Better communication and hearing protection in the maritime environment through wireless headsets.
Clear communication is essential for a safe, effective and productive workplace. Too often, however, excessive levels of background noise make communication difficult. An estimated 22 million Americans are exposed to hazardous levels of workplace noise each year — four million are exposed every day. If you work in the maritime environment, you are likely among those four million. It has long been known that marine vessels are noisy places, and studies have demonstrated a clear correlation between long-term assignment aboard Navy ships and an increased rate of hearing loss.
Too Much Noise
Prolonged exposure to excessive noise leads to a condition known as “noise-induced hearing loss” (NIHL), the most common work-related illness in the United States. NIHL is hard to detect because it develops, in Coast Guard terminology, by the “three Ps”: painlessly, progressively and permanently. Once hearing has been lost, there is no way to reverse the damage.
Excessive noise has been linked to other ill effects, including tinnitus (ringing in the ears), high blood pressure, headaches, muscle tension, ulcers and poor job performance. Maritime studies have linked constant noise exposure to aggressive behavior and sleep disturbances. High noise levels aboard ship also interfere with the audibility of speech and warning signals, both of which impair safety. Noisy work environments pose an even bigger problem: how to protect workers from NIHL while simultaneously enabling them to talk with each other on the job. Earmuffs may guard against hearing loss, but make it even harder for workers to hear each other. Walkie-talkies enable direct communication but do nothing to protect hearing and also require a free hand for operation. Hand signals require line-of-sight visibility and can be misinterpreted.
Studies have shown that 80 percent of maritime accidents are due to human error, not equipment failure. Safety specialist Gordon Dupont has noted that one of the most common human errors is “lack of communication.” If workers cannot exchange information, the stage is rigged for an accident. Excessive noise greatly interferes with that exchange.
How Loud are Workboats?
The “excessiveness” of noise exposure depends on the intensity of the noise as measured in decibels (dB) and the length of the exposure. OSHA requires workers to wear hearing protection when exposed to an average of 85 dB over an eight-hour period, the threshold at which hearing damage begins to occur. The American Bureau of Shipping and the International Maritime Organization have issued similar guidelines.
How does the 85 dB “threshold” translate into the maritime environment? The short answer is that noise is a significant stressor on board ships. Crew quarters are often in close proximity to the propulsion mechanism, which creates issues with both noise and vibration. Studies have recorded noise levels as high as 120 dB in the engine room and ventilation system, which exceeds the human pain threshold. Other data show that 55-60 meter trawlers generate average noise levels of 85 dB over a 14-day trip. By comparison, a ticking watch emits 20 dB; normal conversation, 50 dB; a motorcycle, 100 dB; and a jet takeoff from 75 feet away, 150 dB. Sounds over 150 dB will rupture the eardrum. The decibel scale is logarithmic, so sound exposure escalates quickly. Every increase of 3 dB cuts the allowable exposure time in half, and each increase of 10 dB doubles the perceived intensity of sound. Using OSHA’s limit of 85 dB per eight-hour day as a benchmark, exposure to 100 dB of noise for more than 15 minutes would trigger the need for hearing protection.
Wireless Communication Headsets: Mobility and Situational Awareness in One
While hearing protection and clear communication might seem to be at odds, wireless communication headsets are an excellent way to bridge the gap (Figure 1). Wireless headsets can reduce background noise by 20 decibels or more and allow all crew members to communicate clearly. Headsets fit over the ear for hearing protection and are outfitted with a boom microphone and ear speakers to allow hands-free voice transmission and reception through a mobile base station. In some systems, the local headset network can be connected to a land-based operator via a two-way radio.
The premise of a wireless headset system is simple: everyone can hear and be heard, and no one is exposed to potentially harmful levels of noise. This allows all crew members to maintain complete situational awareness: the ability to stay in constant contact on the water, talk in normal voices without shouting or gesturing and provide real-time verbal warnings in dangerous situations. Situational awareness also means greater productivity and efficiency. By removing the barriers to good communication, wireless headsets allow everyone to get more done in less time.
Wireless headset systems offer one other important benefit for maritime workers: mobility. Unlike hardwired systems, wireless systems avoid the need to “plug in” to a stationary audio jack. Workers can move freely about the boat without being tethered to a particular location. And because wireless headsets operate hands-free, there’s no need to hold a microphone or fumble with push-to-talk buttons. Communication is continuous, convenient and conversational.
Choosing a Wireless System
Wireless headset systems are available in a variety of configurations and price ranges. Before you purchase, make sure the wireless system is truly wireless. Some so-called “wireless” systems actually require a cord from the headset to a belt station, creating the danger of entanglement. Moreover, wires are usually the weakest part of any system due to corrosion and breakage.
Depending on the number of headsets you need to connect, wireless systems can run from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Professional-grade systems may cost a bit more up front, but will save you money in the long run through better reliability, fewer repairs and greater longevity.
Overall, wireless headset systems simply provide a better, more productive and less stressful user experience. Shouting, waving and straining to hear over background noise is exhausting. By simultaneously removing the effects of harmful background noise and creating an environment in which normal conversation can take place, wireless headsets offer the best of both worlds: hearing protection and communication clarity. They could even save a life.
(As published in the October 2013 edition of Marine News - www.marinelink.com)
critical communications, SAFE Boats partnered with David Clark Company of Worcester, Massachusetts. David Clark specializes in providing communication headsets and system solutions for high-noise environments. The company’s ‘green dome’ headsets are perhaps most recognized in the aviation industry, where
Utility, functionality, and safety all come together in David Clark’s wireless headset communication systems. For the soon-to-come North American Offshore Wind boom, there are lessons to be learned here, from across the great pond. When Mantsbrite became the sole U.K. distributor of the David Clark Marine
class vendors. One such OEM firm, David Clark Company, the crew-to-crew digital communication system. David Clark Company, known for its “green dome” headsets worn by private, commercial and military pilots since 1975, has expanded its product line by providing headsets and systems for critical communications
solutions for its customers, including the capability of accommodating both wired and wireless crew communication – all while wearing the same headset. “The [Digital Communication] system is very easy to expand, customize and add functionality – all centered on a common master control station. This
The Company: David Clark Company specializes in providing communication solutions for high noise environments. Their noise-attenuating headsets and systems are used in a variety of markets and applications where clear communication is critical. All David Clark Company products are manufactured and assembled
The Company: David Clark specializes in providing communication solutions for high-noise environments. The firm’s noise-attenuating headset systems are used worldwide in applications where clear communication is critical. All products are made in the USA at a 250,000 square-foot manufacturing facility with
. The appetite for AR technology is growing. Data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated that augmented and virtual reality headset device shipments will reach almost 100 million units in 2021, up nearly 10-fold from the 10.1 million units shipped in 2016. Fuelling this demand
, dynamic microphones. Battery life [Li-polymer batteries last up to 24 hours of continuous use between charges] was also important, comfort [the DC headsets feature comfort-gel, undercut ear seals and adjustable head band assemblies], ease of use and strong support from customer service. The Solution Bob
voice scrambler, providing secure and private communication when necessary. The portables are enhanced by a full line of accessories, including headsets, remote speaker microphones, and several carrying options, making these radios an excellent choice for a wide variety of maritime applications
is further augmented by the vessel’s elevated, centerline helm position. Large opening side and aft pilothouse windows and a wireless crew communication headset system facilitate crew coordination during pilot transfers, and large overhead skylights provide upward visibility while approaching and operating
suit any mounting requirement; the smallest remote has a front panel only 21/ inches square. Private listening is available with an optional telephone headset. Circle 94 on Reader Service Card KRUPP ATLAS Newly developed navigational systems from Krupp Atlas Elektronik (KAE) of Bremen, West Germany
email@example.com contact: Melinda WATER JET SYSTEMS Blohm+Voss B.V. & Co. KG, Hermann-Blohm-Strasse 3, David Clark Company (Wireless Headset Jansen, www.aussiepumps.com.au 20457 Hamburg, Germany Germany , tel:+49 40 3119 Aussie Pumps, 7 Gladstone Road, Castle Hill 2154 , Communication
Clark Street, Bristol Harbor Group, Inc., 99 Poppasquash Road Unit Jets Vacuum AS, Myravegen 1 6060 Hareid , tel:47 700 David Clark Company (Wireless Headset Endicott, NY 13760 , tel:(607) 770-2083, H, Bristol, RI , USA , tel:(401) 253-4318, 39 100, fax:47 700 39 101, firstname.lastname@example.org , Communication Systems)
visit www.davidclark.com or call 800-900-3434 to arrange a system demonstration. © 2019 David Clark Company Incorporated An Employee Owned ® Green headset domes are a David Clark registered trademark. WWW.DAVIDCLARK.COM American Company MR #4 (1-9).indd 5 3/22/2019 2:01:27 P
.tube-mac.com Silicon Sensing Systems Ltd, Clittaford Road Southway, Water Cannon, 4300 West Lake Mary Blvd. Units 1010- David Clark Company (Wireless Headset PORT SECURITY Plymouth, Devon PL6 6DE United Kingdom , UK , 424 , USA , tel:321-800-5763, email@example.com , Communication Systems), 360
(namely the gaming industry with Virtual Reality? Augmented technology makes pos- ing out to sea and avoid the risks of mis- mobile games and VR headsets), and a Augmented reality provides digital sible the support and clarity of previ- takes due to a lack of experience. Com- younger work force that
tel:904-315-3899, fax:888-782-6188, tel:+44 (0) 1752 723330, firstname.lastname@example.org VACUUM TOILET SYSTEM David Clark Company (Wireless Headset email@example.com contact: Paul Switzer, NAVAL ARCHITECTS, MARINE Jets Vacuum AS, Myravegen 1 6060 Hareid , tel:47 700 Communication Systems)
39 101, firstname.lastname@example.org , COMMUNICATIONS www.viega.us Plymouth, Devon PL6 6DE United Kingdom , UK , www.jetsgroup.com David Clark Company (Wireless Headset ROTATING EQUIPMENT tel:+44 (0) 1752 723330, email@example.com VIBRATION AND THERMOGRAPHY (IR) Communication Systems), 360 Franklin Street
BLVD) 27045 COMMUNICATIONS Viega, Mountain View Corporate Center Building 1, HAVELOCK, NC 28532 VIBRATION ANALYSIS David Clark Company (Wireless Headset Suite 395 12303 Airport Way, Broomfield, CO , USA , MECHANICALLY ATTACHED FITTINGS Advanced Mechanical Enterprises, 217 SW 28th Street Communication
, Mountain View Corporate Center Building 1, HAVELOCK, NC 28532 Jets Vacuum AS, Myravegen 1 6060 Hareid , tel:47 700 David Clark Company (Wireless Headset Suite 395 12303 Airport Way, Broomfield, CO , USA , MECHANICALLY ATTACHED FITTINGS 39 100, fax:47 700 39 101, firstname.lastname@example.org , Communication Systems)
visit www.davidclark.com or call 800-900-3434 to arrange a system demonstration. © 2018 David Clark Company Incorporated An Employee Owned ® Green headset domes are a David Clark registered trademark. WWW.DAVIDCLARK.COM American Company MR #11 (18-25).indd 25 MR #11 (18-25).indd 25 11/1/2018 12:30:06
VESSEL COMMUNICATIONS Compact Wireless Belt Stations connect to digital headsets enabling users to retain critical crew communications while moving about the craft or while on board another craft. David Clark Behind-the-Head style digital headset is designed to be worn with or without protective helmets.
60 knots and features a state-of-the-art, the 10M Interceptor craft is the critical nature of crew- Image above: David Clark Over-the-Head style digital headsets provide outstanding comfort, clear audio and voice transmission clarity for reliable crew communications. November 2018 MN 62 MN Nov18 Layout
101(FONTANA BLVD) COMMUNICATIONS www.viega.us Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315 , tel:(954) 764-2678, HAVELOCK, NC 28532 David Clark Company (Wireless Headset PROPULSION - HYBRIDRIVE Joanna@AMEsolutions.com contact: Joanna Ramirez MECHANICALLY ATTACHED FITTINGS Communication Systems), 360 Franklin Street
Company Inc., 570 MONTROYAL RD Rural Hall, NC COMMUNICATIONS christina.Czeszewski@lgh-usa.com PRESS FITTINGS 27045 David Clark Company (Wireless Headset Tandemloc, 824 Highway 101(FONTANA BLVD) Viega, Mountain View Corporate Center Building 1, VIBRATION ANALYSIS Communication Systems), 360 Franklin
.com or call 800-900-3434 to arrange a system demonstration. © 2017 David Clark Company Incorporated WWW.DAVIDCLARK.COM An Employee Owned ® Green headset domes are a David Clark registered trademark. American Company www.marinelink.com 13 MR #9 (10-17).indd 13 MR #9 (10-17).indd 13 9/5/2018
to arrange a system demonstration or visit www.davidclark.com for more information. An Employee Owned © 2018 David Clark Company Incorporated ® Green headset domes are a David Clark registered trademark. WWW.DAVIDCLARK.COM American Company MN Sept18 Layout 1-17.indd 9 MN Sept18 Layout 1-17.indd 9 8/28/2018
.viega.us Wager Company Inc., 570 MONTROYAL RD Rural Hall, NC COMMUNICATIONS LIFT EQUIPMENT PRESS FITTINGS 27045 David Clark Company (Wireless Headset Lifting Gear Hire, 9925 Industrial Drive Bridgeview, IL Viega, Mountain View Corporate Center Building 1, VIBRATION ANALYSIS Communication Systems)
Security. Gnostech lutions for high-noise environments. The ? rm’s noise-atten- offers maritime organizations a holistic and tailorable ap- uating headset systems are used worldwide in applications proach to mitigate cyber risk. Gnostech uses state-of-the- where clear communication is critical. An ISO9001
Company Inc., 570 MONTROYAL RD Rural Hall, NC COMMUNICATIONS PRESS FITTINGS christina.Czeszewski@lgh-usa.com 27045 David Clark Company (Wireless Headset Tandemloc, 824 Highway 101(FONTANA BLVD) Viega, Mountain View Corporate Center Building 1, VIBRATION ANALYSIS Communication Systems), 360 Franklin
Outside the USA) to arrange a system demonstration or visit www.davidclark.com for more information. © 2018 David Clark Company Incorporated ® Green headset domes are a David Clark registered trademark. An Employee Owned WWW.DAVIDCLARK.COM American Company MR #7 (10-17).indd 11 MR #7 (10-17).indd 11
20457 Hamburg, Germany Germany , tel:+49 (0) 40 3119 christina.Czeszewski@lgh-usa.com SURFACE PREP TOOLS David Clark Company (Wireless Headset 1400, email@example.com , Tandemloc, 824 Highway 101(FONTANA BLVD) Water Cannon, 4300 West Lake Mary Blvd. Units 1010- Communication Systems)
Plymouth, Devon PL6 6DE United Kingdom , UK , DRYDOCKING 424 , USA , tel:321-800-5763, firstname.lastname@example.org , David Clark Company (Wireless Headset tel:+44 (0) 1752 723330, email@example.com Blohm+Voss B.V. & Co. KG, Hermann-Blohm-Strasse 3, www.watercannon.com Communication Systems)
visit www.davidclark.com or call 800-298-6235 to schedule a system demonstration. © 2018 David Clark Company Incorporated An Employee Owned ® Green headset domes are a David Clark registered trademark. WWW.DAVIDCLARK.COM American Company MR #5 (1-9).indd 5 MR #5 (1-9).indd 5 4/20/2018 9:35:57 AM4/20/2018
, boarding, and Special Forces in- crew members to move around the vessel untethered to the sertion), border security, law enforcement and ? re support. headset stations, and to disembark if necessary to board Based on proven 9- and 11-meter MACH II hull models, another vessel while maintaining constant