Enviro Safety Products has a long and prolific partnership with the research-and-development giant 3M, who have been providing us with their latest surprising innovations in protection and productivity for nearly 20 years now. This blog is going to start shifting away from situational and categorical topics (we’ll probably run a few of those pieces every so often) towards spotlighting specific 3M products. Today we’re going to look at the PELTOR ComTac III Hearing Defender. 3M’s PELTOR line of hearing protection sets an industry-wide standard for quality and convenience using sophisticated level-dependent functionality that keeps your ears protected while letting you hear what you want to hear.
The Hearing Defender’s name has a martial ring to it, which is fitting since this product and others like it have become standard issue in tactial settings for the military, law enforcement, and other public protectors. It’s an active hearing protection device with a microphone and inner programming that analyzes sounds and determines if it should muffle them for the wearer based on their volume, all within a fraction of a second. It’s called environmental listening, level-dependent functionality, or ‘talk-thru” (because it allows you to talk to people without removing or lifting the headset). Often with talk-thru systems you’ll get what’s called a clipping effect, in which the first few syllables or words of a sentence may be lost as the software kicks in, which can lead to garbled and misunderstood commands. The Defender’s refined reaction time eliminates that issue almost completely.
The headset is compatible with external communications systems (two-way radio, intercom, etc), which work completely distinct from the talk-thru function and, therefore, won’t be affected by electric failure or low battery. Such an event is highly unlikely given the battery’s superlative 500-hour life, but it’s always nice to have a failsafe. The headset has been rigorously tested in accordance with standards set by the Department of Defense, is designed with standard tactical helmets in mind, and can even function after being submerged in water.
The noise-cancelling microphone inside the ear cup can be moved to either side to accomodate left or right-handed shooters, or whatever other need the user may have depending on the situation. The ear cups themselves (which are actually providing the physical protection and would simply become passive in the event of outage or failure) come with a noise reduction rating of 20 decibels, which makes a huge difference in dangerously loud environments.
While you could say the military and law enforcement are the target audience for the Hearing Defender, it’s not just for those kinds of applications. Its spartan design and elegant functionality will resonate with certain kinds of personalities that don’t need (or want) the extra complications of a built-in radio or whatever else. Yet its field-tested ruggedness seems ill-suited for the factory floor. It ought to be outside in its element, and will probably appeal to folks working in construction, lumber, shipping yards, oil rigs, and the like. It’s not just for work, either. The level-dependant protection is ideal for sport hunters who need to hear the subtle noises of the forest without compromising their safety when it’s time to pull the trigger.
All in all, the Hearing Defender embodies the formula for excellence that 3M has honed over the decades. Its combination of sophisticated tech and down-to-earth function make it a simple choice for anyone working in environments with high noise levels.