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Hearing protection types, likes and dislikes. Even ANR welcomed


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#1 WolftalonID

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 10:12

Ok,

Lets bring in a well deserved conversation regarding hearing protection. We all need it, want it, and use it. What changes have you made over the years, what changes would you like to see the industry bring on.

Headsets, helmets, ear plugs....lets discuss.

What type of flying are you doing, what do you use, what would,you like to use.

As far as ANR...both sides of the argument are welcome, just bring on some facts!! If you can also supply facts on things like passive headsets, CEP ear pieces, ear plugs, and or any other useful information lets do so.

Thanks.

Enjoy this while we wait!
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#2 r22butters

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 14:02

Well, ok,...

During training I used the loner headsets, DC passive, not the highest NRR, but they were free so,...

Eventually I started wearing ear plugs underneath (don't remember why) they boast an NRR of 32, but who knows? I don't put them in as deep as the instructions say, 'cause one that hurts my ears and two it blocks too much and I can't hear sh*t!

After my private when I started just farting around in a 22 as a casual renter, I bought the DC H10-66 (NRR 27) passive, because the decription said, "for high noise helicopters", and up until I climbed into an S55 I thought the 22 (with the doors off) was pretty noisey!?

About seven years later I decided to try ANR and bought the first model Zulu (back when they only offered one), it felt exactly the same as the bose I had used many times flying a "bose equipped" 44, but was cheaper and had a plug for my ipod. I have never regretted buying it.

I still wear earplugs under my Zulu, because as I stated in the other thread, without them my ears bother me afterwards.

Incidentally, when I flew the S55 I wore my old passive DC because quite frankly my Zulu seems a bit fragile and I was concerned that the extremely high noise level of that old beast could damage it? My DC did just fine (with plugs underneath of course)!

Never tried CEP and never liked wearing a helmet, in fact the main reason I never wanted to fly HEMS (despite loving to fly at night (over 350hrs and counting) as well as landing in tight off-airport places) is because I'd have to wear one,...and what can I say, I just don't want to show up at the nudy bar after work each night with helmet hair! :)
The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fifteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

Aaaaaaaany day now! :D

#3 Hand_Grenade_Pilot

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 17:56

David Clark fan myself. Have never let me down over the years.

I primarily use a David Clark H10-13HXL. Excellent passive noise cancellation. The ANR feature does further reduce noise, but not to the extent of Bose & Lightspeed headsets. Heavy as far as headsets are concerned, but you get used to it. Pretty comfortable (have the extra thick head pad and gel ear cups installed). Dependable and durable; going on 6 years, no issues. Works great w/ doors off. Over the past year have stopped using the ANR feature; experiencing minor inner ear discomfort w/ it active. Not painful, but a slight pressure/awkward feeling. Notice a similar feeling too using a different non-aviation Bluetooth headset w/ ANR.

Also have a David Clark H10-60H w/ a CEP mod. Noise reduction / audio clarity from the CEP kit is awesome. The CEP cable is flimsy though, and are about $60 to replace. Earbuds have to be replaced on a regular basis too; they become softer after repeated use and less effective at blocking noise.

Don't use it for my current job, but have a dual visor Gentex helmet w/ a CEP kit. By far the best noise protection I've experienced, super quiet even w/ the doors off. Downside is that it's one of the bulkiest helmets out there. Found it to be very comfortable in regards to fit, but miserable in hot weather.

Tried a Lightspeed Zulu once. Hated it; got a lot of vibrations and distorted audio from it flying w/ the doors off. Seemed like wind buffeting was causing problems w/ the ANR.

Considering purchasing a Clarity Aloft earbud headset; would like some input from others regarding their experience.
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#4 r22butters

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 10:29

Over the past year have stopped using the ANR feature; experiencing minor inner ear discomfort w/ it active. Not painful, but a slight pressure/awkward feeling. Notice a similar feeling too using a different non-aviation Bluetooth headset w/ ANR.

Ditto with both my Zulu and a non aviation Bose I tried once. I have noticed though that wearing earplugs underneath has alleviated that discomfort,...which is why I still plug up under my Zulu when using it on an airliner to watch my DVD player.

Tried a Lightspeed Zulu once. Hated it; got a lot of vibrations and distorted audio from it flying w/ the doors off. Seemed like wind buffeting was causing problems w/ the ANR.


Sometimes in the 22 with my door off I get a popping in my door off side earcup, but only when I turn my head a certain way, and fortunately not all the time!

Being able to turn off the ANR seems like a nice feature, sadly turning off my Zulu turnes all radio calls into unintelligible, muffled, noise!
The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fifteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

Aaaaaaaany day now! :D

#5 Eric Hunt

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 19:51

Wore helmets for 21 years of Hueys and jets and B206, then 11 years in the civil world just a DC headset. Finally tried an ANR headset for 6 years and was pleasantly surprised by the improvement in quietness.

 

Then back to a helmet for 6 years. No ANR as the boss was a cheapskate.

 

BUT MY HEARING IS JUST FINE, I TELL YOU! ......I SAID IT'S JUST FINE!...WHAT'S THAT CONSTANT RINGING IN MY EARS, ANYWAY? ...CAN YOU HEAR ME?.. HELLO......


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#6 twinhueyman

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 12:13

I'm a big fan of CEPs. After using DCs and Gentex helmets for a while, I settled on a pair of AVCOMM 747s with CEP installed - great PNR out of the headset, and the CEPs make em even better. My helmet is a 56/P with Hush Kit and CEPS ("Hear Through") that I luckily got installed on a DoD contract. When I don't use the CEPs, both of my rigs still provide great PNR - clarity of the radio does suffer without the CEPs (everything is Crystal clear with the plugs).

The CEP dongles have been a point of failure for me, but having dealt with CEP Inc shows they take criticism and make things better. The new dongles they have are much smaller and more comfortable, and definitely are way stronger where they used to fray and split.

Never been a fan of ANR. Whoops the battery died, whoops the door is off, and the cost of initial investment isn't worth it for me.

Mike
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#7 LionHeart

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 09:13

I used basic DC for all of my training. Once I got my first flying job I figured I'd get a decent ANR set. I owned the Zulu 2's for about a month but couldn't get over the buffeting sound they would make if the ear seal wasn't perfect.

I tried a set of A20's and they seemed comparable to the Zulus except for being slightly less comfortable.

I've been using a set of the base model Clarity Aloft and have no plans to use anything else. They are very comfortable and have clearest communication of anything I've tried so far.

They are a bit more of a hassle to but on, but I don't even notice it anymore. We get issued Zulu 2's at work, but I let the PAX use it.

#8 SBuzzkill

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 19:43

I use an HGU-56/P with a hush kit as well as the comfort kit from Oregon Aero.  I love it, it is incredibly quiet compared to the David Clark H10-36s we also have available even when doubling up on hearing protection.

 

I used to wear CEPs but found the discomfort of wearing them outweighed the sound reduction benefit.  That said, the OH-58 even with no doors is a quiet aircraft compared to many others.


Edited by SBuzzkill, 08 July 2017 - 19:43.


#9 avbug

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 18:00

I have used a number of different headsets and helmets over the years.  I picked up a new helmet this year, and wish I'd had it years ago.

 

Around the shop or on the ramp, I usually use custom earplugs, or foam earplugs.  Radians makes an inexpensive moldable earplug that one fits to one's own ear, and cures in a few minutes.  Instant custom earplugs.  Those work well.  In high noise environments, I use those, plus over the ear hearing protectors.

 

In lower noise cockpit environments where a helmet isn't appropriate, I like ANR headsets.  ANR in typical headsets does little to provide hearing protection, but does enhance understanding and communication immensely.  I find that on long flights, I feel less fatigued after using an ANR, vs. passive.  I prefer Bose.

 

In helmets, I used Oregon Aero hush kits as passive protection in hard earcups and on the earseals, for a long time.  I had an HGU-55 for many years that way, and later added CEP.  It was lighter than other helmets, more comfortable, and It got used (and did it's job) in a forced landing without power.  While CEP was a step up in hearing and enabled me to use lower radio volume, presently I'm using an Eagle Alpha helmet with a similar system and custom earpieces.  

 

This summer during the fire season, I've had some long days, frequently timing out, and where in the past I'd have had headaches and a lot of hot spots, this year I've had none.  No issues at all, very comfortable.  This new helmet has no ANR, though it could be retrofitted.  I decided to fly the season and see how the helmet worked before attempting to put ANR in the helmet.  I'm still undecided, because it's quiet enough I hear far more airflow than I do engine noise or other sound, and communication has been very clear.  

 

This helmet was from Pro Flight Gear out of Marana, AZ (and an office in TN, I believe).  Rather than CEP, its got a system called "pace" which uses a 3mm jack and custom vented ear plugs (CEP style plugs are an option).  Rather than the Oregon Aero kit, this one uses a proprietary headliner and ear seal called "zero g."  It's been a lot more comfortable than other helmet liners and ear seals, features a combination of material that breathes better, and my perception is that it's quieter, too.  

 

I went to pro flight gear looking for a refurbish on my old helmet, and ended up buying new.  I'm glad I did.  I only wish I had years ago.  


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#10 Eric Hunt

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 20:43

The early ANR headsets (early 90s) could be a bit annoying - turning your head quickly would lead to a pressure pulse in one ear, and it got to the stage where I had the choice between not turning my head (not good lookout or airmanship) or not wearing the ANR. I ditched the ANR.



#11 pavehawkfavehawk

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 06:35

There are a lot of cool set ups you guys have. That Eagle helmet looks sweet, avbug. 

 

I fly Pavehawks, which is pretty much a UH-60L with a take off weight of between 21,5 and 22,000 due to all the fuel and mission equipment. So they rattle a lot and we always have a lot of pitch in the blades. We also fly doors off a good deal so it gets pretty loud.

 

I use foamy CEPs plus an Oregon Aero Hushkit and comfort kit with my HGU-56. The Hush kit was a HUGE upgrade from the ear-cup foam that comes with the helmet. The comfort kit also helps me get a good seal around my ear compared to the standard plastic ear cup seals. 

 

The CEPs are the worst part because my ears are weird sizes so they are either too big and hurt after about 3-4 hours or they fall out and one ear gets blasted with my earcup speakers. 

 

I've used PACE in the past and really like the system for comfort since the ear pieces are molded to your ears and ease of hookup, but the wires end up wearing out really fast. Usually I blow through one set in every deployment. As an added bonus, the system is a 3.5mm aux hookup that's installed on the back of the helmet that plugs into the CEP port. So if your PACE gets messed up you can just unplug it and switch to CEPs. ALSO, since it's a 3.5mm you can get an extender then plug your IPOD into it and have tunes on those long cross country flights.

 

I also fly with a mandible shield sometimes. I've found that with the shield on and visor down it also reduces the noise a tiny  bit. 



#12 avbug

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 21:33

I originally had the CEP port on the back of the Alpha, and used the adapter to 3mm for the PACE.  It was a little too long for my taste, and kept hooking on the airbag portion of the shoulder harness when I'd turn my head.  I had a separate 3mm port attached externally with an adel clamp, which works much better for me.  I put several hundred hours on the PACE setup this year, and it held up quite well.  



#13 superstallion6113

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 16:03

I wear my trusty David Clarks with the Oregon Aero Hush Kit. 


Edited by superstallion6113, 24 October 2017 - 16:03.


#14 brian74

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 02:26

Hushkit all the way! Had mine 6 years now. Time to order another one as its falling apart now.

#15 brian74

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 02:26

Hushkit all the way! Had mine 6 years now. Time to order another one as its falling apart now.




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