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Old 10-01-2014, 11:23 PM   #1
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Active Noise Canceling Hearing Protection

Anyone use Active Noise Canceling Head Sets in your loud, (above engine) pilot house?

The higher frequencies coming from my engine are not a problem. The low, droning "growl" is loud and difficult to control with normal tactics (sound blankets).

I am considering getting some of these: Electronic Hearing Protection, Active Noise Canceling Headphones, Industrial Safety Earmuffs | Pro Tech NoiseBuster

I do not require that these have the ability to withstand water or salt spray. Pilot House use only.

Steve
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Old 10-02-2014, 01:49 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Panope View Post
Anyone use Active Noise Canceling Head Sets in your loud, (above engine) pilot house?

The higher frequencies coming from my engine are not a problem. The low, droning "growl" is loud and difficult to control with normal tactics (sound blankets).

I am considering getting some of these: Electronic Hearing Protection, Active Noise Canceling Headphones, Industrial Safety Earmuffs | Pro Tech NoiseBuster

I do not require that these have the ability to withstand water or salt spray. Pilot House use only.

Steve
OSHA receives a tremendous amount of criticism, but I've spent a lot of time running manufacturing operations and if it wasn't for their regulations we'd have many more people losing fingers, hearing and sight. The resistance to Ear protection and goggles is incredible. But a weighted average over 85 db is a huge problem and an unnecessary problem. I applaud your move toward Earmuffs. No one is allowed in my engine room with the engines running without ear protection. And, yes, you can still hear what you need to. They attenuate noise, don't eliminate all sound.
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Old 10-02-2014, 05:53 AM   #3
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The tech is here for Active Noise Canceling to be installed in the PH.

Why headphones when the area can be somewhat silenced?
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:35 AM   #4
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The tech is here for Active Noise Canceling to be installed in the PH.

Why headphones when the area can be somewhat silenced?
It depends on how many and how loud your engines are. But if you have two engines plus one gen running at the same time and you're right in the middle of them, it's likely to be loud. Many boats with large CATS have readings in the 80's at the helm even so imagine what the noise is like in the engine room. While our engine room never reaches a level that OSHA would be opposed to we still believe in safety earmuffs while in there.

Now I didn't realize, even though his post is clear, that he was talking pilothouse. If our pilothouse had noise regularly above 80 db then we'd think of using them there. On the other hand we would do what we could to isolate engine room noise. But it's difficult. Every current Hatteras i've seen tested reached a level of over 80 at WOT, some up to 85. Just looked at the test of a Cabo 44 with CAT's and the db levels reach 94. That level can definitely cause hearing loss. Many feel a prolonged level over 85 decibels can potentially cause damage.

But even if less than that, if you're finding it somehow bothersome, it may be that the harmonics in some way are bothering your ears and may or may not have the potential of harm. Even if just annoying, it's worth addressing.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:15 AM   #5
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When working in my shop (or ER) only briefly, I use muffs. But for extended periods, I used Etymotic ETY-plugs which appear to have the same low frequency attenuation as the ProTechs but are flatter across the frequency range (the ProTechs have quite a bit of attenuation at high frequencies).
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:39 AM   #6
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When working in my shop (or ER) only briefly, I use muffs. But for extended periods, I used Etymotic ETY-plugs which appear to have the same low frequency attenuation as the ProTechs but are flatter across the frequency range (the ProTechs have quite a bit of attenuation at high frequencies).
Those can work well. Sadly the reason those are not used in industrial environments is that it's more difficult to tell if the person is wearing them. But in one's own environment it's a matter of what one finds most comfortable.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:43 AM   #7
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But in one's own environment it's a matter of what one finds most comfortable.
Physically and stylistically comfortable - there is no way I could get my wife to wear those muffs under any conceivable condition where she had an option of not being on the boat short of diving off and swimming ashore.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:50 AM   #8
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Physically and stylistically comfortable - there is no way I could get my wife to wear those muffs under any conceivable condition where she had an option of not being on the boat short of diving off and swimming ashore.
Wifey B: Well, I do wear them on those rare visits to the engine room, although I'd really like some cuter ones. But up in the pilothouse or something, no way. Do you and your wife have them in multiple colors?
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:04 AM   #9
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It depends on how many and how loud your engines are. But if you have two engines plus one gen running at the same time and you're right in the middle of them, it's likely to be loud. Many boats with large CATS have readings in the 80's at the helm even so imagine what the noise is like in the engine room. While our engine room never reaches a level that OSHA would be opposed to we still believe in safety earmuffs while in there.

Now I didn't realize, even though his post is clear, that he was talking pilothouse. If our pilothouse had noise regularly above 80 db then we'd think of using them there. On the other hand we would do what we could to isolate engine room noise. But it's difficult. Every current Hatteras i've seen tested reached a level of over 80 at WOT, some up to 85. Just looked at the test of a Cabo 44 with CAT's and the db levels reach 94. That level can definitely cause hearing loss. Many feel a prolonged level over 85 decibels can potentially cause damage.

But even if less than that, if you're finding it somehow bothersome, it may be that the harmonics in some way are bothering your ears and may or may not have the potential of harm. Even if just annoying, it's worth addressing.
Yep, I am talking Pilothouse or other noisy, interior space. I have not tested the sound pressure level (db) with a gauge. The sound is not bothersome for shorter periods of say, less than 2 hours. I did put 17 hours on the engine this past weekend and because of the cooler weather, I was in the PH for most of the trip. The steady drone did become fatiguing but certainly not painful and no ear ringing afterward.

The piston aircraft world (similar frequency engine noise/r.p.m.) as benefited greatly from this "active" technology with no negative side effects (other than cost) as pilots were already wearing headsets with wired intercoms between crew.

Plugging into an intercom would be problematic (on the boat) as I move around quite a bit. I wonder if these active units inhibit the ability to hear speech from crew or from the VHF.

Steve
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:10 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by refugio View Post
When working in my shop (or ER) only briefly, I use muffs. But for extended periods, I used Etymotic ETY-plugs which appear to have the same low frequency attenuation as the ProTechs but are flatter across the frequency range (the ProTechs have quite a bit of attenuation at high frequencies).
Refugio, I noticed that the specs for the ProTechs do indeed have similar PASSIVE low frequency attenuation as the ETY-plugs. But notice (to the right of their chart) that the ACTIVE attenuation is another 20 db in the low frequency range.

Steve
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:20 AM   #11
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Physically and stylistically comfortable - there is no way I could get my wife to wear those muffs under any conceivable condition where she had an option of not being on the boat short of diving off and swimming ashore.
Quote:
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Wifey B: Well, I do wear them on those rare visits to the engine room, although I'd really like some cuter ones. But up in the pilothouse or something, no way. Do you and your wife have them in multiple colors?
Refugio, Wife and Myself are small airplane pilots and accustomed to wearing headsets so I am thinking she would probably take to wearing these on the boat. She is new to boating and part of my rationale with this whole sound attenuation thing is to make her experience as pleasant as possible.

Wifey B, Good point about the colors. I'll be sure and let my wife select her own .

Steve
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:32 AM   #12
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The tech is here for Active Noise Canceling to be installed in the PH.

Why headphones when the area can be somewhat silenced?
FF, I would love to have the entire space attenuated but I believe this technology would require quite a bit of expensive, and large equipment (sensors, processors, amplifiers, drivers).

Hard to beat putting on a set of headphones for simplicity and cost.

Steve
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Old 10-02-2014, 12:14 PM   #13
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FF, I would love to have the entire space attenuated but I believe this technology would require quite a bit of expensive, and large equipment (sensors, processors, amplifiers, drivers).

Hard to beat putting on a set of headphones for simplicity and cost.

Steve
If the db level isn't that high and it's just the low drone, just having some music on might be enough to relieve things.
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Old 10-02-2014, 12:52 PM   #14
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About 10 years ago I bought a nice set of noise canceling headphones to use on the tractor. I think they were around $150 from Pro Ears and I could connect the headset to a radio. The noise canceling worked very well by cutting off the high frequency noise yet I could still hear my music. The ear phones worked really well on the range as well allowing one to clearly hear range commands yet cutting off loud noises. Pretty amazing technology.

Unfortunately, the headphones rolled out of the truck, I think, and into a school parking lot. I hoped that someone would turn them in to Lost and Found but that did not happen. They were not run over either since there was no plastic where I lost them. I did not replace them due to cost and just use a set of headset with a build in radio when using the tractor.

Constant noise from an engine really wears you down mentally.

Later,
Dan
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:08 PM   #15
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I use a pair of Bose NC headphones at work But I NEVER wear them on watch in the wheelhouse. Although they do work wonders, I cant risk hearing a faint 'man overboard' yell or some other call on the VHF. As a matter of fact, I'm wearing them now, in my bunk, listening to Pandora on them now.
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Old 10-02-2014, 06:20 PM   #16
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I use a pair of Bose NC headphones at work But I NEVER wear them on watch in the wheelhouse. Although they do work wonders, I cant risk hearing a faint 'man overboard' yell or some other call on the VHF. As a matter of fact, I'm wearing them now, in my bunk, listening to Pandora on them now.
The headphones I had would amplify faint noises. I would use headphones to listen to the critters walking around in the woods which worked well. Really amazing and I wish I still had the headphones.

Later,
Dan
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:13 PM   #17
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I have headphones for shooting

I have several sets of headphones for shooting, pretty inexpensive and effective on the range. I don't know how they would work for engine noise. They are pretty cool outside as well because you can amplify sound as well. They are not very expensive, around $60 or so. They allow you to hear voice commands but suppress the sound of gunfire.
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:36 PM   #18
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The tech is here for Active Noise Canceling to be installed in the PH.

Why headphones when the area can be somewhat silenced?
FF, I'm very interested in your findings in PH active noise attenuation. I'm a big fan of Bose Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) headsets having used two generations of them in aviation. I was very impressed, especially with the Bose X. Several years ago, Beechcraft started installing ANC systems in their King Air aircraft and the effect was impressive. I think similar results can be obtained in marine applications for a fraction of the cost.

I already have a 5-speaker Bose speaker system in my salon. How hard can it be to mount a couple of microphones and a processor to feed the reverse phase audio signal into the speakers to attenuate the ambient noise? I think it would be a much better option than wearing headsets.

Please post an update on the results of your meeting with the tech.
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:56 PM   #19
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Cappy208 came up with similar thought, I too use the Bose AM/FM head set for the same reason. They allow me to listen to my Sirius radio and muffle l the engine noise in the cabin.
Able to continue conversations, deaden the engine sound, and hear news and music as we travel along at a sedate 6 knots.
Turn off the radio and they work for the open engine hatch during running engine checks.
Me thinks that level of pilot house noise is what Panope is seeking. The other suggestions hold real merit for large/big HP engine rooms where the more sound sorting and addressing ear muffs are required.
Agree with all of those observations.
Us little guys and smaller engines need to lesser degree the higher db equipment.
Good thread!
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:48 PM   #20
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My Bose headphones are absolutely the bomb for noise reduction. The only reason I DONT use them on a wheel watch is liability. I personally think I can hear all noises on the boat, and am just a likely to NOT hear some vague cry for help, not because I may use sound canceling headphones, but because of two 2500 HP diesels, a 100KW generator and 4 supply and exhaust fans on constantly! But, to keep it 'legal' I must not wear them while navigating. On a yacht, probably not so important. But still if you ever had an 'incident' it would be difficult (if not impossible) to 'prove' they had no detriment in your actions.
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