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Bose Hearing protection

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Review by dbray45 posted 10-15-2015 01:25 PM 4269 views 1 time favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I work in IT as a primary source of income and can spend a lot of time in the data center. I have a very nice set of Peltor Optime 105 ear muffs and it was I that brought them into the work place originally because I use them at home when running the power equipment – I rate these at 5 stars as well.

A few months ago, I have noticed a change to my hearing, never a good thing because slow degradation does not trigger a change in the brain. I got tested and found that I have lost a frequency range about that of the blowers in the data center. It seems that as good as the Peltor muffs are, they have not been good enough for my environment. The search for something better was on!

By chance, I was walking by a Bose store and they were having a sale – Bose? Sale? – cool!

I remembered that they have a noise canceling headphone but, like most Bose’s products, they can be a bit pricey – let’s be real – expensive! My wife, who does not like going in their store because they are expensive, took my arm and dragged me into the store, saying, “your hearing is more than worth it.” We went through the “show” and bought these to take to work (and yes, I take them home every night). At work, I sometimes wear them with an iPod and listen to music and if people get loud, I turn on the noise cancellation – and all you hear is really clear music, don’t even hear the phone.

Last night I had to resaw some wood for a spice rack that I am making for my better half and decided to try the Bose instead of using the Peltor. I already had the dust collector on, turned on the noise cancel and the dust collector went away, started resawing the cherry and barely heard that. Took them off and put the Peltor on. The Peltor was a little more than twice as loud and I could hear the dust collector. I finished cutting the wood with the Bose on and decided that these were a really good choice and worth the money (and batteries for the noise cancellation).

Bottom line – if you are making noise and don’t want to hear it – get them, they ARE worth not losing your hearing.

-- David in Damascus, MD




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dbray45

3320 posts in 2857 days



27 comments so far

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HillbillyShooter

5811 posts in 2372 days


#1 posted 10-15-2015 01:44 PM

Thanks for the review and recommendation. I also use Peltors in my shop, but mine are Comtac since they also are used at my gun club. I’ll check these out as the noise cancelling feature sounds like a great step up.

P.S. Not inexpensive but still less than I paid for my Peltors 10-years ago.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

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OggieOglethorpe

1276 posts in 2190 days


#2 posted 10-15-2015 01:55 PM

I fly with Bose headsets in aircraft. They work really well at certain frequencies, as they’re optimized for piston aircraft. They’re not so popular in jets, as the different noise profile isn’t as well cancelled. They are very comfortable to wear. The QC’s are better optimized to jet noise than the Aviation sets, so many pilots will add an external mic and fly jets with those.

Be aware that Bose does not market these as protective devices, hence the lack of a stated NRR or OSHA approval. Just because it doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean you’re not being exposed to frequencies that can cause damage over time. OSHA does not regulate cockpit noise, but it does regulate ramp noise, so it’s interesting to see that the use of active devices are not allowed by people who work around the outside of aircraft.

Even though I can hear different things, I have a lot more faith in the 29 and 31 dB NRR Peltor muffs and Blockade ear buds, actually protecting me in the shop and at race tracks, even though the Bose feel more comfortable.

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WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 1257 days


#3 posted 10-15-2015 02:10 PM

Thanks for the review.

How are they with prescription glasses, safety glasses, and face shields?

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

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gtbuzz

427 posts in 2522 days


#4 posted 10-15-2015 02:35 PM

I’ve actually wondered about this myself. I’ve got a nice pair of Bose noise cancelling IEM’s that I use when I’m schlepping myself from coast to coast in a metal tube, but when it comes to the shop, I still only use foam ear plugs. Is active noise reduction as “safe” as passive noise reduction for shop use? I also noticed Bose doesn’t publish an NRR.

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dbray45

3320 posts in 2857 days


#5 posted 10-15-2015 03:13 PM

All I can say is that my Peltors are rated and I have still lost a range of hearing. It may be that I required a different range than what these cover. The Bose reduces what I am hearing in the shop and at work to a much lower level – and then again, these are constant noise levels, not that of munitions firing range. Percussion noise is a whole different issue.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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HillbillyShooter

5811 posts in 2372 days


#6 posted 10-15-2015 03:27 PM

Great discussion! So the bottom line is: what is best for the woodworking shop environment?

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

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dbray45

3320 posts in 2857 days


#7 posted 10-15-2015 03:41 PM

Anything is better than nothing. I do not do well with the “stick in the ears” flavors. The Peltor works well, the Bose seems to reduce constant noise more than my Peltors. The Peltor that I have cost about $30 and the Bose cost about $300.

In the winter, out in the cold wind, the Peltor keeps the ears warm and the wind out as well.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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Ripthorn

1458 posts in 3065 days


#8 posted 10-15-2015 04:19 PM

Noise cancelling headphones is actually the main focus of my profession at the moment. We have done extensive analysis of all kinds of ANC headphones. What frequency range are the blowers in? Most ANC devices have an effective operating range that is relatively low frequency, above which they don’t function at all. In the cases of higher frequencies, it is much more effective to use passive attentuation, like really good ear plugs. Custom molded earplugs can get you about 30 dB of attenuation across a wide range of frequencies and do not require batteries. The added benefit is you can put something over them if need be. My one concern here is that you may think these are helping in a particular frequency range when they might not be, thus my question about what the frequency of the blowers are.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

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Richard H

489 posts in 1761 days


#9 posted 10-15-2015 04:26 PM

I have used the Bose’s in the shop before and they do seem to do a good job but as Oggie said their lack of certification for that use does bother me.

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dbray45

3320 posts in 2857 days


#10 posted 10-15-2015 04:30 PM

I cannot tell you what the frequency range is but it is in the audible higher frequencies

-- David in Damascus, MD

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Ocelot

2019 posts in 2718 days


#11 posted 10-15-2015 06:41 PM

I got tested and found that I have lost a frequency range about that of the blowers in the data center.

- dbray45


I cannot tell you what the frequency range is but it is in the audible higher frequencies

- dbray45

???

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dbray45

3320 posts in 2857 days


#12 posted 10-15-2015 06:47 PM

The constant and continuous tone in my ears match (or block) the frequency that I do not hear. Don’t know the frequency range.

A possible reason that these are not rated may be that the noise cancellation is electronic and relies on a battery. As the battery voltage changes, it may alter what is blocked. This would make sense but could be wrong.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

1276 posts in 2190 days


#13 posted 10-15-2015 07:10 PM

Noise cancelling headphones is actually the main focus of my profession at the moment. We have done extensive analysis of all kinds of ANC headphones. What frequency range are the blowers in? Most ANC devices have an effective operating range that is relatively low frequency, above which they don’t function at all. In the cases of higher frequencies, it is much more effective to use passive attentuation, like really good ear plugs.

Yup… Thanks, Ripthorn…

The one real test I’ve seen of the overall NRR of a Bose Aviation X headset came back with a number in the 13’ish range. I own an X, a newer A20, and a QC, and they’re all slightly different. None are as good as the $25 Peltors, or 3M Blockade buds with optional foam inserts (I also use these in and around race cars, not just machinery) with woodworking, automotive, or lawn equipment sounds.

The market for ear protection that meets OSHA and NIOSH standards is huge. I would think Bose would rate their products for NRR if they were favorable.

If there’s measurable hearing loss after religiously wearing Peltor muffs, I can only suggest one or more of the following has happened:
- The ear seals are either damaged or being interfered with by eye protection
- The muffs aren’t fitted properly, or the headband has lost it’s spring. There is a minimum pressure needed to seal.
- The foam inside the ear seals or cups has significantly degraded
- They aren’t being worn all the time
- Something else has caused the loss

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OggieOglethorpe

1276 posts in 2190 days


#14 posted 10-15-2015 07:33 PM

A possible reason that these are not rated may be that the noise cancellation is electronic and relies on a battery. As the battery voltage changes, it may alter what is blocked. This would make sense but could be wrong.

It could… My flight sets do weird things when the batteries get low.

One of the problems with active reduction is that it relies on a mic, amp, and speaker to operate. ANR basically takes the noise from a mic, flips it 180 degrees out of phase, then sends it out through the speaker at the correct level to cancel the noise.

If the system can’t recreate the correct sound at the correct level, it no longer cancels the sound. Examples can include the amp can’t put out enough signal (low battery?) to keep up with the external sound, or the amp or speaker distorts, creating new sounds inside the headset and not cancelling the external sounds.

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patcollins

1687 posts in 2945 days


#15 posted 10-15-2015 08:58 PM

The Navy has been testing active noise reduction headphones for use on aircraft carrier decks. Even with foam earplugs and the muffs on the cranial protector it is loud. I doubt anything can do any good for the noise that you feel through your skull though.

The active cancelling actually “kills” the sound waves, but it isn’t the same throughout the frequency spectrum.

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