Whether operating loud equipment or wearing a respirator in a toxic environment, workers need to communicate with each other. That’s where CavCom comes in.
With an earpiece that houses a microphone and speaker, our Talk Through Your Ears® earsets pick up a user’s voice through the ear canal and transmit it via a two-way radio, all while protecting the wearer from loud noise.
The Hearing Protector that Fits, custom made for your ears!
Custom earplugs will drive ongoing costs for conventional hearing protectors down and dramatically increase consistent and reliable hearing protection for any employee.
Send us your equipment with the completed repair form included in the box.
Ship repairs to: CavCom - Attn: Repairs - 1872 Industries Lane - Walker, MN 56484
What is the Noise Reduction Rating?
The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is a laboratory-derived single-number rating designed to characterize a hearing protector's noise reduction capabilities. The level of noise entering a person's ear, when the hearing protector is well-fitted and worn as directed, is approximated by the difference between the environmental noise level and the NRR (A-weighted environmental noise measurements must be corrected by subtracting 7 dB). In addition, OSHA strongly recommends applying a 50% correction factor to estimate real-world performance. A more precise estimate of field performance can be determined by Individual Fit Testing. This personalized test is performed under typical wear conditions and results in a Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR) for each worker.
Why do OSHA formulas require us to subtract 7 dB from the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)?
The 7dB reduction is a correction to be used with the employee's A-scale noise measurements. Most people are surprised to learn that the current NRR system was developed in the 1980s for use with C-scale workplace noise readings (the C-scale is a broad-spectrum frequency setting on sound level meters and dosimeters). Employee time-weighted-average noise exposures, however, must be calculated with an A-scale frequency setting on the sound measurement equipment (the A-scale is a weighted frequency setting more closely matched with human damage-risk criteria). The bottom line: if the employer has A-scale noise information, but not C-scale, then a 7 dB correction factor is required when using the NRR to assess hearing protection for the workplace.
Why does OSHA recommend we divide the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR or NRR-7) in half?
Scientific studies have shown that actual users in the workplace often receive less protection than would be predicted by the laboratory-derived NRR. This is why OSHA, NIOSH and many professional organizations recommend employers estimate real-world performance by "de-rating" NRRs by as much as half. Keep in mind, however, that most of these general corrections represent average or even worst-case scenarios. A more precise estimate of field performance can be determined by Individual Fit Testing. This personalized test is performed under typical wear conditions and results in a Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR) for each worker. The PAR can be subtracted directly from A-weighted sound measurements to predict an employee's protected noise level; the 7 dB correction and real-world de-rating are not required.
If a worker wears both earplugs and earmuffs at the same time, how much increase would you expect in the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)?
The OSHA Technical Manual allows employers to add 5 dB for the second hearing protector. An example: if wearing an earplug with an NRR of 25 together with an earmuff (also with an NRR of 25), expect a combined NRR of 30. Keep in mind, however, that this rule of thumb is a general estimate. To learn more about the ins and outs of dual hearing protection, and how to improve accuracy of your estimates, see this article by CavCom's Matt Morrill and Susan Cooper.
What is the Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR)?
Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR) is a measure of hearing protector attenuation for each worker as determined by Individual Fit Testing. Individual Fit Testing is conducted for each employee using his/her own hearing protector as normally worn. OSHA, NIOSH and many professional organizations have long recognized that the laboratory-derived NRR is not a good predictor of actual hearing protector performance in the real world. Individual Fit Testing is now a recommended best practice for hearing conservation programs.
What is "noise cancellation" technology?
We sometimes hear about Active Noise Reduction (ANR), or "noise cancellation," in association with earmuffs and engineering controls. This electronic technology uses a microphone to pick up incoming sound, a digital processor to invert the phase of the incoming sound, and a speaker to reintroduce the altered sound. The intent is to reduce the resulting sound levels by "cancelling" as much of the original sound wave as possible.
Because of the practicalities of basic acoustics, however, this technique works well only for noises with relatively long wave-lengths; that is, low frequency (pitch) sounds. In practice, ANR technologies effectively reduce levels when sounds are about 500 Hz and below. Consumer headsets are popular for reducing annoying, but not hazardous, day-to-day noise from cars, airplanes, and so on. In industry, hazardous noise environments are generally comprised of many frequencies, or "broad band" sound. Although ANR can often supplement noise reduction and hearing protection efforts in high noise environments, the technology typically cannot stand alone. ANR is usually applied only in combination with traditional hearing protection methods (such as earplugs and earmuffs) that are effective at blocking a wide frequency range of noise.
CavCom 'Talk Through Your Ears' System
How does 'Talk Through Your Ears' technology work?
CavCom's innovative Talk Through Your Ears® technology captures speech from inside the ear canal and propagates that speech into clear, intelligible voice communications even in high noise environments. Since the speech is captured deep inside the ear canal, CavCom earpieces physically block ambient noise (providing superior hearing protection) and transmit that speech signal before it can be overwhelmed by background noise. As long as you are receiving excellent hearing protection, you will achieve clear communications.
Does CavCom's Talk Through Your Ears® system work off bone conduction?
No - CavCom's Talk Through Your Ears® technology captures acoustic voice signals present in the earcanal. So-called "bone conduction" microphones pick up physical vibrations via direct contact with body tissues.
Where is the microphone on my Talk Through Your Ears® earset?
The Talk Through Your Ears® microphone is located inside the earpiece. If you are using an earset with dual earpieces (both left and right), then your microphone side is indicated by theGRAY 2-pin plug on your Y-cord. The GRAY 2-pin can be plugged into either the left or right earpiece.
If you are using a single (one ear) Talk Through Your Ears® earpiece, then you are transmitting and receiving from the same earpiece.
Is the Talk Through Your Ears® Control Unit waterproof?
The PTT2000 Control Unit (Intrinsically Safe and non-Intrinsically Safe models) are not 'waterproof' - it is suggested that the PTT2000 control unit be enclosed in one of the carrying solutions offered by CavCom, Inc.
Does CavCom offer an intrinsically safe option?
Yes, CavCom's PTT2000-NC5-1 Control Unit is certified intrinsically safe in accordance with ANSI/UL 913 and CAN/CSA-C22.2 standards (Class 1). More information
Does the Talk Through Your Ears® control unit meet FCC interference standards for electronic devices?
Yes. The CavCom PTT2000 complies with American and Canadian emissions requirements for a Class A digital device under:
Part 15 (10/2014) of the FCC Rules and Regulations, and
ICES-003 (CAN/CSA-CEI/IEC CISPR 22:02)
If I purchase new radios will my CavCom Talk Through Your Ears® system still work?
Yes. You may have to purchase a new adapter cable, depending on the radio purchased, to allow the Talk Through Your Ears® system to properly interface with the new radio.
Does the Talk Through Your Ears® system require an FCC license?
No. The CavCom system is an accessory to your two-way radio. Your two-way radio, however, must be operated under an FCC license. Please contact CavCom @ 1-866-547-4988 for additional information.
Can I use my Talk Through Your Ears® or RadioGear® earset with my phone or MP3 player?
CavCom's Talk Through Your Ears® and RadioGear® earpieces will deliver audio from any device that has a 3.5mm or 2.5mm audio jack. The Talk Through Your Ears function of the earset, however, is only achieved when used with the CavCom PTT2000 control unit and a 2-way radio. A better option is our CellEarz™ earset with inline microphone, which is designed specifically for use with a personal phone or music device.
Can I use my Talk Through Your Ears® earpieces with a speaker lapel microphone?
Talk Through Your Ears® earpieces will function in a listen-only format when plugged into the grey RadioGear® Y-cord, however, volume limitation is not available in this scenario. TTYE earpieces are restricted to a safe listening level only when interfaced with the PTT2000 control unit. RadioGear earsets are restricted to a safe listening level within the earpieces, so they are controlled regardless of the 2-way radio / speaker mic interface.
What is the difference between listening with one ear (monaural) compared to listening with both ears (binaural)?
For most people, binaural listening is superior. It probably comes as no surprise that just like vision is improved with two eyes, hearing is improved with two ears (and all the neural processing in between). Much research has been conducted on the combined effects of listening binaurally. The brain's processing of subtle differences in the time and level of signals coming from each ear are an important benefit. In addition, sounds don't need to be as loud when listening binaurally, especially in the presence of complex background noise. See this article from CavCom's SoundBytes newsletter to learn more.
Hearing Conservation Programs
How often do workers need to be exposed to noise throughout the year before we are required to include them in our company's hearing conservation program?
OSHA's interpretation is stringent: only one day of noise exposure in excess of 85 dBA time-weighted average triggers inclusion in the hearing conservation program. But hearing loss prevention, like any other safety and health program, is not just a regulatory matter. For practical reasons and best practice, many companies provide protections to employees with only occasional noise exposures, as well as temporary workers and contractors. For more information, see NIOSH's webpage and OSHA's topic page.
What is the difference between a hearing "loss" and a hearing "shift"?
Terminology for describing results of audiometric (hearing) tests can be confusing. Conventions/common uses can vary across settings and countries. In general, "hearing loss" is a term often used interchangeably with "hearing impairment" or "hearing difficulty," referring to hearing test results outside a pre-described normal range. That is, the tone(s) has to be louder than expected for the person to detect that tone and respond. The louder the tones need to be to elicit a response, then the more hearing loss the person is said to have. Hearing loss can be mild to severe, occur in one or both ears, affect only for certain tones (frequencies), and can be due to many reasons. It is important to keep in mind that the term "hearing loss" describes results of a given audiogram and does not reflect how much the person's hearing ability may have changed over time.
A "shift" in hearing, on the other hand, is a term used to describe situations when a person's hearing ability has changed (usually for the worse). A shift cannot be determined by looking at one hearing test. Instead, a shift is calculated by comparing one hearing test to a previous or baseline audiogram. Regulatory agencies such as OSHA typically have a very strict definition for classifying when a change of hearing is significant enough to be called a shift (Standard Threshold Shift) and in need of hearing conservation program action.
It is important to remember that hearing loss and hearing shift describe two separate, and often independent, aspects of hearing function. It is possible for someone to have a severe hearing loss or impairment, but have no change or shift in hearing over a given timeframe. Likewise, it is possible for someone with very good hearing to show a significant shift while their overall hearing ability remains within the normal range (i.e. no "hearing loss"). Of course, the ultimate goal of an effective hearing conservation program is to prevent shifts, and in turn prevent hearing loss from developing or getting worse.
If two noise sources each produce 90 dBA individually, what is the expected combined noise level when both machines are running simultaneously?
Actual sound levels must be measured with a calibrated sound level meter or dosimeter and will vary depending on equipment operation and the immediate physical environment, but a reasonable prediction is about 93 dBA. Decibels are calculated using a logarithmic scale, so they cannot be added, or subtracted, arithmetically. The human ear can detect an amazingly broad range of sound pressures, from very tiny changes in air pressure such as a rustling leaf to immense pressure waves, such as those associated with a roaring jet engine. For this reason, scientists came to agree on a more manageable method for computing sound levels. Sound pressure measurements are converted to decibels using a logarithmic scale in order to compress numeric values into a smaller, and less unwieldy, range.
Based on formulas used for calculating decibels, doubling the sound pressure results in a 3 dB increase. Halving sound pressure results in a 3 dB decrease. In our example, two noise sources each producing 90 dBA combine to produce approximately 93 dBA. For this reason, it's important to remember that small increases or decreases in dB can actually reflect large changes in sound energy. Another way to think about it, increasing noise by 3 dB could indicate a significant increase in noise exposure and hazard. In turn, using an engineering noise control or a more effective hearing protector to reduce an employee's noise exposure by 3 dB could be a significant achievement!
Does working in noise increase the risk of accidents?
That's a great question. The risk of hearing loss due to loud noise is well known. But other potential risks from noise are not so clear. Is loud noise also to blame for accidents in the workplace? Are all workers at higher risk, or perhaps just those individuals who are hard of hearing? To learn more, see this article from CavCom's SoundBytes newsletter.