets, because the cavities are all too small for my large ears. My ears are pressed inward by the headsets, and that causes lots of pain within a few minutes. I can't stand standard headsets either, and always built my own from the David Clark hearing protectors used on aircraft carriers, with very deep domes. After discovering the in-the-ear headsets I switched to them since they're much more comfortable and provide as much hearing protection. Now I have to wear a helmet, and use CEP in it. I did install ANR in one of my headsets, using the kit from Headsets, Inc, IIRC. It did reduce noise, but since my headset already had excellent passive suppression, and it was uncomfortable, I removed it. I haven't really tried production ANR headsets, but I don't believe they're designed for use in helicopters, certainly not turbine models. Lots of people do like them, though, and it's really a matter of personal preference.
Best Regards,

Gomer

#27 palmfish

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 17:35

Before I bought the Bose A20, I did a 4-way in cockpit comparo between the Bose A20, Bose Aviation X, Lightspeed Zulu, and my Oregon Aero modified David Clark w/ CEP. The DC's tied with the Zulu and X ( overall NR was similar with the expected swings in high vs. low freq attenuation) in perceived noise attenuation. The A20 was noticeably quieter than all of them.

The airplane is a turbine (250 C20) modified Cessna 206.

I have started to notice my ears ringing more after flying the Cessna for longer stretches. I haven't decided if it's my imagination or not. All of my research and personal experience tells me the A20 is quiet, but I'm not certain there's isn't more going on yet. Everyone I know loves their Bose's, but I am much more noise averse than most everyone I know.

I don't fly the airplane nearly as much as the helicopter, so I haven't been able to reach a conclusion yet.

#28 palmfish

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 01:40

I left the link in my quote but here is a link to the whole series of pages they have on how ANR works. http://www.lightspee...e-Reduction.htm
They have another tutorial and a FAQ at http://www.lightspee...-Technology.htm

Its too bad that in addition to showing typical plane sound levels/frequencies they don't show R22/44 or S300 sound levels/frequencies. I can't seem to find those anywhere on the web.


Thank you for the links! The Lightspeed article explains the subject more thoroughly and succinctly than anything I've ever read before.

As Gomer pointed out though, I wish there was more information regarding helicopter and turbine airplane noise.

Also, I noted that it didn't really discuss equal loudness contours - the phenomenon that lower frequency noise sounds quieter than high frequency noise when they are both the same volume. A good example of this is found in music reproduction - bass has punch and weight when the volume is turned up, but when you turn the volume down, the bass seems to disappear first - hence the "loudness" buttons on many stereos to boost low volume bass.

On a typical loudness contour, a 60 Hz noise with a SPL of 100 dB is perceived to be the same volume as a 1 kHz noise at 80 dB.

#29 SBuzzkill

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 13:08

Might be a good article to write for a popular magazine ;)

#30 aeroscout

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 15:22

Might be a good article to write for a popular magazine ;)


This whole thread would be a great reference.

#31 alfredm123

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 01:26

Recently i bought a pair of ear plugs from safetydirect.Really they are very helpful to me and helped a lot for my insnomia.They are Disposable or reusable, easy-to-clean earplugs with plastic carrier and also Ideal for hardhats - can be worn with band under the
chin or behind the neck,If you want you can visit that website.Many varieties are there. I rellay enjoyed shopping online in that website www.safetydirect.ie

#32 mrkik

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 01:11

I still haven't bought a headset since I started this post, but I can't stand using the flight schools headsets any longer. My budget is around $200.

Flight training magazine gave an excellent review of the Gulf Coast Avionics ANR headset. http://www.gulfcoast...83-gca-anr.aspx

It's cheap and they say it works well.

There is this controversy about whether ANR actually protects your hearing. Hearing protection is my main focus. I am thinking of emailing both bose and light speed (as mentioned above) to see if they have some good input on the issue. Meanwhile, if anyone has a good recommendation for a headset that will fit my budget, I am all ears.

One other issue I have is my sunglasses breaking the seal of the headset over my ears. I am trying to think of a solution to this, but I haven't come up with one yet. Anyone have a solution to that?

#33 Gomer Pylot

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 16:56

I'm sure Bose and Lightspeed will have plenty of input concerning why you should buy their products, and not another brand.

My solution to the sunglass problem is in-the-ear headsets. For your budget, something like the Quiet Technologies HALO would be the closest match. The HALO gives more noise suppression across the spectrum than any domed headset, including ANR models. Finding a quality headset for $200 may be a problem, but you can try ebay and see what comes up. It can take awhile to find something affordable there, though.
Best Regards,

Gomer

#34 Pohi

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 19:33

My company policy is double hearing protection. Earplugs plus headset. I have, but don't use the Lightspeed Zulu, I bought the dc ANR instead for work, the Lightspeed is for at home flights.

I had really bad luck with the dc ANR though, had to send them back 3 times in 6 months because they kept breaking. I'm going to get rid of the ANR and get a regular dc passive headset for work (because I have used them for several weeks and they work great with earplugs)



#35 eagle5

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 21:07

With only $200 to spend it'll be tough. Find a passive headset with the highest NRR you can afford, and suppliment it with earplugs. As for the sunglass issue. Try shades with very thin arms, like Ray Ban Aviators!

If you're really serious about flying, I suggest you start saving up for a Zulu!

#36 Pohi

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 23:22

If you're really serious about flying, I suggest you start saving up for a Zulu!


I did that and no regrets. It's only equal to a few hours flight time for an amazing heafset

#37 mrkik

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 00:22

Perhaps I will ask to try one of my fellow pilot's zulu headsets for a flight.

Obviously, hearing is important to me, and if it means coming up with the $700+ :unsure: for a zulu, then perhaps that is what I'll do.

One question about the Zulu. I hear Lightspeed makes good improvements on the new releases of their headsets. Can you confirm this, or would it be better to save the $200 and get a used one?

#38 nightsta1ker

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 16:16

Im still fuzzy about this earplug thing. I can't hear the darn radio with the earplugs in. I have to crank the volume up all the way to understand it. Is there a particular type of earplug you guys are using? I only tried regular foamies.

#39 eagle5

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 20:18

Mine are purple, rated at 32, got them at Walmart,...or Target I do have to turn the volume up all the way on the panel, but I can still turn my headset volume down a bit and still hear the radio. Perhaps you can try not sticking them in as deep? I don't put them in as far as they say because then they hurt my ears.

#40 palmfish

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 12:49

CEP's are the way to go. They are affordable and very effective.

But if you're eating Ramen every night, then get these memory foam earplugs...

http://www.Shop3M.co...tml?WT.z_bynt=1

They are much softer and more comfortable than the yellow EAR plugs. I got a box of 200 pairs for less than $30. I keep it in the garage for when I use power tools or drive the convertible.
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